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The Role of Vitamins & Minerals

Martial arts training can be intense, those training may experience bruises, sprains, strains, and even broken bones. Hitting boards, bags, and bodies repeatedly develops callouses, and in some cases, may eventually cause arthritis. Supplements can help reduce injury and increase rates of healing, if taken correctly.

The best bet is to work with a nutritionist or naturopath to figure out the optimum daily intake for your specific needs. This will depend on your diet, exercise levels, and training schedule. There are some basics that will help clarify those needs, as long as they fall within a normal range. If in doubt, seek a professional assessment. Below are some basic recommendations.

Here are a few definitions to keep in mind as you read this article:

  • Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) – the minimum required dose to offset 80% of cases of a specific disease directly related to the specific vitamin deficiency
  • Optimum Daily Intake (ODI) – amount suggested to maintain the body at peak condition and avoid illness
  • Injury Recovery Dosage – amount suggested for short-term supplementation to increase healing factors
  • Deficiency – Signs and symptoms of lacking nutrients before disease onset
  • Toxicity – Signs and symptoms of too much nutrient

Vitamin A

A class of fat-soluble vitamins and provitamins (molecules easily converted by the body into usable vitamins) consisting of over 600 known carotenoids, they are often known as retinols, with beta-carotene as the best known and researched. Carotenoids are essential for eye health, aid in skin and other basic metabolic processes. They are also required for strengthening bones and muscles during training. Carotenoids make up the yellow and orange pigments found in fruits and vegetables, and were first discovered in the carrot.

High levels of exercise increase the need for vitamin A. The rods in the eyes cannot function without adequate doses of vitamin A. The peripheral and night vision relies heavily on this vitamin. This makes vitamin A an important essential vitamin for all martial artists and combat sports fighters.

Vitamin A | Fighting Arts Health Lab

This vitamin helps lay down new cells in bone and muscle during periods of healing and retinoic acid aids in the production of the glycoproteins that control how new cells attach to each other1. 

Adequate levels of vitamin A increases muscle and bone healing and strengthening, which is incredibly important for the martial artist who is healing from a training injury. If a compound fracture results from a wrist lock or a cracked rib from a right hook, higher levels of vitamin A may speed healing of broken bones during the first week of recovery5.

Vitamin A from food has been shown to be more effective than supplementation. It is more easily utilized and more fully absorbed by the body, and any naturally occurring vitamin will be absorbed better than an artificial vitamin. Also, too much vitamin A can create health risks and problems, so ensuring plenty of vitamin A from naturally occurring sources such as carrots will fulfill physical requirements with fewer risks6

The best sources are liver, eggs, and muscle meat1. Eating 1 oz of liver, 2 eggs, and 1 serving of yellow vegetables will yield an average intake of 15,000 IU or 5,000 mcg RE1. You must consume fat with  vitamin A  in order to optimize absorption2. Below are some important vitamin A facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin A

Recommended Daily Allowance13

3,000IU or 900mcg RE as mixed retinols

Optimum Daily Intake13

5,000 IU or 1,500 mcg RE as mixed retinols

Injury Recovery Dosage23 

10,000 IU or 3,000 mcg RE as mixed retinols for no more than 1 week

Sources13

Any yellow or orange fruit or vegetable, leafy greens, liver, fish oil, eggs, butter, muscle meats

Deficiency Symptoms13

Night blindness, irritated red eyes, immune stagnation, cancer, dry skin, keratinization of mucous membranes, brittle hair, balding, weak bones, fatigue

Deficiency Causes13 

Alcohol blocks absorption for 12 hours, steroid use, mineral oil, exercise

Toxicity Symptoms13

Carotenodermia (orange skin), brain swelling, vomiting, liver enlargement, bone malformation, birth defects

Toxicity is difficult to induce from diet alone. It would require consuming 8oz of liver daily, or more than 8oz of juiced yellow or orange vegetables daily, to  cause toxicity.

