Vitamins and Athletes Survey
Here is a Vitamins and Athletes survey that I did in 2009 for a student. Listed are some questions and comments made to me, and my brief answers. I hope others can find it useful too. You may wish to see a similar interview I did about Nutritional Supplements.
Advantages of Vitamin Supplements
Taking vitamin supplements ensures athletes get enough vitamins
I like to think of it more as a safety net— if an athlete is deficient in some nutrient then they are making sure they are getting all vitamins necessary for general health and physical activity.
Taking vitamin supplements is an easy option
Yes, many athletes will take supplements as an easy option, rather than analyzing dietary intake to determine any potential deficiencies.
Taking vitamin supplements prevents burnout
No amount of vitamin intake will prevent burnout, there are lots of other considerations to ensure an athlete remains healthy and avoids burnout
Taking vitamin supplements means you don’t have to consume as much food
Vitamins in a tablet are in no way better than dietary intake, due to all the other elements within food (for e.g. macronutrient balance, antioxidants, fibre) that a person does not get when taking a tablet.
Disadvantages of Vitamin Supplements
Athletes should be able to get enough vitamins from a good diet and not need supplements
Generally this is the case, but an athlete should get a dietary analysis and/or a blood test to determine if there are any gaps in the diet, or deficiencies in vitamin intake. Common examples of deficiencies include iron and calcium.
Vitamin supplements are expensive
Very true, and if not required are a waste of money.
When taking vitamin supplements it is hard to get the correct amounts
Athletes should be consulting a health professional regarding how much of certain vitamins need to be taken, if at all. An overdose with negative consequences is possible from some vitamins, so care needs to be taken.
Vitamin supplements can be tampered with
If the source of the tablet is unknown, it is quite possible that contamination can occur. With strict regulations of doping tests for athletes, it is better to be safe than sorry. Australian sources are more secure than overseas imported tablets as we have a more regulated drug authority. However, if ever in doubt don't do it.