​​All natural vitamins are organic foods nutrients found only in plants and animals. The body cannot manufacture or synthesize vitamins (except for Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight). They must be supplied in the diet or in dietary supplements. Vitamins are essential to the normal healthy functioning of our bodies. They are necessary for growth, health and, energy. Most important to athletes is the effect they can have on endurance and stamina. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated minimum standards for vitamins and minerals in maintaining good health. Athletes (Adults and children) need to take at least one multiple vitamin/mineral tablet per day to meet their minimum nutritional requirements. A one-a-day type multivitamin/mineral gives ample intake of the daily necessary vitamins and minerals. Anyone who trains regularly will become deficient in one or more micronutrients if they are not using a supplement, and their performance will drop off. To avoid indigestion, vitamins should be consumed with food. One-a-day formulas do not contain the minimum recommended amounts of some nutrients. Multiple vitamins’ that require several capsules or tablets per day often work best. Two or more pills should be spaced evenly throughout the day. Vitamin formulas are available in tablet, powder filled capsule, or liquid filled soft-gel cap form. Since multiple vitamins have all the ingredients mixed together, the B vitamins can react with the rest of the ingredients in the capsule or tablet. It can cause the B vitamins to seep through the capsule or tablet, discoloring it and emitting a strong odor. It is still safe for consumption and effective. When properly made, tablets and capsules dissolve readily in the stomach. Time release vitamins have not been proven to be better than regular formulas.
Vitamin A assists in growth and repair of body tissues, helps maintain smooth skin, protects the mucous membranes and susceptibility to infections, protects against air pollution, counteracts night-blindness or poor eyesight, and helps in bone and tooth formation. 4000 IU daily is 100% of the RDA. Vitamin A can build up in fat tissue since it is an oil soluble (dissolves in oil) compound, and is toxic in high amounts, so caution must be used. No high doses of Vitamin A should ever be recommended. A lack of Vitamin A may cause night blindness, increased susceptibility to infections, rough, scaly skin, loss of appetite or smell, fatigue, no tears, poor teeth & gums, or slow growth. Food Sources of Vitamin A are beef liver, cod liver oil, egg yolk, cheddar cheese, milk. Beta-Carotene, which is a type of Vitamin A, helps reduce the risk cancer. Beta-Carotene is non-toxic. 1000 IU daily is 100% of the RDA. Food Sources of Beta-Carotene are sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin, cantaloupe, broccoli, and apricots.
(Thiamin) Generates energy; aids in the digestion of carbohydrates; essential for the normal functioning of the nervous system, muscles & heart; stabilizes the appetite; promotes growth & good muscle tone. Lack may lead to the loss of appetite; weakness & feeling tired; paralysis & nervous irritability; insomnia; loss of weight; vague aches & pains; mental depression & constipation; heart & gastrointestinal problems. 1.5 mg. daily is 100% of the RDA.
(Riboflavin) Riboflavin is utilized in protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism, also helps form red blood cells and antibodies, cell respiration, good eye sight, healthy hair, skin, and nails. This is the one that makes urine that bright yellow color. 1.7 mg. daily is 100% of the RDA. Deficiency may lead to itching and burning eyes, cracks and sores in the mouth or lips, bloodshot eyes, purple tongue, dermatitis, poor growth, digestive disturbances, trembling, sluggishness, oily skin.
(Cobalamin) Necessary for formation and generation of red blood cells, protein, carbohydrate, fat and metabolism; keeps nervous system healthy, aids growth in children; increases energy; essential for calcium absorption. Shortage may cause brain damage, depression, pernicious anemia, poor appetite, low growth rate in children, fatigue, nervousness, neuritis, spinal cord degeneration, poor balance. 6 mcg to 50 mcg is the dose range for B-12.
(Niacinamide) Utilized in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, elevating GH in the bloodstream, bolsters the nervous system and protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, increases energy through proper utilization of food. Lack may lead to headaches, nervousness, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, depression, aches & pains, irritability, loss of appetite, insomnia, skin disorders, muscular weakness, indigestion, bad breath, canker sores, pellagra. 20 mg daily is the RDA.