Warning123 ; Daily use of beta-carotene alone may cause blindness and increase liver and pancreas problems. Do not take this as a supplement if you have liver problems, diabetes, or thyroid problems.

B Vitamins

Thiamin (B1)

All B vitamins are essential for optimal brain, nerve, and body health. All B vitamins are water soluble, meaning the body needs more daily for optimal health, and any excess will be excreted in urine. B vitamins work synergistically, which means they work together, so it is vitally important to take them all together simultaneously in proper amounts in relation to each other. B vitamins are depleted through exercise and training.

This vitamin is vital to the nervous system, required for the production of acetylcholine and a crucial part of the metabolism of nucleic acids (part of DNA and RNA synthesis) and NADPH (part of the energy production3 . It aids in the development of the myelin sheath around nerves that protect against damage1. Deficiency in B1 has connections to the onset of dementia7.  

Thiamin is necessary for  circulation and carbohydrate metabolism. It aids in the coordination of all muscles, but especially the organ muscles surrounding the stomach, intestine, and diaphragm2. Deficiency leads to reduced energy, fatigue, and slow reflexes, not something a fighter can afford during, a high impact training session or a tournament.

Vitamin B1 aids in detoxification and can help remove waste products from the muscles and blood. That makes it highly important for the fighter recovering from brutal training or events. It is one of the cofactors in the metabolism of ethanol. As a side note, intake at 10 to 15 mg per day in the summer may deter mosquitos and other biting insects. Below are some important vitamin B1 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B1

Recommended Daily Allowance13

1.1 to 1.3 mg

Optimum Daily Intake13

10 to 50 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

50 to 200 mg per day for 3 days

Sources1, 3

Yeast, whole rice bran, peanuts, liver, turkey, chicken, white fish, seeds, nuts

Deficiency Symptoms13

Berberi, fatigue, memory loss, pain, depression, numbness in extremities, heart rate inconsistencies, labored breathing, muscle incoordination, weakness

Deficiency Causes123

Alcohol, caffeine, processed food-rich diet, sugars

Toxicity Symptom13

Rare outside of supplementation

Cell

Warnings123: B1 and all B vitamins are typically safe outside of excessive supplementation.

Riboflavin (B12)

This vitamin is associated with energy production which is essential for the martial artist. Vitamin B2 is part of a metaboliccycle and multiple vitamin metabolic functions3 . It aids in cell and antibody formation and respiration, metabolism, and the prevention of cataracts13. Together with vitamin A, it improves the mucous membranes of the digestive tract13. The importance of this is vital, and cannot be underestimated. Without healthy mucous membranes, we cannot absorb nutrients, food,  or prevent illnesses123.

Vitamin B2 is particularly helpful in the prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome, and it helps reduce danger of overuse injuries, which is ultimately important for the martial artists1. Supplemental use helps treat and prevent cataracts and visual problems1. In particular with weight training and high impact sports, like Tai Kwon Do, B2 decreases the fatigue and stress injuries after a hard workout 13. High dose prescription treatment has been used for migraines with mixed success3.

Using mixed B vitamins may help athletic performance and injury recovery. Be sure to use a supplement that has adequate amounts of all the B vitamins, as recommended in this guide8. Below are some important vitamin B2 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B12

Recommended Daily Allowance 13 

1.0 to 1.3 mg

Optimum Daily Intake13

10 mg (excess is removed via urine, which may take on bright yellow/green tint)

Injury Recovery Dosage23

25 to 50 mg

Sources13

Yeasts, liver, dairy, eggs, fish, red meats, whole grains, leafy greens

Deficiency Symptoms13

Inflammation, mouth sores, eye disorders, dizziness, insomnia, digestive problems, retarded growth, slowed mental response

Deficiency Causes123

Contraceptives, alcohol, strenuous exercise, antacids (chewable and acid blockers), artificial sugars and processed foods

Toxicity Symptom13

Cataracts, retinal diseases

Warnings123Some fats and sodium are required for proper absorption. Excessive consumption or supplementation of copper, zinc, caffeine, vitamin B3, vitamin C, or amino acids reduce bioavailability. Artificial sugars also block bioavailability.

