Wednesday, December 27, 2006

B vitamin deficiency linked with poor athletic performance

Poor Athletic Performance Linked To Vitamin Deficiency ScienceDaily 12/27/06 "The B-vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, B-12 and folate. These micronutrients are necessary during the body's process for converting proteins and sugars into energy, and are used during the production and repair of cells, including red blood cells...For active individuals a marginal deficiency in the nutrients may impact the body's ability to repair itself, operate efficiently and fight disease, said Melinda Manore...The stress on the body's energy producing pathways during exercise, the changes in the body's tissues resulting from training, an increase in the loss of nutrients in sweat, urine and feces during and after strenuous activity and the additional nutrients needed to repair and maintain higher levels of lean tissue mass present in some athletes and individuals may all affect an individuals B-vitamin requirements, said Manore..."

What's refreshing about this is that Manore, unlike many researchers, recommends supplements. It isn't realistic to expect most athletes to get enough B vitamins through their diet. There's been a bias in the research community when talking about vitamins and minerals - they almost never recommend supplements even though a change in diet would be highly unlikely and supplements would fix the health problem quickly. This is changing and Dr. Bruce Ames might be partly responsible. There's more to this article on Ames and I'll try and unpack it in a later entry. A bit more here, on Ames and supplements and health.

"The number-one prescription given by Ames' current blueprint is absurdly simple: Take your vitamins! Standard one-a-day multivitamin capsules contain the FDA's recommended daily allowance (RDA) of several vitamins and minerals whose deficiency in rats, Ames and co-workers have shown, induces breaks in DNA by oxygen free-radicals and other mechanisms; causes mitochondrial damage, slowing oxygen metabolism; and inactivates genes that protect against cancer, including p53 and zinc-superoxide dismutase. Particuarly important in these regards are the nutrients B-12, folic acid, B-6, niacin, C, E, iron, and zinc. Ames has proposed that up to half of Americans fail to consume the RDA for at least one of these nutrients"

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