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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

December 1, 2011

VITAMINS + MINERALS



After our 21-km training run in Camp Aguinaldo last Sunday (Nov 27), the 83nean runners were provided by our high school classmate, Art Puncia, a bottle each of Vigor-Ace soft-gel capsules.  Taken One-A-Day, these capsules contain vitamins and minerals which we would need as we train and actually run long distance events like  marathons and ultramarathons.

Vigor-Ace bottle (30 capsules)





To get a better idea on the essential role of vitamins and minerals, I will quote liberally from the book of David Whitsett, Forrest A. Dolgener and Tanjala Mabon Kole entiltled “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer” (McGraw-Hill 1998).

“Proper nutrition is one of the most important factors for obtaining and maintaining good health.  Likewise, when training for a marathon, nutrition has a very important role.  What does role does nutrition play in performing exercise?  It all starts with the basic function of skeletal muscle, which is to develop force or “to contract.” It is the repetitive contraction of muscles pulling on the skeletal system that propels you in running as well as any type of movement.  In order for the muscle to contract, there has to be a relatively constant supply of chemical energy available to the muscle.  Specifically, this chemical energy is adenosine triphosphate  or ATP.  ATP is to the muscle what gasoline is to your car’s engine.

In each muscle there is only a small amount of ATP available for the muscle to use. This “stored" ATP will last for just a few seconds and more ATP must be continuously manufactured if muscular contraction is to continue for longer than a couple of seconds.  There are six nutrients that the body needs in order to function normally.  They are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water.  Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are energy or caloric nutrients  because they provide a source of energy that can eventually be transformed into ATP.  Vitamins, minerals, and water do not directly provide any energy  to the body but they are essential for all the chemical reactions that do produce energy.  Without adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and water, all the carbohydrates, fats and proteins would be almost useless.

The runner’s nutritional concern should be focused on both short-term energy provision and on long term health and optional functioning of the body.  For example, there would not be any serious impact of eating foods that provide adequate energy but poor vitamins and minerals for a few days.  But if inadequate vitamins and minerals were consumed on a regular basis over weeks and months, then health and performance would start to be compromised.

Vitamins are complex organic compounds that are involved in almost every metabolic process in the human body.  Minerals are inorganic elements found in nature that are essential to life.  Vitamins and minerals are intimately involved in structural and chemical functions of the body.  Adequate vitamin and mineral intake comes from eating a wide variety of foods from all the food groups.  

Research has consistently supported the concept that if people get adequate vitamins and minerals from their foods, there is no need to take vitamin and mineral supplements. But this is a mighty big if!  The problem is that studies evaluating the nutritional intake of the average individual have found that most of us do not get adequate vitamins and minerals in our diets.  Studies on athletes have come to the same conclusion.  Also, there is relatively recent information that strongly suggests that the recommended daily amount (RDA) for some of the vitamins and minerals is actually too low, a fact which only compounds the potential problem of inadequate vitamin and mineral intake.

So what is the solution to this dilemma?  Our recommendation is that, unless you are very confident that you are consuming a nutritionally adequate diet, you should take a one-a-day type vitamin and mineral supplement.

There are several specific vitamins and minerals which deserve special consideration.  

One such item is Antioxidants.  During the normal chemical processes that produce ATP in the cells, potentially damaging substances called free radicals are produced as well.  These free radicals can damage different parts of the cell including the cell membrane.  We normally have body defences which can adequately handle free radicals.  However, when a person exercises a lot, free radical production is increased.  Nutritional antioxidants comprise a broad range of essential and nonessential nutrients that can aid in the detoxification of potentially damaging free radicals.  The best known of these antioxidants are some of the vitamins and minerals that we should be consuming on a regular basis.  The most well researched antioxidants are Vitamins E, C and beta-carotene.”

Good thing because Vigor-Ace (a product of United American Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) has the antioxidants Vitamins C and E, and Selenium. Plus, Vitamins A,  Zinc and Lecithin.

Thank you very much, Art, for your continued support of our training for longer distance running.  

Por da lab...............


 

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