Niacin, Nicotinic Acid, Niacinamide (B3)

Niacin’s importance in energy production comes from being the main component of NADH+ and NADPH, two of the top molecules of energy production. It aids in the metabolism of sugars, fats, and proteins1. B3 is vital to sex as it helps regulate the production of estrogen and testosterone1.

In the short term, B3 may provide an extra boost of energy when taken with a nutrient-rich meal13. It increases the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and is a co-factor in the absorption of other nutrients3. During stressful situations, like a competition, B3 can help reduce anxiety and headaches1.

Clinically, niacin has been used to reduce arthritis symptoms, memory impairment, and depression3. It has been shown to help reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and fibrinogen levels 3.  Below are some important vitamin B3 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B3

Recommended Daily Allowance13

16 mg

Optimum Daily Intake13

50 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

50 to 200 mg

Sources13

Beef liver, yeast, most vegetables, wheat bran

Deficiency Symptoms 13

Pellagra, dizziness, depression, fatigue, headaches, indigestion, weakness, inflammation

Deficiency Causes 123

Poor diet, protein supplements

Toxicity Symptoms 13

Niacin flush, liver impairment and failure

Warnings123Amounts over 500 mg per day taken daily could cause liver failure. People with diabetes, liver disease, gout, ulcers, or who may be pregnant should not take B3 supplementation due to increase in blood sugars. Supplementation may cause a reddening of the skin called a niacin flush. It is harmless and usually fades within 30 minutes. If symptoms last longer than 30 minutes, contact a physician.

Pantothenic Acid (B5)

A vital component of mitochondrial metabolism, B5 is part of coenzyme A, required to add an acetyl group to pyruvic acid in the Kreb’s cycle3. Without this coenzyme, most energy production in the body stops3.

Additionally, it helps in the production of neurotransmitters, antibodies, other vitamin utilization, and general metabolism2. It can reduce mild stress and anxiety1.

Higher doses are sometimes used in therapeutic doses after gastrointestinal surgery and heavy doses of antibiotics1. It aids in the repopulation of gut bacteria. There is some evidence that it reduces teeth grinding at night1. Below are some important vitamin B5 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B5

Recommended Daily Allowance13

4 to 7 mg

Optimum Daily Intake13

25 to 50 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

Red and white meats, fish, yeasts, eggs, mushrooms, oats, seeds

Sources13

Beef liver, yeast, most vegetables, wheat bran

Deficiency Symptoms13

Rare – low energy, low red blood cell production, hypoglycemia

Deficiency Causes 123

Vegetarian diet, processed foods

Toxicity Symptoms 13

Rare, vomiting

Warning123Destroyed in food by heat, acids (vinegar), and alkalis (baking soda).

Pyridoxine (B6)

B6 levels must remain at an optimal level in order to absorb protein supplements, protect the heart, allow adequate digestion, regulate hormones, and aid breathing. We need this nutrient for the functioning of over 100 reactions in the body, from the creation of amino acids, to the regulation of neurotransmitters3. It’s especially important in the control of homocysteine, a key marker for heart disease3. In deficiency situations, cholesterol is deposited around the heart, impeding function2.

B6 is required for adequate hydrochloric acid production in the stomach. A deficiency could cause indigestion and gas2. For people with kidney stones, it may be useful in preventing oxalate stone formation2.

For people with breathing problems, especially during high-intensity workouts, low-level pyridoxine supplementation may help reduce wheezing and asthma symptoms2. For women, B6 will help reduce the symptoms of PMS and regulate the production of estrogen/progesterone1.