(Pantothenic Acid) Pantothenic acid helps release energy from protein, carbohydrates, fats and assists in the utilization of vitamins, improves resistance to stress, aids in cell building, central nervous system development, bolsters adrenal glands, builds antibodies. 10 mg daily is 100% of the RDA. Insufficiency can cause pain or burning sensations in feet, skin problems, slowed growth, dizziness, digestive problems, vomiting, cramps.
(Pyridoxine) Used in synthesis of amino acids, helps in carbohydrate and fat metabolism; used in the creation of antibodies, crucial to central nervous system function, keeps skin healthy, lowers incidence of muscle spasms, leg cramps, hand numbness, nausea & stiffness of hands; helps maintain phosphorous and sodium balance. Lack may lead to dermatitis, insomnia, anemia, nervousness, pimples, lack of muscular control, mouth problems, weak muscles, arm and leg cramps, hair loss, impaired learning, and water retention. 2 mg 10 mg daily is the range for athletes.
Biotin helps in protein, folic acid, Pantothenic acid, and Vitamin B-12 utilization, and hair health. 300 mcg is 100% of the RDA of Biotin. Biotin shortage causes exhaustion, sleepiness, muscular pains, poor appetite, depression, and grayish skin.
Folic acid helps synthesize DNA & RNA (used for reproduction and cell growth). It is used in the creation of red blood cells in the bone marrow and helps in protein metabolism. Physicians put their pregnant patients on folic acid supplements because the developing fetus requires extra amounts. It is essential for proper brain and nervous system development. 400 mcg daily is the normal daily adult requirement. Inadequate folic acid can cause anemia, gastrointestinal problems, Vitamin B-12 deficiency, and premature gray hair.
Vitamin-like substances are compounds that resemble vitamins in their activity but are created in the body. They are generally in the category of B vitamins because they are similar in function and distribution in foodstuffs. Their standing as essential nutrients is uncertain. Choline is found in all cells and helps nerve function and metabolic processes. Inositol or (Myoinositol) is a water-soluble compound, but its significance in human nutrition has not been clearly established. Para-aminobenzoic acid is part of folic acid but its specific role in nutrition has not been agreed upon. Carnitine transports fatty substances. Lipoic acid has a coenzyme function like thiamine. Since it is synthesized in the liver and kidneys, it is not considered a vitamin. Bioflavinoids are a group of substances that affect capillary permeability, but are not called essential nutrients.
Inositol and its derivative, Inositol hexaphosphate (IP-6), helps form lecithin, aids in lipid breakdown, lowers cholesterol, and prevents balding. New research suggests that it can even prevent cancer formation and shrink pre- existing cancer cells. Suggested amount is 500 mg twice per day. For depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, doctors will prescribe 12-18 grams per day. Deficiency can cause high cholesterol, hair loss, constipation, and eczema. No RDA has been established for Inositol.
Choline helps control fat and cholesterol buildup in the body, while preventing fat from accumulating in the liver and facilitates the movement of fats in the cells. It helps regulate the kidneys, liver and gallbladder and promotes nerve transmission. Bodybuilders use choline to enhance muscle tone. Liquid choline consumption has been shown to improve memory by five percent for up to fifteen minutes after consumption on memory tests. It can leave a fishy smell around the person who consumes high amounts because it is derived from fish (brain food). Lack can cause cirrhosis and of the liver, hardening of the arteries, heart problems, high blood pressure, hemorrhaging kidneys. 550 mg daily is the minimum needed to prevent liver damage. There is no US RDA for choline. PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid) PABA helps healthy bacteria to produce folic acid and aids in forming red blood cells. It also is used as a sunscreen. PABA helps in assimilating Pantothenic acid while returning hair to its original color. Lack of PABA can cause extreme fatigue, eczema, irritability, depressions, nervousness, constipation, headaches, digestive disorders, and hair turning prematurely gray. No RDA for PABA has been established. 30-50 mcg per day for six weeks is a common dose. Food sources are Liver, Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, black molasses, gut bacteria, bran, cabbage, sunflower seeds, oats, spinach, citrus fruit, black currants, sprouted seeds.
