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Vitamin-antioxidant sufficiency of winter sports athletes

AbstractThe sufficiency of 169 athletes (six disciplines: bullet shooting, biathlon, bobsleigh, skeleton, freestyle skiing, snowboarding) with vitamins A, E, C, B2, and beta-carotene has been investigated in April-September 2013. All athletes (102 juniors, mean age – 18,5±0,3 years, and 67 adult high-performance athletes, mean age – 26,8±0,7 years) were sufficiently supplied with vitamin A (70,7±1,7 mcg/dl). Mean blood serum retinol level was 15% higher the upper limit of the norm (80 mcg/dl) in biathletes while median reached 90,9 mcg/dl. Blood serum level of tocopherols (1,22±0,03 mg/dl), ascorbic acid (1,06±0,03 mg/dl), riboflavin (7,1±0,4 ng/ml), and beta-carotene (25,1±1,7 mcg/dl) was in within normal range, but the incidence of insufficiency of vitamins E, C, B2, and carotenoid among athletes varied in the range of 0–25, 0–17, 15–67 and 42–75%, respectively. 95% of adults and 80% of younger athletes were sufficiently provided with vitamin E. Vitamin E level in blood serum of juniors involved in skeleton and biathlon was lower by 51 and 72% (p<0,05), than this parameter in adult athletes. Vitamin A, C and B2, and beta-carotene blood serum level did not significantly differ in junior and adult athletes. Women were better supplied with vitamins C, B2, and beta-carotene: a reduced blood serum level of these micronutrients in women was detected 2–3 fold rare (p<0,10) than among men. Blood serum concentration of vitamin C (1,20±0,05 mg/dl) and beta-carotene (32,0±3,9 mcg/dl) in women was greater by 15 and 54% (p<0,05) than in men. In general, the biathletes were better provided with vitamins compared with other athletes. The vast majority (80%) were optimally provided by all three antioxidants (beta-carotene and vitamins E and C). In other sports, the relative quantity of athletes sufficiently supplied with these essential nutrients did not exceed 56%. The quota of supplied with all antioxidants among bullet shooters (31,1%) and bobsledders (23,5%) was significantly (p<0,05) lower than among biathletes. Reduced serum level of one antioxidant (mainly beta-carotene) was most often recorded among persons engaged in bullet shooting (67%). The simultaneous lack of all three antioxidants was found only in freestylers and bobsledders (about 5%). Decreased level of antioxidants in blood serum in 40% of athletes was combined with vitamin B2 deficiency. The data obtained suggest the necessity to optimize diet vitamin content of all athletes, taking into account the age and gender differences. Contrary to prevailing stereotypes the optimization must involve not only an increase in the consumption of vitamins (vitamins E, B group) and carotenoids, but sometimes, conversely, their decline (vitamin A) to a level corresponding to the physiological needs. The revealed vitamin B2 deficiency may very likely indicate a lack of other B group vitamins. In this connection it is necessary to draw attention to the need to eliminate the existing vitamin deficiency, and not to focus exclusively on antioxidant vitamins. The most reasonable and at the same time a safe way to restore the lack of vitamins in the diet of most athletes is consistently including in the diet of athletes vitamin and mineral supplements and/or fortified foods, containing a complete set of all or at least most of vitamins, and in doses that are not excessive and are adequate to maintain optimum vitamin status.

Keywords:vitamin-antioxidants, beta-carotene, blood serum, vitamin status, athletes, winter sport disciplines

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