Many martial arts practitioners use protein supplements. Without adequate intake of B6, this is pointless. The body self-regulates the absorption of protein and amino acids to the levels of B6 (and other nutrients)1. Low levels of B6 mean those expensive protein drinks are nothing more than flavored water. Below are some important vitamin B6 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B6

Recommended Daily Allowance 13

1.4 mg

Optimum Daily Intake13

10 to 15 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

100 to 300 mg

Sources123

Yeasts, seeds, nuts, fatty fish, liver, legumes, bananas, eggs, berries, green leafy vegetables

Deficiency Symptoms13

Carpal tunnel, hormone disbalance, heart problems, fatigue, stomatitis, mood disorders, nervous system dysfunction

Deficiency Causes123

Poor diet, zinc deficiency, cigarettes, pregnancy, amphetamines, oral contraceptives

Toxicity Symptoms1, 3

Neuropathy, suppressed lactation

Warnings123: Requires adequate intake of zinc to be effective.

Biotin (B7)

Biotin is the B vitamin that allows all other B's to be properly absorbed by the body. Biotin also aids the body in removing lactic acid from muscles after exercise, making it quite essential for martial artists. We need biotin to regulate and absorb all other B vitamin2; Although B7 is a water-soluble vitamin, we need it in order to metabolize and utilize fatty acids2. Its function in removing lactic acid from the muscles is part of the acetyl CoA carboxylation – necessary for energy production23. Adequate intake of biotin will reduce muscle fatigue and soreness after training.

Fighters and martial artists  who consume raw eggs to build muscle need to be extremely careful not to become low on biotin since the avidin protein present in raw eggs blocks the absorption of biotin123. This can lead to muscle fatigue and toxic lactic acid build-up that will make workouts less effective1. 

Supplementing 100 mg of biotin per day may help prevent male hair loss2. Below are some important vitamin B7 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B7

Recommended Daily Allowance13

30 mg

Optimum Daily Intake13

100 to 200 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

200 to 400 mg

Sources13

Yeast, liver, eggs, nuts, most vegetables

Deficiency Symptoms13

Lactic acid buildup, alopecia, dermatitis, nausea, depression, hallucinations, muscle pain, paresthesia, weak hair and nails

Deficiency Causes123

Alcohol, wheat, raw egg whites, antibiotics

Toxicity Symptoms13

Rare

Warnings123; Alcohol and wheat block the absorption of biotin.

If you have taken antibiotics, supplement with probiotics to restore gut bacteria that allow biotin absorption.

Folic Acid, Folate (B9)

Folic acid is required for all rapidly dividing cells, such as when we have bruising or lesions from a strike3. It also plays a significant role in blood cell formation 3.

Folic acid helps to maintain the balance of hormones in the brain, which can reduce brain injury and mood swings1. After a brain injury, especially stroke, folic acid levels help dictate the level of damage to the brain and the ability to heal.9, 10. In many martial arts, and for all professional fighters, hits to the head, occur on a regular basis. Ensuring good levels of B9 will help protect the brain, and reduce possibility of injury. All martial artists who might encounter head shots or throws that may shake or impact the head, even on an occasional basis, should be sure to get adequate levels of folate to help prevent brain injury.

For people with heart disease, folic acid regulates homocysteine, a marker of the risk of heart attack, atherosclerosis, and stroke2. Optimal levels of folic acid reduce the risk of heart disease. Below are some important vitamin B9 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B9

Recommended Daily Allowance13

0.4 mg

Optimum Daily Intake13

0.5 to 1 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

1 to 3 mg

Sources123

Green leafy vegetables, yeasts, liver, beans, nuts, and seeds

Deficiency Symptoms13

Depression, anemia, heart disease, grey hair, labored breathing, memory issues

Deficiency Causes123

Anemia, decreased appetite, fatigue, anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives, alcohol

Toxicity Symptoms13

Neural damage, insomnia, irritability, gastrointestinal problems

Warnings123Do not take more than 0.4 mg per day unless under the supervision of a doctor. Folic acid and folate are heat intolerant and will break down during cooking. Do not take during cancer, except by the direction of your doctor. Do not take if you experience seizures.