(Ascorbic Acid) Vitamin C is necessary for strong teeth, gums & bones. It also helps heal wounds, scar tissue, broken bones while preventing scurvy and building resistance to infection C aids in the prevention treatment of colds, strengthens blood vessels, and helps with iron absorption. It is required for the synthesis of collagen, and is also one of the major antioxidant nutrients. C also prevents the conversion of nitrates into cancer-causing substances. According to Dr. Linus Pauling, the Vitamin C Doctor, Vitamin C will decrease the risk of cancer by 75%. Pauling used to take 10 grams daily. He lived to age 90. Lack can cause gum disease, joints pain, slow wound healing, bruising, nosebleeds, cavities, loss of appetite, weakness, skin hemorrhages, capillary weakness, anemia, poor digestion. The best food sources are citrus fruits and juices, and tomatoes. 60 mg is the RDA of C.
Vitamin D helps absorption of Calcium and Phosphorous; while maintaining a stable nervous system and normal heart action. Lack can lead to rickets, tooth decay, softening of bones, improper healing of fractures, lack of vigor, muscular weakness, inadequate absorption of calcium, retention of phosphorous in the kidneys. Food sources are fish, Cod liver oil, and Milk. 400 I.U. is the minimum RDA for Vitamin D.
Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant nutrient that slows cellular aging due to oxidation. It alleviates fatigue, helps nourish cells, strengthens capillaries prevents and dissolves blood clots. Doctors preventing heart conditions, sterility, and muscular dystrophy have also used E. Lack can cause rupturing red blood cells, lack of sex drive, fatty muscles, degeneration in the heart and muscles, skin dryness. E is found in egg yolks, olive oil, and fish oils. RDA of E is 30 I.U.
AKA Phylloquinone or Phytonadione Vitamin K is utilized in proper bone formation and blood clotting by helping the body transport calcium. Doctors use Vitamin K when treating an overdose of the drug warfarin. Doctors prescribe 65-80 mcg per day of vitamin K to prevent excessive bleeding in people taking warfarin who require surgery. 65- 80 mcg can be achieved without supplementation by eating vegetables. The RDA for vitamin K is about 1 mcg per 2.2 pounds of body weight. K is found in leafy green vegetables. Vitamin K interferes with the action of some prescription blood thinners. People taking these drugs should never supplement vitamin K without consulting a physician. All newborn infants receive vitamin K to prevent deficiencies that sometimes develop in breast- fed infants.
