Athletes put increased demands on their bodies and may have increased nutritional needs. Vitamin supplements may help, especially for athletes who follow specialized or restrictive diets.

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Vitamins are micronutrients that help our bodies function at their healthiest and best. Often, a balanced diet provides the right amount of vitamins. However, since athletes may use additional energy throughout their days, they sometimes have additional nutritional needs.

For some athletes, vitamins may be a good way to help meet those needs, but it’s always best to talk with a healthcare professional before beginning any supplement.

Learn more about vitamins.

Vitamins are found in the food we eat. For most people (and most athletes), a balanced diet provides enough vitamins for healthy function.

But vitamin supplements may help athletes who have other conditions that limit their body’s ability to absorb nutrients or who have specific nutritional deficiencies. Also, athletes can often make additional demands on their bodies, and vitamins may help meet those demands.

If there are nutritional deficiencies, these may be especially harmful for athletes, and adding vitamins may be a good choice. A healthcare professional can help determine whether an athlete may benefit from vitamin supplements.

As for the exact vitamins needed, it depends on the athlete, their sport, and the needs of their body. Often, a professional such as a dietitian or sports medicine physician can help an athlete decide what vitamins and other nutrients to focus on.

However, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) suggests there are some vitamins that may benefit athletes.

Vitamin A is associated with a range of positive effects. Noted benefits may include eye health, bone health, and improved immune function. A lack of vitamin A can lead to night blindness, as well as to skin and tissue conditions.

Vitamin A is found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, eggs, dairy, and fish. It’s common to find other foods, such as nutrition bars and juices, that have added vitamin A.

You can also find vitamin A in capsules, pills, powders, and other supplements.

The B vitamins are a group of several vitamins:

These vitamins help your metabolism function correctly. Your body needs them to process carbohydrates and turn them into energy. These vitamins are found in a variety of foods. Some people, especially people with specific or restrictive diets, can sometimes benefit from supplements.

For example, vitamin B12 is often found in meat. As a result, athletes who follow vegan and vegetarian diets sometimes find B12 supplements helpful. However, it’s important to talk with your healthcare professional before you begin taking any B vitamin supplements.

Vitamin D helps the body use calcium to build bones, teeth, and muscles. A lack of vitamin D can lead to weak and brittle bones, skin conditions, anemia, and other health concerns.

Vitamin D is available in many foods, including eggs, cheese, milk, and fish. Sun exposure also helps your body get this vitamin.

It’s common for people who live in certain climates or who work indoors to not get enough vitamin D. Athletes might need even more because of the additional demands on their bodies. Supplements can help.

A lack of iron can cause a condition called anemia. People with anemia sometimes experience symptoms such as fatigue and lightheadedness that can affect athletic performance. Iron is found in many foods, including leafy green vegetables, red meat, and beans.

Sometimes, it can be difficult for athletes who eat vegan or vegetarian diets to maintain healthy iron levels.

A blood test can evaluate the level of iron in your blood. If you don’t have enough iron, a doctor can let you know. They can recommend the best iron supplement for you to take.

Vitamin K helps your blood clot. It can help protect your body from injuries. For athletes, this can mean reduced risk of harm during competition and training.

Vitamin K is primarily found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale.

Vitamin E has antioxidant qualities. It helps your cells repair and regrow. It’s needed to build new cells and to maintain muscle function. Some research suggests it can help athletes during the recovery phase following exercise.

Vitamin E is found in foods such as nuts, seeds, fruits, and some vegetables.

It’s uncommon, but possible, to encounter side effects while taking vitamins as an athlete. You can take too much of a vitamin. This is called vitamin toxicity, and it can cause a range of symptoms that vary depending on the vitamin, but that might include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • stomach pain

Additionally, some vitamins and specific medications can interact. For instance, vitamin K can change how the blood thinner warfarin works.

It’s important to talk with your doctor about any vitamins you’re considering taking. They can help you make the safest and best choice.

Do vitamins help athletic performance?

Taking vitamins can help maintain your overall health, and it can help protect against heart damage, muscle damage, and other strains that athletics can put on the body. Being better overall health is one way to help boost your overall athletic performance.

Which multivitamin is best for a sports person?

Vitamin needs are highly individual. It’s important to know what vitamins you’re not getting enough of through your diet or that you need more of because of the demands of your specific athletic activities before selecting a multivitamin.

That’s why it’s best to talk with a doctor, nutritionist, or other healthcare professional, who can help you select the right multivitamin for you.

Vitamins help our bodies function at the best level. For many people, a healthy and balanced diet provides enough vitamins.

However, athletes put additional demands on their bodies and can have increased nutritional needs. Vitamin supplements, including vitamins A, C, E, and K, along with Iron and B vitamins, may help athletes meet these needs.