Vitamins (Miscellaneous)


Experience From - Karl King , Karl King#2 , Rich Schick , Robert Thomas ,

Karl King

Subject: Iron

George asked if men can be low on iron. The answer is certainly yes. Men who eat red meat on occasion are not likely to be low on iron. There is some evidence that excessive iron in the diet is not good, especially for men. Men are unlikely to need iron supplements, but many women runners will benefit from extra iron, particularly if they are vegetarians.

The body stores iron for many uses. Not only do we need iron for red blood cells ( oxygen carriers ) but also for generation of energy in aerobic processes ( cytochromes used in electron transport ). If you have any doubts about your iron status, you should have your blood tested for serum ferritin, which is a measure of your iron reserves. This is not a common test, and you will probably have to be demanding to have it done ( remember, it is YOUR money, so be insistent ). If your ferritin value is low, you should consult with a professional on a supplementation plan to get the level back to normal values.

While some iron is lost in sweat while running, it is not significant in terms of total body iron stores, and supplementation while actually running is not necessary, and in fact may do more harm than good.

Karl King #2

Andrea wrote:

"Is there a good source of info on what are the minimum toxicity levels for all basic vitamins/minerals? I wonder what kind of effect going over those levels can have on overall well-being, both in the running sense and overall."
Andrea, you can probably find the info at your local library's reference section. Check out the Merck Index, or Physician's Desk Reference. If you want a less technical discussion, check out:

Nutrition Almanac
Kirschmann and Dunne
McGraw Hill
ISBN 0-07-034905-3

In general, each vitamin and mineral is a unique chemcial. Some vitamins are quite safe and can be taken in considerable excess of the RDA. Some such as A and D can be toxic at high levels.

The B vitamins are safe in general, but gross excess can lead to neurological problems.

Minerals such as iron and selenium can cause serious problems if taken in excess. Others such as calcium and magnesium should be taken in the proper ratio. Taking a lot of one without a concomitant increase in the other could cause problems.

The vitamins you get in your multiple servings of cereal are probably not going to damage you.

Rich Schick

Remember "a deck of cards", vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble and are hard for the body to get rid of if you take too much. Stick to the recommendations for the maximum daily allowances. The remainder of the vitamins are water souluble so any excess is quickly jettisoned through the kidneys. That's why your urine gets colorful and has a "vitamin" odor when you take these vitamins. As long as your kidneys are functioning normally and you stay hydrated you can take pretty much as much as you like, though it leads to not much benefit beyond healthy urine when you take more than the body needs.

Scott Rafferty

Database: Health Reference Center
Sent from Web SearchBank.
Library: Arlington Public Library
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Feb 1993 v57 n2 p170(5).

Title: Vitamin C supplementation reduces the incidence of postrace symptoms of upper-respiratory-tract infection in ultramarathon runners. (Vitamins)
Author: Edith M. Peters, Jeanette M. Goetzsche, Brian Grobbelaar and Timothy D. Noakes
Author's Abstract: COPYRIGHT American Society for Clinical Nutrition Inc. 1993

This study determined whether daily supplementation with 600 mg vitamin C would reduce the incidence of symptoms of upper-respiratory-tract (URT) infections after participation in a competitive ultramarathon race (> 42km). Ultramarathon runners with age-matched controls were randomly divided into placebo and experimental (vitamin C-supplemented) groups. Symptoms of URT infections were monitored for 14 d after the race. Sixty-eight percent of the runners in the placebo group reported the development of symptoms of URT infection after the race; this was significantly more (P < 0.01) than that reported by the vitamin C-supplemented group (33%). The duration and severity of symptoms of URT infections reported in the vitamin C-supplemented nonrunning control group was also significantly less than in the nonrunning control group receiving the placebo (P < 0.05). This study provides evidence that vitamin C supplementation may enhance resistance to the postrace URT infections that occur commonly in competitive ultramarathon runners and may reduce the severity of such infections in those who are sedentary. Am J Clin Nutr 1993; 57:170-4.

Robert Thomas

The best advice I can think of that's simple is to take a really good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement every day. Better to take it in two or three divided doses with meals. This I think is the best way to start, as you don't miss taking what your body may need the most. If you just take one or two popular supplements you don't address basic nutritional needs and if your supplement is of high quality and you take enough of it you could be getting as much of a given supplement as just taking that alone.

Also there is a holistic effect with nutrition so you get the most mileage with a full spectrum supplement program rather than just a few supplements. You need to examine the overall diet to really get the most out of your food and the supplements that are taken. The worst problem is under nutrition, not getting what you basically need. Only after that should the concerns of a mega supplement program be addressed.

Some multi supplements can also have some amount of plant extracts. Plant extracts present a very difficult case because there can be both nutritional and drug like actions with plants extracts and there are so many to chose from.

After taking a good multi supplement you can think about extra protein supplements, herbs, special oil supplements like CLA, GLA, Fish oil and the like. Then there are the special types of carbohydrates not found in the diet in large amounts and other special ingredients like Lipoic Acid.

With all this in mind you can look into special nutritional programs to help elicit the nutritionally augmented training effects you like to have.

Buy from a good quality company, you can hopefully get better purity and formulas for multi ingredient supplements.

I personally like the Life Extension Products but there are other good companies out there and I buy from varies sources. I don't have any interest in LEP. by the way.

You need to get at the very least the RDA level. There are so many different vitamins and minerals plus all the other ingredients recommending a level here to take is not possible. Depending on what you are taking you can take just the RDA or up to perhaps 20 plus times that amount. But you need to know what levels are safe or not. Thankfully there should be a recommended dose on a multi vitamin bottle, take that to start with.