Should Micronutrients be Supplemented in an Athlete’s Diet?
What are micronutrients?
- These are organic (vitamins) and inorganic (minerals) compounds
- They are required in small amounts to prevent:
- Clinical deficiency
- Deterioration of health, growth & reproduction
- Our body cannot produce vitamins, so we need to take them in via the diet
Is supplementation necessary?
- A well balanced diet should cover the needs for all micronutrients in healthy humans
- Often the Western diet is not balanced, which may lead to changes in micronutrient status
- The first step to achieving optimal micronutrient intake would be to correct any dietary imbalances
- A well balanced diet is required on a consistent basis, not only around competition time
- A variety of good quality, nutritious foods should be consumed.
- Sufficient energy (kilojoules) should be consumed; no micronutrient can make up for a diet lacking in sufficient “fuel”
- Healthy snacks, high in nutrients should be accessible within the training context
- Avoid using “sports foods” out of context as these tend to be high in carbohydrate, but low in fibre and micronutrients
- Use creative menu planning eg. fortified foods and drinks, smoothies, soups, wholewheat pizza, etc.
- Shopping guidelines from a registered dietician may be helpful to understand food labels
- Time management should ensure sufficient time and effort for eating
Athletes and supplements
- Athletes may not always eat a balanced diet in a bid to lose body fat, gain weight or during off season / injury periods
When is supplementation justified?
- The use of vitamin supplementation (levels should be below the Upper Intake Level (UIL)) is only justified in the following circumstances:
- When a normal diet is unable to maintain an athletes micronutrient status
- If micronutrient supplementation improves an athletes micronutrient status and physiological functioning
- If supplementation enhances an athletes performance either directly or indirectly
Which supplement to use?
- Should an athlete choose to use a micronutrient supplement, the following is safe and adequate for optimal sports performance:
- A multivitamin-mineral supplement
Consult a registered dietician if you are uncertain of the following:
- Do I need or will I benefit from a multivitamin-mineral supplement?
- Which multivitamin-mineral supplement should I use as an athlete?
PeptoPro®is a unique protein hydrolysate derived from the pre-digested milk protein, casein. It should be added to your favourite, carbohydrate energy drink – for use during and after exercise for better performance and recovery
PeptoSport®is a sports drink with Carbohydrate and Protein Hydrolysate (PeptoPro®) for use during and after Exercise for better performance and recover.