The Truth About Vitamin-B Supplements and Athletes

Athletes who fall into these dietary patterns should consider a multivitamin/mineral supplement after consulting with their doctor and pharmacist. Furthermore, they should consider what is more likely to be inhibiting their performance: marginal vitamin deficiency or chronically low energy intake?

Remember, vitamins and minerals only help convert food into usable energy. They do not give us energy, so simply taking a supplement will not correct the underlying problem of not consuming enough calories to meet the energy demands of exercise.

More: Get (Most of) Your Vitamins From Real Food

What About Vitamin B12 Shots?

There is limited research to suggest that athletes need more B vitamins than their otherwise healthy counterparts. Although regular exercise may use more B vitamins through the metabolic process involved, it is likely athletes make up for any additional vitamin needs through an increased energy intake.

More: 18 Energy-Boosting Fruits

Taking a vitamin supplement wouldn't enhance performance in individuals with adequate dietary intakes. Although supplementation is useful when a deficiency is present, it's equally important to correct the underlying problem(s) that led to the deficiency. Supplementation with a multivitamin/mineral will probably suffice when trying to correct a deficiency, although special cases may warrant additional treatments.

One example is a vitamin B12 shot, which is often given to individuals to prevent or treat a severe B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia, and may be a good consideration for strict vegans and the elderly. B12 shots should be received through prescription only and delivered by a trained health professional.

More: Top 5 Vitamins to Aid Muscle Recovery

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About the Author

Emily Brown

Emily is a former professional runner and the 2009 U.S. cross country champion. She formerly trained with Team USA Minnesota, and is currently the resident nutritionist for RunnersConnect.net. Find her on Facebook.
Emily is a former professional runner and the 2009 U.S. cross country champion. She formerly trained with Team USA Minnesota, and is currently the resident nutritionist for RunnersConnect.net. Find her on Facebook.

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