Fluoride (fluorine) is a trace mineral. Dietary sources of Fluoride include fluoridated water and foods grown or cooked in fluoridated water, canned fish (with bones) and teas. Fluoride helps form bones and teeth and may help prevent osteoporosis. Lack may cause increased tooth decay. Too much may impair bone health, kidney function, muscle and nerve function. Toothpaste is the common source of fluoride. It is never necessary for adults to supplement this mineral. Iodine is another trace mineral. Dietary sources of Iodine are iodized salt and seafood. and crops grown Iodine regulates thyroid hormones and is necessary for growth and development. 150 mcg is the daily requirement. Iodine deficiency can cause goiter, enlargement of the thyroid gland, cretinism, dwarfism and mental retardation. Too much can enlarge the thyroid. Iron is a trace mineral. Food sources of Iron are liver, kidneys, red meat, poultry, eggs, peas, legumes, dried fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, enriched breads and cereals. Heme Iron, which is found in animal products, is absorbed better than non-heme Iron, the type in plants. To boost non-heme Iron absorption, foods rich in Vitamin C must be eaten during the same meal. Iron aids the formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood, and myoglobin, which carries oxygen in muscle tissue. Lack of Iron can cause Microcytic anemia, fatigue and a decrease in immune function. Overdose may lead to organ failure and death. Toxicity is rare from food sources, but can occur from excess supplementation. 18 mg daily is the recommended amount. Magnesium is an essential mineral. Foods containing Magnesium are milk, dark green leafy vegetables, meat, nuts, legumes, bananas, and whole grains and wheat bran. Magnesium aids in bone growth and the function of nerves, bones and muscles and regulation of normal heart rhythm. It also aids in regulation of blood pressure and water balance in cells. Lack can cause nausea, weakness, irritability and heart rhythm disruption. There is no toxic effect in people with normal kidney function. 250-400 mg daily should be taken. Manganese is also a trace mineral. Dietary sources of Manganese include whole grains, nuts, legumes (dried beans), vegetables, fruit, instant coffee, tea, and cocoa. Manganese is Vital to reproduction, energy metabolism and aids in blood, cartilage and bone formation. Lack may cause nausea and vomiting while no evidence of toxicity has been noted from dietary intake. Excess may interfere with iron absorption. 2 mg 2-5 mg is the range. Molybdenum is a trace mineral. Food sources of Molybdenum are milk, whole grains, liver, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables. Major Body Functions: Activates certain enzymes in the body Necessary in energy metabolism. It aids in blood, cartilage and bone formation. Deficiency is rare. Excess amounts may interfere with Copper absorption Gout like symptoms. 75 mcg daily is the correct amount. Potassium is another essential mineral, especially to athletes. Food sources of potassium are fruits, vegetables, milk, meat and poultry. Potassium is an electrolyte that maintains acid-base balance, helps muscle contraction and nerve impulses; heart and kidney function, and regulate blood pressure and water balance in cells. Potassium lack leads to weakness, anorexia and nausea, drowsiness and irrational behavior. Too much can cause cardiac arrest. Supplements that are not prescription are less effective than eating a banana each day because the FDA allows only a tiny amount in over the counter supplements. Selenium is a trace mineral. Food sources of Selenium are fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, garlic and liver. Selenium prevents oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids while helping with heart function. It is also necessary for immune function and lack can cause muscle weakness and cardiomyopathy. Too much causes nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. 70-200 mcg daily is the athlete's requirement. Sodium is a crucial mineral. Food sources of sodium are table salt, soy sauce, monosodium glutamate, and cheese, smoked and cured meats, and processed and canned foods. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps maintain acid-base balance regulates blood pressure and water balance in cells and aids in muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. Lack causes headache, weakness, muscle cramps and shock. Too much causes fluid retention (important to competitive bodybuilders) and high blood pressure. Don't supplement sodium. Zinc is a trace mineral. Food sources of zinc are meat, liver, shellfish, milk, whole grains and wheat germ. Zinc is used in cell division, growth, and healing and immune system function. Low levels can cause loss of appetite skin and immunological problems, dwarfism, slow growth, and healing. Too much zinc causes vomiting and may impair the immune system. 15-25 mg each day is necessary for good performance.

