As a strength and conditioning coach who has worked in this field for more than 20 years, I am still hesitant when my athletes ask me to recommend them a SAFE and good multivitamin. This is the reason why I’ve decided to make my own multivitamin formula. This was the only way to get exactly what I wanted them to use.
Multivitamins are the foundation of a proper nutrition and supplement regiment. Too often we see companies trying to find the next breakthrough in supplements, it is sad but our society is now constantly looking for the easy shortcut. They seem to forget that without a good base (food, multivitamins and essential fatty acids) you will not maximize your training program no matter what you are taking. As an athlete you work hard on a daily basis, you work for one reason “GETTING BETTER”. You can find several products who promise a better performance, but who takes care of the foundation? We have yet to find a company who has created a top quality multivitamin for athletes. They all come with exotic new formulas but everybody has left behind an old classic… A solid multivitamin is an insurance policy to your daily nutritional intake, why bother with fancy new supplements if your essential needs are not being fulfilled.
The old argument by mainstream nutritionists and doctors used to be “You get all the vitamins you need from a balance diet”. Scientific data proves that this does not hold true anymore. Scientific literature provides a large amount of data on the link between oxidative stress and athletes. Athletes are subject to higher oxidative stress than regular people resulting from greater production of energy. Oxidative stress can be a factor aggravating the risk of cramps, muscle lesions and can also postponed the recovery process. Remember, as an athlete you get more tired when you train, what makes you stronger is the rest period. Improper rest will limit your progress and your performance. During competitions or games, the balance between oxidative stress and antioxidant protection is completely destroyed. Intense energy demands are made on the muscles generating oxidative stress which exceeds the antioxidant natural defense capacity of the body. A suitable multivitamin supplement, in addition to a balanced diet, can thus overcome this imbalance and improve the antioxidant status in your favor.
Oxidative stress, is simply the damage made to a cell through the oxidative process. It is a normal reaction. However, the results often have a toxic effect on our muscle and organs. The easiest way to imagine this process is with an apple. After you have taken a great big bite of an apple and you leave it on the counter for a certain amount of time, the flesh of the apple start to turn brown (rust). The “rust” is caused by oxidation (oxidative stress). In effect, your muscle cells and organs are "rusting" as they go through their training. There are many sources of oxidative stress:
To date, science has discovered that oxidative stress may be the cause of over 70 known diseases. Depending on what form of toxin or stress your body is exposed to on an ongoing daily basis, you could find yourself suffering, even at an early age, from diseases that could be prevented if only you'd have minimized the harmful free radicals in your system, like using a multivitamin formula with a good antioxidant base (Vitamin A,C,E etc.). Our bodies were made to withstand only so much exposure to free radicals but by adding an intense training regiment, we increase this exposure.
The key ingredient to reduce the amount of free radicals in your system is antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals and allow your body to do its job properly. Unfortunately, our food supply is being deteriorated through harmful growing practices (pesticides), and can no longer be trusted upon to protect us from the oxidative stress of our immediate environment. With a healthy diet our body has the ability to produce a good amount of antioxidants, but this natural process in not enough, we also need to supplement our body.
First, your multivitamin should be tested for the purity of each single ingredient. Look for PHARMACEUTICAL GRADEanti-doping research laboratory. The laboratory analyzes the sample for categories of substances that are banned by organizations like the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Football League (NFL) etc.
Second, look for the vitamin E content, it could come from 4 different forms; alpha, beta, gamma or delta tocopherol. A top quality company will use them all. We know that oxidative stress and inflammation play pivotal roles in trained athletes. The problem is that alpha-tocopherol supplements decrease the gamma-tocopherol concentrations. The body intentionally retains alpha-tocopherol. Studies shows that the body retains the alpha form 3 times longer than the gamma form. The problem with this is the gamma form has a bigger physiological role with a unique function. Gamma-tocopherol is a huge scavenger of oxidative stress, which as you know can damage our muscles, proteins, lipids and our DNA. Next time when you go buy your multivitamin look carefully, you will be surprise to find that more than 95% of the time it contains only the alpha form.
Now that you know these important facts you will find out which companies use premium quality ingredients and the ones that like to pay attention to every detail. You are not like the average North American, you train and work harder in order to attain your goals. It is not logical to follow the minimum recommended daily allowance (RDA) while your energy expenditure is well above average. Make an educated choice by using only the best multivitamin available.
Nelson Ayotte Ch.P.C.