The 101 of Vitamins
We all know we need them. But few of us really understand exactly what each vitamin does. A deficiency of vitamin A for example can lead to a loss of smell and sight. Other vitamin deficiencies can leave an athlete cramping up in training, fatigued and disorientated . Deficiencies can lead to overuse, injuries and poor performance. In reality it is impossible to tap into your full potential as a martial artist with out essential vitamins. But, it’s really not that complicated, the path to longevity is actually in the produce, dairy, fish and meat isle of your local grocery store.
Vitamin A (Retinol, Carotenoids) will take care of your entire body, specifically teeth, bones, mucous membranes and skin. As a martial artist seeing your opponent is important, and, Vitamin A is the one vitamin that promotes eyesight, specifically in low light. It is also an antioxidant that helps fight diseases like cancer.
The ideal daily dose would be 700-900 mcg a daily.
Vitamin A can be fund in fruits like tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit and cantaloupe. Vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, kale, leeks, pumpkin, peas and spinach.
If you are looking at nuts (a great mid day snack) pistachios are an ideal choice.
As for proteins, Vitamin A is in milk, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, eggs, tuna and sour cream.
Vitamin B1 (Thaimine) helps carbohydrate metabolism, proving the much-needed energy every martial artist requires for top performance. Additionally B1 aids the function of our organs, including the heart, the muscles and the nervous system.
A deficiency of B1 will severely affect performance for any martial artist. You will see fatigue, depression, decreased focus, muscle cramps and nausea
Daily requirements are 1.0 mg.
Common fruit sources of the vitamins are mangos, grapefruits, oranges, pineapples, pomegranate and watermelon.
B1 rich vegetables will include potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, corn, lima beans and okra.
Proteins like pork, soy, bacon, roast duck and chicken will have an optimal source of Vitamin B1.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is essential for fat and protein metabolism. Without it, adequate muscle development and recovery after training would be nearly impossible. It also helps in forming red blood cells, maintaining good skin, hair, nails and vision.
The daily requirement is 1.1mg
Avocados, bananas, grapes, lychee and pomegranate are all ideal B2 rich fruits. Vegetables will include asparagus, artichoke, brussel sprouts, lima beans, mushrooms, peas and pumpkins have a good amount of vitamin B2.
Almonds, chestnuts and buckwheat are ideal for a B2 rich mid day snack.
Proteins include beef, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, chicken, eggs, salmon, tuna lamb, pork and soybeans.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin, Nicotinic Acid) is the vitamin that aids in the metabolism of sugars, fats and proteins. The vitamin also promotes circulation and reduces high cholesterol levels. If a martial artist is deficient in B3 they will see weakness during training and in severe cases anxiety and even dementia.
Daily adult amount is 14 mg.
Optimal sources of B3 include avocados, dates, mangos and peaches. Vegetables full of B3 are artichokes, corn, mushrooms, okra, peas, potatoes, pumpkin and squash. Nuts will include peanuts and sunflower seeds. Proteins with B3 are beef, chicken breast, salmon, tuna, lamb, pork and turkey breast.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) helps process vitamins, builds cells, helps fight infections and aids in developing our central nervous system. Additionally, B3 helps release energy from carbohydrates. B5 helps optimize and maintaining a high level of endurance in training.
Daily dose 5 mg.
Fruit sources of B5 include avocados, raspberries, grapefruits and watermelon. Vegetables include broccoli, brussel sprouts, corn, mushrooms, potatoes, pumpkin, squash and sweet potato. Nuts will include chestnuts, buckwheat, sunflower seeds and rye. Proteins rich in B5 are goat milk, lamb, turkey breast, veal and yogurt.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) serves as the building block of protein. It aids production of antibodies, reduces muscle spasms and leg cramps. B6 helps maintain nerve function and balance sodium. A deficiency of B6 can result in anemia, hindering the body’s cardiovascular capabilities in training and leaving you fatigued and unable to tap into your full abilities.
Daily recommended dose between 1.3-1.5 mg
Great fruit sources are pomegranates, passion fruits, mangos, grapes, bananas and avocados. Vegetables include squash, sweet potato and even spaghetti. B6 nuts are pistachios, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Proteins will include ground chicken, turkey, soymilk, tuna, pork and salmon.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin) also helps convert food like protein into energy. Serving as an essential part of a martial artists ability to fully optimize performance and recovery.
Daily dose is 30 mcg
B7 is not found in fruits or nuts, instead good sources are potatoes, whole grains, cereals and lean beef.
Vitamin B9 (Folate) works along side B12 and Vitamin C to help the body breakdown, use and create new protein. B9 also helps tissue growth.
All three help the body in heal and aid recovery after hard training sessions.
Daily-recommended dose is 400 mcg.
B9 and C sources include fruits like strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, oranges, blackberries, avocados and mangos. Vegetable sources are brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, peas and potatoes. Nuts are chestnuts, buckwheat, peanuts and oats. Proteins full of B9, B 12 and C are soymilk, salmon, yogurt, cheddar cheese and eggs.
B12 however is the only one of the three that can only be found in the proteins listed above, no fruits or vegetables contain it.
Vitamin D is vital in helping the body absorb calcium and prevent osteoporosis.
Daily-recommended dose is between 5-15 mcg a day, depending on age.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of this vitamin is that your body can produce it after spending about ten minutes in the sun.
Mushrooms, beef, cheddar cheese, milk, eggs, turkey and sour cream all have a good amount.
Vitamin E is a vital antioxidant, which protects the body against free radicals and even helps fight aging. Deficiencies in vitamin E may lead to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Daily doses are recommended at 15 mg.
Commonly found in peaches, raspberries, papaya, pomegranate, kiwi, cranberries, berries and avocados. Vegetables include potatoes and nuts include pine and sunflower seeds. Proteins include eggs, turkey and sardines.
Vitamin K is known as the clotting vitamin its main role is to help clot blood. A lack of vitamin K will result in easy bruising and delayed clotting of the blood.
A recommended daily dose is between 75-90 mcg.
Vitamin K can be found in plums, raspberries, tomatoes, berries and pairs, as well as in vegetables like broccoli, artichoke, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower and cucumber. Nuts include pine and pistachios. Proteins include cheddar cheese, eggs, lamb, soymilk and turkey.
The list above might prove overwhelming, but many of the same foods include a great variety of vitamins. The key is to eat a healthy dose of fruits, vegetables, protein and nuts. Including these foods into your mid day snacks, keeping a good variety in your diet and eating clean is the best way to secure a vitamin rich, highly durable and capable body.