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Why are vitamins & co. so important for athletes?

Why is the nutrient requirement increased as an athlete? Which macro- and micronutrients are particularly relevant for you as an endurance or strength athlete? You can find out here.

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Introduction

Why are vitamins and co. so important for athletes?

How much importance should be attributed to special nutrition for athletes? Is the nutrient requirement as an athlete actually increased? Why? Which macro- and micronutrients are particularly relevant for you as an endurance or strength athlete?

You can find out all this here, in our blog article on nutrients and their importance for athletes.

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Table of Contents

• Why do athletes have increased nutrient requirements?
• Endurance sports vs. weight training - this is how the need for macronutrients differs
• Micronutrients in weight training vs. endurance sports
• Which micronutrients are particularly important for athletes?
• How can you optimally cover your needs?

Why do athletes have increased nutrient requirements?

This question can actually be answered quite quickly. In contrast to "normal" people, i.e. people who do not exercise excessively, the body of an athlete is subjected to significantly greater stress. Not only the musculoskeletal system, i.e. the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, but also the energy metabolism, the nervous system and the metabolism of each individual cell are challenged.

This means that nutrients such as glucose, fat and proteins are consumed more quickly and to a greater extent. But not only those. The need for micronutrients is also increased. This is because micronutrients are needed for a functioning energy metabolism, cell metabolism, efficient protein synthesis and cell division, as well as for maintaining a stable connective tissue and musculoskeletal system. And it is precisely these processes that are more active in athletes, as cells need to be regenerated more, muscle tears are repaired, the muscle grows, and so on and so forth.

Depending on the type of sport and the demands on the body, this nutrient requirement differs. That is also logical. After all, why should endurance athletes and strength athletes need the same macro- and micronutrients? Do you know the differences?

Endurance vs. strength sports - here's how the need for macronutrients differs

Just by looking at the athletes, you can see that their metabolism must differ. Of course, this is also accompanied by different nutrient requirements - this applies to both macro- and micronutrients.

But first, let's talk about macros: While a strength athlete - that is, someone who uses up short-term energy stores - can use mainly proteins and a few carbohydrates, the muscles of an endurance athlete use more fatty acids for energy, especially during very long training sessions. While glucose is the main energy supplier at the beginning, fat is particularly important towards the end.

This means that strength athletes should ensure a sufficient protein intake - this prevents muscle breakdown for energy. For endurance athletes, fat is particularly important. As always, healthy fats and fatty acids are the be-all and end-all.

What about micronutrients?

Micronutrients in weight training vs. endurance sports

The need for minerals, vitamins, etc. also differs. To illustrate this, we will first go into the differences and then explain which micronutrients are important in general and why.

Endurance sports - this is what you should pay attention to:
As an endurance athlete, the intake of healthy fatty acids and membrane components is especially important. Omega-3 fatty acids, substances such as phosphatidylcholine and other phospholipids, as well as fat-soluble antioxidants to maintain membranes should be provided to your body.

Furthermore, it is important that the mitochondria, the energy power plants of your cells, are sufficiently supplied with micronutrients. This is where a large part of the energy you need to give your all is produced. Fat burning is especially demanding, because it can only happen in the mitochondria. If the mitochondria are not optimally supplied and cannot work, this severely limits energy production. Especially as an endurance athlete, but actually always.

To support the mitochondria, especially B vitamins, antioxidants and the body's own molecule coenzyme Q10 are important. Our Mitochondria Formula Sport contains over 40 micronutrients and botanicals that strengthen your mitochondria extensively.

Weight training - what do I need to build muscle?
In weight training, the goal is usually the following: Muscle building. Here, too, micronutrients should not be underestimated. Here it is especially about supporting your muscles and connective tissue. How?

Most people are already familiar with creatine or creatine monohydrate. Creatine is a substance consisting of the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine and is stored primarily in the skeletal muscles. If you tense your muscles, the ATP storage is already used up after a few seconds. For background: ATP is the energy carrier of your body. Then creatine in the form of creatine phosphate is used so that you can regenerate ATP during contraction after it has been used up.

What is this good for? This delays the onset of anaerobic energy production, which produces lactate. Lactate causes fatigue in your muscles more quickly because it is an acidic molecule. For training, well-filled creatine stores are practically worth their weight in gold.

Also important: Make sure your connective tissue and joints are supported. A strong, healthy musculoskeletal system reduces the risk of injury. Collagen, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate, hyaluronic acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, zinc, manganese and other substances are well-known players in cartilage, joint and bone health.
Among other things, these substances are in the MITOcare product ORTHOjoint included, which was specially developed for a healthy musculoskeletal system.

However, weight training and endurance sport are not that different. Nevertheless, there are micronutrients that are equally important for both groups.

Which micronutrients are particularly important for athletes?

We have already shown the special features that need to be taken into account in strength and endurance sports. But what do athletes need in general - regardless of the type of sport?

#1 Amino acids
Amino acids are one of the fundamental pillars for us when it comes to the optimal supply as an athlete. Amino acids are not only the building blocks of your proteins, which are found everywhere in your body and especially in your muscles. They also have many other functions. These include energy production during sports, support of the nervous and endocrine system through participation in hormone and neurotransmitter synthesis, participation in regeneration and fat burning, and many other functions.

These include energy production during sports, support of the nervous and endocrine systems through participation in hormone and neurotransmitter synthesis, participation in regeneration and fat burning, and many other functions. What these are in detail, you can read in our blog article "Why are amino acids so important in sports?" .

#2 B vitamins and vitamin C
Not only for the energy metabolism of your mitochondria, but also for the amino acid metabolism and the provision of glucose for your muscles, B vitamins are absolutely significant. Vitamin C also supports your immune system, especially after exercise when the immune system is weakened. The antioxidant properties of some B vitamins and vitamin C are also important because an athlete's body faces increased levels of oxidative stress.
You can learn more about the importance of water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin C in this blog article: "What are the functions of water-soluble vitamins?"

#3 Minerals
Your bones, your tendons and ligaments, and your muscles need minerals to function optimally. Because minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium not only support muscle functions. They are also crucial for energy metabolism within the muscles.

Iron is also important - a trace element that contributes to blood formation and is crucial for the proper oxygen supply to your muscles. This is particularly important to ensure that energy metabolism runs smoothly and that not so much lactate is produced. Otherwise, this can lead to over-acidification of the muscles and thus potentially even promote muscle breakdown and severe muscle soreness - not good at all, right?
You can find our blood formation and iron preparation HAEMATOgen here.

Speaking of acids: Minerals also contribute to the regulation of the acid-base balance. Since athletes produce a comparatively large number of acids due to high protein consumption and the stress of training, support here can make sense.

How can you optimally cover your needs?

Now we have clarified which nutrients your body needs to be optimally strengthened for your athletic goals. The only question is: How can you cover these increased nutrient requirements?

Nutrient-rich diet for athletes - is it enough?
Do you want to eat especially nutritious food? We definitely recommend it. Because not only are sufficient protein and healthy fats important - they are, of course - but micronutrients are also relevant. Therefore, for every serving of protein, the rule of thumb is to also consume a serving of vegetables. Different types of fruit and vegetables contain different amounts of vitamins and other nutrients.

You want to additionally ensure that your body is supplied with all minerals, vitamins, nucleotides and amino acids and not put everything on one (food) card? We understand that. Because not all nutrients are found in sufficient quantities in our food - especially not nowadays. After all, who regularly eats offal to cover their nucleotide requirements?