Cyanocobalamin (B12)

This is one of the most commonly discussed vitamins, and also one of the least likely to need supplementation1. Unless you are a strict vegan, you most likely are getting enough B12 from your diet.

B12 is required to metabolize folic acid3. In the brain, it helps regulate neurotransmitter production, and deficiency may cause mood disorders3.  In the blood, it controls the formation of red blood cells, and a lack causes anemia2.

In people who eat meat and dairy, deficiency is only found in thoselacking an intrinsic factor for absorption. Lacking this enzyme means B12 cannot be absorbed and must be taken sublingually. However, it is rare to have thisissue.

Protein powders, energy supplements, and vitamins used by MMA and UFC fighters for increased energy that contain B12 are a waste of money. This form of cobalamin is inadequate for our systems. Below are some important vitamin B12 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B12

Recommended Daily Allowance13

2.4 mcg

Optimum Daily Intake13

10 to 20 mcg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

1 to 5 mg

Sources13

Liver, organ meat, muscle meat, eggs, cheese, B12 producing gut bacteria

Deficiency Symptoms13

Anemia, asthma, immunosuppressing bacterial infection, epilepsy, depression, neuropathy, intrinsic factor deficiency

Deficiency Causes123

Vegan diet, age >60, gout medications, potassium supplements

Toxicity Symptoms13

Rare

Warnings123; Stomach acid suppression medication may cause a deficiency.

Orotic Acid (B13)

Orotic Acid works synergistically to optimize metabolic health. Although not officially a proper vitamin, B13 works in conjunction with calcium, magnesium, and potassium to facilitate active transport and increase bioavailability1. It is an essential component for fixing magnesium in cells and maintaining the proper balance of electrolytes1.

For people with heart problems, especially for older practitioners of MMA, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, and other demanding martial arts, this vitamin may help maintain proper heart rhythm, protecting the heart from excessive response to stress and increasing pliability of arteries and blood vessels1,. It will help reduce the chances of a heart attack and aneurism1. Below are some important vitamin B13 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B13

Recommended Daily Allowance1, 3

Undetermined

Optimum Daily Intake13

Undetermined

Injury Recovery Dosage23

Not Available

Sources13

Root vegetables and dairy

Deficiency Symptoms13

Heart issues, improper digestion

Deficiency Causes123

Processed foods, medications, alcohol

Toxicity Symptoms13

None known – Supplementation not available

Warnings123 None

Pangamic Acid (B15)

Russian athletes are known for B15 supplementation. Vitamin B15 is considered an essential vitamin in other countries, and is vital for the martial artist, as it supports blood pressure health, mental health, blood sugar balance, skin health, etc. This is another nutrient that is not considered a true vitamin in the US. European and Russian doctors use this nutrient to treat several diseases, including mental diseases, dementia, autism, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, skin disease, and liver disease1,.

B15 supplementation is most noted for its use in Russian athletes to reduce the build-up of lactic acid in muscles and increase oxygenation of tissue1,. Below are some important vitamin B15 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B15

Recommended Daily Allowance13

Undetermined

Optimum Daily Intake13

50 100 mg twice per day

Injury Recovery Dosage23

50 to 100 mg three times per day

Sources1, 3

Yeasts, seeds, wheat and rice bran, beef blood

Deficiency Symptoms13

None specifically known yet – may accelerate other disease progression

Deficiency Causes123

Processed foods, alcohol

Toxicity Symptoms1, 3

None known – pure supplementation not available, Dimethylglycine (DMG), a substitute may be used

Warnings 123;  None

Laetrile, Amygdalin (B17)

Discovered in apricot kernels, this is another disputed vitamin. It was first used as a cancer treatment which is now banned in the US, but used successfully to treat cancer in Mexico and Asia1.

