1 Vitamins and minerals

Our body is unable to synthesise vitamins and minerals itself. For this reason, we must get them from our diet. Vitamins and minerals are primarily found in fruit and vegetables. In general, athletes require more vitamins and minerals. These higher requirements are a result of 3 very important functions that vitamins and minerals contribute to in the body:

  1. During energy production, fuel (fat or carbohydrate) is converted into ATP (energy). In addition to several enzymes, this conversion process requires many vitamins and minerals. Simply put, without vitamins and minerals, we cannot produce energy and perform muscle work.
  2. Every tissue and organ in our body requires a specific pH value in order to function optimally. If this pH value is not optimal, then proper function is compromised. Our muscles are tissue and so also require a specific pH value in order to function optimally during exercise. The optimal pH for our muscles is approximately 7. If this pH value is lower than 6.5 , then muscle capacity will drop. When a muscle reaches a pH value of less than 6.5, we call this acidification. It goes without saying that as athletes, we do not want to start exercise with already acidified muscles. Vitamins and minerals ensure that drops in pH in the muscles are kept to a minimum before exercise.
  3. When we exercise, our body produces numerous degradation products due to heightened metabolism. These degradation products must be excreted from the body, otherwise they will cause oxidative stress whereby the products accumulate in the body and cause damage. Vitamins and minerals (protective nutrients) help to gather these degradation products and remove them from the body.