Any combat athlete training with the dedication and intensity to enter the competitive arena is going to undoubtedly push their body dangerously close to the edge its functional ability. This is why ensuring proper nutritional supplementation is crucial to achieving optimal performance.
One important set of micronutrients that is often overlooked is B vitamins. These consist of the following:
- Thiamin- Assists in breaking down carbohydrates and protein for energy.
- Riboflavin- Plays an active roll in energy production and red blood cell formation.
- Vitamin B-6- Is involved in over 100 metabolic reactions in the body, which include production of energy and hemoglobin.
- Vitamin B-12- Integral part of getting oxygen to tissue in the body.
- Folate- Important for heart health, cell production and prevention against birth defects.
Together these micronutrients are primarily used by the body for cell repair and production. They also convert proteins and carbohydrates into energy.
The Proof is in the Performance
A study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University, which was published last year in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, came to some important conclusions about athletic performance and B vitamins. This study showed that athletes lacking B vitamins were less successful in high-intensity exercise performance compared to those whose B vitamin intake was sufficient. The study also found those at a lower intake level were less capable of building muscle mass and repairing muscles. This was evident even when the deficiency was relatively small.
Risk of Deficiency
Athletes who limit their calorie intake or have restricted eating plans were found to have lower levels of B vitamins than other athletes. This would be consistent with combat sport athletes that have to achieve a particular weight requirement, therefore placing them at a higher risk for deficiency.
B vitamins are found naturally in whole and enriched grains, dark green nuts, meat and dairy products, but supplements can be purchased over the counter in a number of forms including tablets, chewables, gummies. Some may even opt to use injections when they can be obtained. Taking excessive amount of any supplement can have side effects, but The Oregon State study also suggests that the daily recommended intake of B vitamins might not be sufficient for competitive athletes. Keep this in mind when choosing the dosage that’s right for you and your performance needs. One little pill could make a big difference.