Concerns arise from its higher than average cyanide levels, half of the bioactive component of the vitamin1. Cancer cells lack the enzyme rhodanese that inactivates cyanide molecules but instead have beta-glucosidase that releases the cyanide1. This combination makes amygdalin highly reactive to cancer cells, but nearly harmless to healthy cells. Below are some important vitamin B17 facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin B17

Recommended Daily Allowance1, 3

Undetermined

Optimum Daily Intake13

550 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

500 to 1,000 mg

Sources13

Soy lecithin, egg yolk, yeasts, meats, nuts, leafy greens, liver

Deficiency Symptoms13

Fatigue, insomnia, kidney dysfunction, memory problems, heart problems,

Deficiency Causes123

Processed foods, alcohol

Toxicity Symptoms13

Vomiting, sweating, salivation, body odor

Warnings123 Contains high levels of cyanide.

Choline

This supplement gets added to many energy products and supplements. Required by the brain in high amounts, the conversion to acetylcholine determines the brain’s level of performance1. It is one of the only vitamins to cross the blood-brain barrier to be involved with direct brain function1. It has shown promise in treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s12

Choline aids the metabolism of fats and becomes deficient in low-carb diets that do not incorporate at least half of the daily intake from fruits and vegetables1. Therapeutic supplementation has been shown to reduce atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and some cholesterol levels2. It may help lower homocysteine, which lowers cholesterol build-up2.

Choline is an energy and memory booster, and for grueling events and weekends extra choline supplementation helps to retain the material better and have the energy to last the entire weekend11. Below are some important vitamin Choline facts:

Important Facts About Choline

Recommended Daily Allowance1, 3 

Undetermined

Optimum Daily Intake13

550 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

500 to 1,000 mg

Sources1, 3

Soy lecithin, egg yolk, yeasts, meats, nuts, leafy greens, liver

Deficiency Symptoms1, 3

Fatigue, insomnia, kidney dysfunction, memory problems, heart problems,

Deficiency Causes123

Processed foods, alcohol

Toxicity Symptoms13

Vomiting, sweating, salivation, body odor

Warnings123The top source for supplementation, soy, particularly GMO soy, is linked to many types of cancer and hormonal problems. Organic soy is recommended when eating or supplementing soy products. Use of phosphatidylcholine is recommended.

Inositol

Inositol is vital for brain health and cell regeneration, and thus essential for martial artists. Vital for hair growth, inositol reduces cholesterol levels and promotes calm sensations2. It helps prevent atherosclerosis, constipation, irritability, mood swings, and skin problems123

Therapeutic doses may help in the treatment of depression, OCD, and anxiety2. Used in conjunction with choline, it can aid the repair and regrowth of nerve cells in the brain, reversing the damage done by drugs, sugar, and degenerative diseases1. Below are some important vitamin Inositol facts:

Important Facts About Inositol

Recommended Daily Allowance13

Undetermined

Optimum Daily Intake13

500 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

500 mg

Sources1, 3

Yeast, fruits, meats, molasses, vegetables

Deficiency Symptoms13

Fatigue, memory problems, heart problems, fat metabolism

Deficiency Causes123

Caffeine

Toxicity Symptoms13

Rare

Warnings123Must be taken with a choline supplement.

Para-aminobenzoic acid PABA

PABA primarily aids in the utilization of amino acids in protein production and red blood cells1.  It is used as a support vitamin in the gut by probiotic bacteria and by the skin and hair for strength1 Adequate levels in the diet aids in reducing skin cancer1

If you experience bruising or cuts from your practice, as many Russian Sanbo fighters do, PABA supplementation may help reduce healing time. PABA is found in many of the components of the various Dit Da Jow formulations12Below are some important vitamin PABA facts:

Important Facts About PABA

Recommended Daily Allowance1, 3

Undetermined

Optimum Daily Intake1, 3

50 to 500 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

500 to 1,000 mg

Sources13

Liver, yeast, wheat germ, grain bran, eggs, molasses

Deficiency Symptoms13

Depression, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, graying of the hair, irritability

Deficiency Causes123

Sulfa medications, alcohol, digestive issues, poor vitamin absorption

Toxicity Symptoms13

Liver failure, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, skin rash

Warnings123: Take with folic acid and B vitamin complex. May cause digestive upset when taken with fat-soluble vitamins. High doses (8 g or more daily) of PABA can cause blood sugar to drop.

