Thursday, January 19, 2012

Should You Really Be Taking Vitamins?

4 Common Questions About Vitamins

Q. When I feel tired can vitamins give me more energy?

A. Vitamins are catalysts to natural body functions. That is, they help the food you eat become broken down and absorbed for energy. Vitamins, by themselves, do not "pep you up". Active people need a diet high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat while meeting your daily requirements for fruits and vegetables. Vitamins allow your body to do what it is supposed to do. When you ask what vitamin is good for energy there is no single answer. The B vitamins work together to help the body process, produce, and efficiently use energy in different forms, and each one is necessary for good health.

Q. I am lifting weights and exercising every day. Should I increase my vitamins supplements now?

A. The National Academy of Sciences has established Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) as a guide to establish dietary requirements. Megadoses (up to 10 times normal) of vitamins and minerals can be dangerous. When consumed in excess, vitamins can be drug-like rather than body regulators. Fat soluble vitamins (such as A and D) can actually become poisonous when taken in excess over extended periods of time. The vast majority of Americans can met their vitamin and mineral needs by merely eating a better, balanced, and diversified diet.

Q. Are vitamin pills the same as the vitamins in food?

A. Yes. However, food also provides a source of calories to be burned for energy. Vitamins alone do not provide any energy. Food also provides bulk (fiber) which aids in digestion, absorption and elimination to promote regularity.

Q. What should I do if I am still not certain if I should take vitamin supplements?

A. Check your age and look at your diet. A vitamin/mineral supplement may be useful at a certain age (improper or inadequate eating habits as we grow older) or if you have a mild medical condition (calcium deficiency); check with your physician if you have any doubts.
A balanced diet is just that: balanced. It has contributions from fruits, vegetables, breads, lean meat/fish and dairy products. An athletic diet should concentrate on complex carbohydrates (65-70%, with protein contributing 10-15% and fat consumption reduced to 20-25%).

Phil Hossler, ATC has been an athletic trainer on the scholastic, collegiate and Olympic levels. He has authored 4 books and numerous articles and served as an officer in state and regional athletic training associations for 20 years. He is a member of four halls of fame including the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s.

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