Best Vitamins for Vegan Athletes
Can athletes perform well on a vegan diet? The foods that vegans avoid are dairy products and eggs, but there are still foods like grains, nuts, soy that are good source of protein. If you are an athlete, eat enough of that and you’ll be fine according to David C. Nieman, a professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University, and an athlete himself who has run 58 marathons.
The biggest issue for vegan athletes is vitamin B12, which is found only in meat; B12 is necessary for endurance athletes, since it influences the production of red blood cells. Unfortunately, it is not easy for vegans out there to find the right vitamins and supplements that can top the non-vegan counterparts. If you are a vegan athlete finding the excellent organic multivitamin to add to your diet, be sure to include these vital nutrients when looking for the best vegan vitamin:
– Vitamin B12. As stated above, if you’re vegan, you should take vitamin B12. You will not get the necessary amount of B12 from a vegan diet unless you eat fortified foods like many cereals and soymilk, or take supplements. Vitamin B12 is important for the proper function of the nervous system, homocysteine metabolism, and DNA synthesis.
– Zinc. Zinc is not easily absorbed from plant-based foods. It is essential for precise immune system function, DNA stabilization, and gene expression.
– Iodine. Most plant-based foods are low in iodine because of soil depletion, and adding more salt to your diet carries the risks of certain diseases including hypertension, kidney disease, and stroke. So, it is crucial for vegan athletes to take in a multivitamin or consume a small amount of kelp or seaweeds.
– Vitamin D. There’s a widespread vitamin D deficiency even to nonathletic people. Because of its function in skeletal muscle, this vitamin is extremely important for athletes. Vitamin D balances the gene expression of calcium metabolism-related and unrelated proteins. Moreover, vitamin D deficiency contributes to several cancers, diabetes, depression, and autoimmune diseases.
– Long-Chain Omega-3 fatty acids. This includes both decosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Many people do not self-produce sufficient levels of DHA and EPA. These fatty acids play a structural role in our brain and heart health. A practical option is to take an algae-based DHA supplement, which is absolutely vegan. DHA and EPA can also be found in plant-based foods like walnuts, seeds (hemp, flax, chia), and leafy greens.
– Taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that is concentrated in skeletal muscle tissue, and it offers a performance benefit to athletes. Taking in taurine significantly shown an increase in athletic performance. So, if you are a serious vegan athlete, be sure to add taurine to your diet.
In general, vegetarians and vegans tend to be healthier, and their respective diets are healthful options for serious athletes. To maximize productivity, recovery, vitality, and capacity to combat illnesses, increased intake of leafy greens, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and other colorful plant-based products are recommended. If you get multiple sources of protein throughout the day, you will be okay. You can eat rice during breakfast and beans during dinner. Supplemental protein is an option, but added vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, DHA, and possibly taurine are more beneficial.
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