Vitamin C, Ascorbic Acid

Humans cannot synthesize vitamin C on their own. Therefore, we must ingest all of it3. Fortunately, it’s easy to get this nutrient in our food. It’s one of the most potent antioxidants in our systems and is part of nearly all energy and healing functions in our bodies3. In particular, it aids in the formation of collagen, connective tissues, and wound repair3. Without adequate levels of vitamin C, bruises and lacerations heal slowly, and blood clots may develop more often.

Vitamin C may help runners and endurance fighters last longer due to improved lung response, its ability to mitigate bronchospasm in the lungs, and support iron uptake and proper red blood cell formation2 If you train outdoors, mega-doses of Vitamin C may neutralize the venom of black-widow spiders and rattlesnakes2

Bad backs find relief as vitamin C aids the repair and maintenance of connective tissue found in joints1. It may be beneficial to reducing inflammation associated with vigorous exercises, like competitions and seminars.

It’s best to take Vitamin C in multiple does of 250 mg or less throughout the day3.  The body can only absorb that amount over the course of approximately an hour2. The rest is expelled. Below are some important vitamin C facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin C

Recommended Daily Allowance1, 3

90 mg

Optimum Daily Intake13

600 to 1,200 mg in 250 mg doses 4 hours apart

Injury Recovery Dosage23

3,000 mg to 25,000 mg

Sources13

Citrus, fruits, vegetables

Deficiency Symptoms13

curvy, fatigue, weakened immune response, teeth and mouth sores

Deficiency Causes123

Processed foods, smoking, all medications, steroids

Toxicity Symptoms1, 3

Rare, stomach ulcers

Warnings123: Heat and light destroy vitamin C. It is only found in fresh foods. People with hemochromatosis should not take more than 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Pregnant women should not take more than 5,000 mg per day. Taking with aspirin may cause stomach ulcers.

Vitamin D, Calciferol

This secosteroid closely resembles our hormones. We can obtain 100% of this vitamin from the sun, meaning supplementation needs to happen only when a person avoids the sun or uses sunblock3. Supplemental forms of D2 (harmful) and D3 (synthetic, but safe) get added to our food supplies. About 10 minutes of sun exposure to 25% of the skin produces approximately 10 mcg.

The primary function of Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestine3.  It also helps improve immune function.

In Karate and Tang So Do, where board breaking is common, a prolonged vitamin D deficiency may cause bones to break when striking a board. In kickboxing, broken legs occur more frequently in people who work in office buildings and do not supplement D.

You will also need to supplement calcium and magnesium with the vitamin D13. Calcium is required for absorption and magnesium is required for utilization in the intestine1

In the early 1900s, mega-doses of vitamin D were used to fight tuberculosis. Below are some important vitamin D facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin D

Recommended Daily Allowance13

10 to 15 mcg

Optimum Daily Intake1, 3

50 mcg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

x

Sources13

Sunlight, liver, eggs, fatty fish, butter

Deficiency Symptoms13

Rickets

Deficiency Causes123

Processed foods, gluten intolerance, IBS, GERD, medications

Toxicity Symptoms13

Elevated blood calcium levels, nausea, vomiting, and poor appetite

Warnings123The main vitamin D found in dairy is the chemical D2, which has been linked to atherosclerosis and heart attacks.

