Whether you are an avid daily exercise enthusiast, or even a weekend warrior, a key part to achieving your physical fitness goals and an overall healthier lifestyle is ensuring that you are meeting your nutritional needs. As part of living a healthy active lifestyle, a diet rich in nutrient dense foods is important to supporting energy and nutrient requirements. However, supplementation is usually needed to fill in the gaps and help support a healthy lifestyle, especially if daily activity is a part of your routine!
Does My Diet Have Nutrient Gaps?
There are various factors to consider with regard to the nutrient requirements of individuals, especially those who lead highly active, demanding lifestyles. If an active individual or athlete is restricting calorie intake, following a strict weight loss program, eliminating foods or food groups from his/her diet, and/or has a low intake of key micronutrients, he/she may be at great risk for having inadequate micronutrient intake and suboptimal nutrition in their diet.[1,2]
As a result of irregular eating habits or an unbalanced diet, regular exercise performance may be affected. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet is a vital component for good health and for sustaining a rigorous, yet regular exercise routine. One of our most recommended healthy lifestyle tips is to discuss a dietary supplement regimen with your healthcare professional or Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist to discuss how to best meet nutrient requirements, sustain an active lifestyle, and support optimal health.
Which Supplements Support a Healthy, ActiveLifestyle?
A daily multivitamin helps to assist with filling in nutrient gaps from your diet and to help meet nutritional requirements of active individuals. To reap the best multivitamin benefits, consider choosing one based on age and gender.
A B complex supplement supports cellular energy production.† B vitamins help convert the food you eat into energy, as well as help support normal nervous system function.† Active adults or athletes with higher energy needs require a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods and should also consider adding a B complex supplement to their daily supplement regimen.[3,4]
Exercise may increase oxygen consumption by 10- to 15-fold, causing "oxidative stress" on your muscles and cells – particularly over extended periods of exercise. Antioxidants work to help neutralize free radicals and often work together in the body for optimal effectiveness.† For example, vitamins C and E make a great antioxidant duo, as does vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid, to name a few. Taking aturmeric curcumin supplement is also known to provide antioxidant benefits.†
Calcium & Vitamin D
Calcium and Vitamin D support bone health for those with an active lifestyle. Calcium is an essential mineral for helping to build and support strong bones while vitamin D is required for the proper absorption of calcium.†
Calcium also has other key roles for athletes and “weekend warriors,” which include assisting with nerve conduction and muscle contraction.† Good food sources of calcium include dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese, as well as leafy greens like kale, broccoli, and mustard and turnip greens. Along with a healthy diet full of nutritious foods, supplementation with calcium and vitamin D may be necessary if dietary intake of these nutrients is low, especially in females.[8,9]
Magnesium supports energy metabolism.† Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, with 50 to 60% stored in our bones, 1% found in our blood, and the remaining magnesium stored in cells and tissues.
Most commonly identified as an electrolyte and touted for its role in maintaining mineral balance, magnesium plays a key role in many bodily functions.† Like the B vitamins, magnesium helps our bodies break down the food we eat. Magnesium is required by cells to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the body's main source of energy.†
Magnesium is also involved in over 300 essential metabolic functions, making this mineral a key player in cellular energy production and an essential component of good health.† Despite the health benefits of magnesium, many American adults fail to consume the recommended daily amount (RDA). A magnesium supplement, such as Nature Made Magnesium 250 mg Liquid Softgels, may help fill nutrient gaps for this essential mineral.
A Healthy Lifestyle
A healthier life starts with a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating a good fitness routine and nutritious foods is key to supporting a healthier lifestyle. Take notice of what you eat every day and consume a healthy diet rich in whole foods, especially complex carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Lean protein and healthy fat foods are great complements to a sports-friendly diet. It is also important to consider the appropriate dietary supplements to fill any nutrient gaps, support energy, and help your body for each day of active living!
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Driskell J. Summary: Vitamins and trace elements in sports nutrition. In: Driskell J, Wolinsky I, editors. Sports Nutrition. Vitamins and Trace Elements. New York (NY): CRC/Taylor & Francis; 2006. p. 323-31.
Volpe S. Vitamins, minerals and exercise. In: Dunford M, editor. Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals. Chicago (IL): American Dietetic Association; 2006. p. 61-3.
Woolf K, Manore MM. B-vitamins and exercise: does exercise alter requirements? Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006;16:453-84.
Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington (DC): National Academies Press; 2000.
Gleeson M, Nieman DC, Pedersen BK. Exercise, nutrition and immune function. J Sports Sci. 2004;22:115-25.
Powers SK, DeRuisseau KC, Quindry J, Hamilton KL. Dietary antioxidants and exercise. J Sports Sci. 2004;22:81-94.
Watson TA, MacDonald-Wicks LK, Garg ML. Oxidative stress and antioxidants in athletes undertaking regular exercise training. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2005;15:131-46.
Nickols-Richardson SM, Beiseigel JM, Gwazdauskas FC. Eating restraint is negatively associated with biomarkers of bone turnover but not measurements of bone mineral density in young women. J Am Diet Assoc. 2006;106:1095-101.
Nattiv A, Loucks AB, Manore MM, Sanborn CF, Sundgot-Borgen J, Warren MP. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. The female athlete triad. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39:1867-82.