Extra doses of vitamins such as C and E may hinder some benefits of cholesterol-lowering drugs, one study concluded. Other research suggests that antioxidant vitamins, which offset the harmful effects of oxygen, may help keep arteries healthy. A study compared patients with coronary artery diseases that were taking a mix of antioxidant vitamins and drugs to those who were taking drugs alone. The study used niacin and the drug Zocor, which lowers artery-clogging LDL cholesterol while increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol. It found that the volunteers’ HDL levels failed to rise as much as expected when they mixed vitamins with their cholesterol drugs. No change in HDL was noted in people taking just niacin, C, and E, or a placebo. Vitamin E has been shown in other studies to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulator that increases metabolism which has become a mainstream domesticated and unregulated drug. Research conducted on caffeine has shown that it has positive implications for bodybuilders, weight-trainers, and athletes. Some of the desirable effects are weight loss, metabolizing (burning) fat, and muscle maintenance. Mental function tests show a five-percent increase in mental acuity after consuming a cup of coffee. Most of the over the counter fat burners like Hydroxycut contain caffeine. Caffeine supplements can enhance fat burning through the process of thermogenesis, or raising the body temperature. Brown fat cells in the body are the greatest recipients of this heating process, and they will shrink noticeably in just a few days. Athletes have taken caffeine for a number of years to enhance performance before training in the form of a cup of coffee of bottle of Coke. Bodybuilders can benefit from supplementation of caffeine in many ways. It not only promotes the breakdown of fat cells, but also stimulates the biochemistry of muscles and nervous system, thus enhancing performance. Caffeine should not be taken by athletes under age 18, pregnant or nursing women, people with high blood pressure, liver, thyroid, or psychiatric disease, diabetes, pernicious anemia, nervousness, anxiety, depression, seizure disorder, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, difficulty in urination due to prostate enlargement, or pheochromacytoma. Clients should discontinue use and consult a health care practitioner if dizziness, sleeplessness, tremors, nervousness, headache, heart palpitations or tingling sensations occur. They should always consult their healthcare professional before using caffeine if they are taking a prescription drug. There are oil based, or lipotropic weight loss compounds that you can recommend to your clients in addition to stimulant capsules. If a client cannot tolerate caffeine suggest a lipotropic fat burning supplement containing hydroycitric acid (HCA). Many clients will see good results from lipotropics alone. Others will require a more potent metabolism stimulator. Discovering the client's health history and plainly stating possible side effects is crucial before clients use any stimulant supplement. Feedback is essential when the client actually begins to uses a product. And start with less than the manufacturer recommended dose. One tablet before the training session is a good place to start. Stay with that amount for two or three days and get feedback about things like mood, irritability, sleep patterns and energy levels. If the client's report is negative, switch to a lipotropic formula.

Maca comes from Lima, Peru. Maca can boost sex drive by up to 200 percent, according to a study by Peruvian Pharmaceuticals Company Hersil. The study found, can also cut stress, boost energy and well being and increase fertility. Maca (like a small brown turnip, with a pungent smell and a foul taste) can produce a 180-200 percent raise in libido (sex drive) and up to a doubling of sperm production in men. Maca also reduced blood pressure with no adverse effect on the heart and shows energy-giving properties, while boosting physical and sexual performance. Maca produced an increase in sex drive within two weeks in men, but there are no studies yet on maca’s effects on women. It is available in powder or tablet form in health food stores, and is goes by the names Peruvian Ginseng, or Korean Red Ginseng.

There are many popular protein powder formulas available. One of the best is whey & casein protein, although lactose intolerant individuals can not use whey or dairy products. For them a good egg or soy protein powder is recommended. Vegetarians will still make good muscle gains if they stick with soy based protein sources like tofu, and soy protein powder. No more than 100 grams of protein daily should come from protein powders. Food should be the primary source of protein intake for athletes. The rule of thumb for building mass is to eat about 30-40 grams of protein every three waking hours from many different sources.

Creatine is a blend of three amino acids and is considered a food by the FDA. It is a cell volumizer and works by increasing muscle structural protein and causing greater amounts of ATP and water to stay inside muscle cells. Many weight trainers gain five pounds the first few days they use creatine. At first creatine was "loaded" and consumed with fruit juice to maximize the effect. Later studies have shown that loading creatine and taking it with juice is unnecessary. There are now many kinds of creatine available, including effervescent creatine. The problem with any liquid creatine or pre-packaged drink is that creatine degrades after about ten minutes in water. Until research that refutes these finding surfaces, using powdered creatine added to water, and consumed immediately, is still the best way to take creatine. Caffeine also blunts the effect of creatine, so they should never be taken together. The correct muscle building dose is 1-2 tablespoons (depending on body weight and gender) taken before and after training.

