Minerals & vitamins 

Sports people usually know that carbohydrates are important as energy source during exercise and that they need protein to support their muscles afterwards. However they are often not aware of the importance of minerals and vitamins for their sports performance. These minerals and vitamins play important roles in numerous functions in the body. 

Minerals: sodium, calcium, magnesium & potassium, 

When exercising you lose a lot of water through sweat, but you also lose minerals, including sodium. Sodium is very important in order to maintain the electrolyte balance in the body, and therefore it is important to replace lost sodium, especially when sweat losses are high and exercise lasts for more than 2h. In addition to just replacing the losses, adding sodium has several other benefits: sodium improves water absorption in the intestines, it stimulates thirst resulting in a drive for you to continue drinking, and sodium helps to better retain the ingested fluids. As you can image, all these things help you to stay hydrated!      

In addition to sodium, also some calcium, magnesium, and potassium are lost through sweat (however in smaller quantities than the sodium). These electrolytes also have important functions in the body. For example, calcium is needed for muscle contraction, and also magnesium and potassium contribute to normal muscle function. This is of course very important during exercise, and therefore it’s a good idea to replace these as well! 

Vitamins: D & B6

Then the vitamins D and B6. Vitamin D has several important functions in the body, including for the maintenance of normal muscle function. Vitamin D is also needed for the normal absorption of calcium (the uptake of calcium by the body). The most important source of vitamin D is sun exposure and small amounts are acquired via the diet. Vitamin D deficiencies are common in both the general public and in athletes. A scientific study in Dutch athletes showed that 70% of them had insufficient or even deficient vitamin D concentrations in the blood. Deficiencies are especially common during the winter, and for athletes who work out indoors, wear protective clothing, live at higher latitude (countries that lay very far north such as Scandinavian countries), and have dark pigmented skin. Improving the vitamin D status of people with a vitamin D deficiency is associated with improved exercise performance. Thus, adding some vitamin D can really be beneficial! 

Then vitamin B6, which is important as it has a role in protein metabolism (for the build-up and break-down of amino-acids, which are the building blocks of proteins). The requirements of vitamin B6 are affected by how much protein you consume. The more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need. The Health Council of the Netherlands recommends an increased vitamin B6 intake when your protein intake is higher than 150g per day, and for this reason we added vitamin B6 to our recovery range (the protein -drinks, -bars, and -powder).      

Conclusions

Vitamins and minerals are important for numerous processes in your body. The minerals sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are lost through sweat and need to be replaced. Vitamin D is important for normal muscle function and normal calcium uptake, and it’s recommended to add some extra vitamin B6 to your diet when protein intake is high. To help you perform and recover optimally, the VifitSport recovery range contains all these important vitamins and minerals.   

Literature 
1. Shirreffs SM, Sawka MN. Fluid and electrolyte needs for training, competition, and recovery. J Sports Sci. 2011;29(SUPPL. 1):37–41. 
2. Coyle EF. Fluid and fuel intake during exercise. J Sports Sci. 2004;22(1):39–55. 
3. Stachenfeld NS. Sodium ingestion, thirst and drinking during endurance exercise. Sport Sci Exch. 2014;27(122):1–5. 
4. Backx EMP, Tieland M, Maase K, Kies AK, Mensink M, van Loon LJC, et al. The impact of 1-year vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D status in athletes: a dose-response study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Sep;70(9):1009–14. 
5. Close GL, Leckey J, Patterson M, Bradley W, Owens DJ, Fraser WD, et al. The effects of vitamin D(3) supplementation on serum total 25[OH]D concentration and physical performance: a randomised dose-response study. Br J Sport Med. 2013;47(11):692–6. 
6. Maughan RJ, Burke LM, Dvorak J, Larson-Meyer DE, Peeling P, Phillips SM, et al. IOC consensus statement: Dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete. Br J Sports Med. 2018;52(7):439–55. 

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