Vitamins and minerals are probably the most prestigious nutrients outside the world of sport . Many foods try to highlight their vitamin or mineral content on their packaging, and the reality is that these are vital substances for the proper functioning of the body. However, although they can sometimes be forgotten, they are just as essential for maintaining optimal physical performance and even improving it.
The minerals and vitamins for athletes are exactly the same as for everyone else, but there is the possibility of choosing one or the other depending on the specific needs of each individual. In fact, this variety of properties is one of the most important and recognisable hallmarks of both vitamins and minerals. Perhaps this is why it is increasingly easy to find supplements such as multivitamins for athletes, whose aim is to improve physical performance.
Minerals and vitamins for athletes: a huge variety of functions
Before going into more depth about the benefits that vitamins and minerals can bring to athletic performance, a brief introductory explanation is needed to explain the basics of what these substances are.
The umbrella term for both vitamins and minerals is 'micronutrients'. They are so called because the amounts we need to ingest of them are very small, but this does not imply that they are of little importance, quite the contrary.
The number of vitamins and minerals that we need to provide our organism with is very high, amounting to 13 different types of vitamins and 14 in the case of minerals, although these are only the main ones.As if this were not enough, each of them has different functions that vary according to multiple factors.
The nature of vitamins is a good example to explain this versatility: their status as coenzyme precursors means that vitamins can switch from being a passive to an active substance with specific tasks at any time. As a result, it is very complex to detail each and every one of their properties, as the same type of vitamin can be beneficial for different aspects depending on who is taking it.
If we extrapolate this characteristic to sporting life, both vitamins and minerals become substances that can be of great help in improving physical performance , as their functions are adapted to the specific needs of each person.
The antioxidant power of multivitamins for athletes, and much more
Multivitamins for athletes are a type of supplement that is gaining more and more prominence in the catalogues of the different companies operating in the sports nutrition sector. Their most important function has to do with the antioxidant capacity of almost all the vitamins , among which vitamin C stands out, one of the most effective substances in this aspect.
The benefits of including antioxidant products in sports diets are of great importance. This is because of free radicals, compounds whose excessive presence results in health problems due to oxidative stress and cellular ageing. Interestingly, their appearance is accentuated by such unhealthy habits as smoking or drinking alcohol, but also by high-intensity physical activity. Because the main task of antioxidants is to neutralise the negative impact of free radicals, multivitamins are the perfect food supplement for athletes.
While it is true that most people who decide to take supplements of this type do so for their antioxidant qualities, it should be mentioned that vitamins have many other benefits of all kinds . From boosting energy to improving night's rest, metabolic functions to glycogen transport, and much more.
The case of minerals
With minerals, this diverse set of properties is even more heterogeneous, since at least the vitamins shared the antioxidant capacity . In this case, each of the 14 most important minerals fulfils its own tasks, some as well known as the benefits of calcium for the skeletal system or the advantages of taking potassium for muscle performance.
Magnesium for athletes: the most precious mineral
If one mineral had to be singled out above the rest in terms of sport-specific benefits, magnesium would be one of the top choices without a doubt. It has such valuable qualities as improving oxygenation, which reduces the feeling of exhaustion while improving performance such as agility.
By increasing the assimilation capacity of proteins, calcium and vitamin C , it indirectly benefits the state of the muscular and skeletal system, as well as increasing the fight against free radicals. As if all this were not enough, having an acceptable level of magnesium in the body helps the athlete to prevent muscle injuries.