Vertical image of woman doing exercise on the mountain

Athletes deficient in B-vitamins may perform worse during high-intensity exercise and have less ability to repair and build muscle than individuals with nutrient-rich diets.

B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, B6, B12, and folate, are required by the body for proper conversion of proteins and sugars into energy. B vitamins are also utilized during the production and repair of cells, including red blood cells.

In a study, researchers analyzed both diet and athletic performance of several elite and collegiate athletes, as well as those of less competitive individuals. Even a marginal deficiency in these nutrients negatively influenced the ability of the athletes’ bodies to repair, operate efficiently, and fight disease. Exercise-induced stress, changes in body tissues resulting from training, increased loss of nutrients (in sweat, urine, and feces), and the additional nutrients needed to repair and maintain higher levels of lean tissue mass may all affect an individual’s B-vitamin requirements.

The researchers noted that current national B-vitamin recommendations for active individuals may be inadequate, and chronic deficiencies could jeopardize athlete’s abilities and long-term health. Athletes, as well as individuals with poor and restricted diets, should consider a multivitamin and multimineral supplement to ensure B-vitamin adequacy.

Kathleen Woolf; Melinda M. Manore. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2006 16:453-484. 

skin appearance

skin appearance

Using data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I), scientists examined associations between nutrient intakes and skin appearance in 4,025 women between the ages of 40 and 74 years. Clinical examinations of the skin were conducted by dermatologists. Skin-aging appearance was defined as having a wrinkled appearance, dryness associated with aging (senile dryness), and skin atrophy (shriveling or shrinking).

Higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance. Higher linoleic acid (an omega-6 essential fatty acid) intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of senile dryness and skin atrophy. A higher than average fat and carbohydrate intake also increased the likelihood of a wrinkled appearance and skin atrophy. These associations were independent of age, race, education, sunlight exposure, income, menopausal status, body mass index, supplement use, physical activity, and energy intake.

Elevated intakes of vitamin C and linoleic acid and reduced intakes of fats and carbohydrates are associated with better skin-aging appearance. Promoting healthy dietary behaviors may have added benefit for the appearance of skin in addition to other beneficial health outcomes in the population.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 4, 1225-1231, October 2007