DHEA is a pro-hormone (a hormone precursor), or building component. It is two chemical steps away from being transformed into testosterone by the liver. The body will produce only a small extra amount of testosterone from DHEA if there is already an adequate supply of testosterone in the blood stream. Taking huge amounts of DHEA does not add to its effectiveness because the excess will be excreted in the urine, and the half-life of many DHEA formulas is only about an hour, which means half of the hormone is gone after sixty minutes. 100 mg of DHEA taken 30 minutes prior to training is best for muscle building. Because the body builds up a tolerance quickly to DHEA, it should not be administered on non-training days. It should be cycled on for four weeks, off for two and back on for four more. Then a six-week break can be followed by the same cycle again. Following a cycling program like this, the trainee should be able to keep all of the gains they made while on the pro-hormone. Elevated blood serum testosterone levels that provide a quick boost in training drive for the workout can remain higher than normal for several hours after training, when blood flow is still altered away from organs and toward the target muscle tissue.

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much a food affects your blood sugar level if consumed by itself after a period of fasting. It does not measure insulin levels in the blood, but the amount of sugar in the blood. It measures the effect food has on blood sugar compared to the effect of sugar, or glucose, which is has a level of 100. That means that if a client eats a piece of fruit with a GI of 50, and measured blood sugar levels over a two hour period, the fruit would cause an increase in blood sugar half as high as the 100 percent spike that table sugar would cause. Thus the piece of fruit would have a rating of 50 on the glycemic index. When carbohydrates are consumed in meals that contain protein and fat, the glycemic index loses its significance because the protein and fat slow the absorption of the carbohydrate. The Glycemic Research Institute (GRI) rates foods as acceptable or unacceptable, rather than use the glycemic index number. A food is acceptable to the GRI if it does not overly stimulate blood glucose, lipoprotein lipase (that enzyme that promotes fat storage), or insulin too much. The food can't have high-glycemic components, or contribute to hyperactivity, ADD, or dyslexia in children. A food is unacceptable if it reduces sports performance because of insulin spikes, or causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Many fruits can skip a step in the liver and stimulate lipoprotein lipase production, while bypass the insulin engine spike. They would have a higher rating on the glycemic index, even though they are low in sugar. By recommending low glycemic index foods, clients can lose weight and improve sports performance. The complete glycemic index of foods is available at www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm, one of the best GI sources on the web. You can also do a search on glycemic index to ferret out more great sources. Become familiar with the glycemic index because it will be a major tool for clients who need to lose weight. Check your client’s reaction to any supplement within twenty-four hours of sampling it to determine potential problems or adverse reactions. Common supplements and reactions are listed here: Designer Protein, whey protein, egg protein or soy protein (Lactose intolerant individuals must use egg or soy protein) supplement when use may cause digestive problems, diarrhea, and/or stomach upset. Creatine in various forms may cause digestive problems, diarrhea, stomach upset. Hydroxycut and Xenadrine containing caffeine in low doses are excellent for weight loss. As mentioned, oil based containing fat burners are still good recommendations for clients who can’t tolerate caffeine. Make sure they watch for symptoms like irritability, digestive problems, diarrhea, stomach upset, nervousness, insomnia, or fatigue. Non-caffeine containing fat burners Various multi-vitamin mineral complexes Sports drinks with carbs, caffeine, protein (like Pure Pro), or high protein weight gain drinks like (XXL). American Bodybuilding or Science Foods provide many of the popular sports drinks found in health clubs. Stomach disturbance Low carbs High Protein Reduced or increased calories Mood, hunger levels, irritability, digestive problems, diarrhea, stomach upset, rate of weight gain or loss, water retention, nervousness, insomnia, fatigue, sleepiness, energy levels. Most of the responses will be subjective. Clients may have to tone down their goals if their response to supplements or diet is adverse. Always be flexible. Start out with a gradual introduction of supplements and check reaction initially instead of adding everything in one day. By trying a new item each day the moderate changes will allow the client to judge what works and what doesn’t and it can be documented on the feedback sheet.