Vitamin E

This is a class of 8 different vitamins, often called tocopherols and tocotrienol3. To use them, our gut must produce bile acids and the vitamin and bile interact 3. Only then can we absorb this potent antioxidant3. People taking stomach acid or bile reducing medications may lack the necessary bile acids to absorb supplemental vitamin E2.

The primary role of vitamin E protects the body from oxidative damage to fatty acids3 . This includes all of our cells, and in particular, the heart, arteries, and veins. It prevents the oxidation of cholesterol, helping to avoid plaque build-up3. It works closely with vitamin A and vitamin C, both protecting them and being protected by them3. 

It may be useful in reducing scarring from wounds2. Supplementation may decrease leg cramps, especially from strike injuries, like those from leg sweeps in kung fu.

Important Facts About Vitamin E

Recommended Daily Allowance13

15 mg

Optimum Daily Intake13

1,000 mg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

Consult your physician

Sources13

Seeds, bran, nut and seed oil, butter, leafy greens, fatty fish, root vegetables

Deficiency Symptoms13

Fatigue, hemorrhaging, increased bruising, limited flexibility, posture problems

Deficiency Causes123

Processed foods

Toxicity Symptoms13

Increased blood pressure, heart failure

Warnings123Do not take with anticoagulant medications.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for new bone growth and therefore important for the martial artist. Healthy gut bacteria maintain 50% or more of our vitamin K needs3 . If we overeat sugary foods, the candida organism crowds out the other bacteria and decreases our vitamin K production.

Vitamin K aids in the mineralization of new bone formation3. If we lack this vitamin, bones heal slower. All martial artists should eat plenty of leafy greens every day to have enough vitamin K. Having sufficient amounts of this vitamin reduces bruising and broken bones. Below are some important vitamin K facts:

Important Facts About Vitamin K

Recommended Daily Allowance13

120 mcg

Optimum Daily Intake13

100 to 300 mcg

Injury Recovery Dosage23

300 to 500 mcg

Sources13

Dark leafy greens

Deficiency Symptoms13

Slow wound healing, pooling blood, blood clots

Deficiency Causes123

Processed foods, salicylates

Toxicity Symptoms13

Rare in natural sources – Supplemented doses may cause lesions

Warnings 123; Supplementation of vitamin K may cause uncontrolled bleeding. Supplementation of vitamin K may cause hemolytic anemia.

Accessory Vitamins (F, L, P, U)

Vitamin F – Fatty Acids

Comprised of the saturated and unsaturated (omega-3, omega-6, etc.) fats, the essential fatty acids are long-chain lipids that we cannot manufacture ourselves. There are hundreds of various molecules within this category.

They are naturally found in muscle and organ meats, natural fats, and in limited quantities in vegetables and fruits. They are highly susceptible to degradation from heat and oxygen, making them unsuitable for packaged and processed foods.

Before processed foods, the average diet contained enough fats in the right balance to meet all needs. Only in cases of starvation or high grain diets did people become deficient. During the processing of food, and the introduction of hydrolyzed fats, the natural fats were replaced with trans-fat. This increased heart disease exponentially.

Moving back to a more natural diet that contains butter, lard, olive oil, and natural fats of ethically raised meats gives us the necessary fats. More on this topic can be read about in the Fats and Lipids article.

Vitamin L

Known as the Love vitamin, it really isn’t something you can supplement. We get it by favorable contact. Before you write this section off, there is science to back up this essential need.

Although not a chemical, it affects all chemicals. Especially in the brain, Vitamin L changes brain chemistry almost instantly. Serotonin and dopamine levels balance when daily doses of positive touch are established, and disbalance occurs when deprived. People deprived of positive touch develop depression and anxiety more often.13

Affection and touch are vital to development, and studies show that affection can help create positive mental and physical self-image to create healthy and stable adults.14

There is no toxicity, only deficiency of this vitamin. It can be sourced from any person or animal that is happy to see you.

Vitamin P – Bioflavonoids

Bioflavonoids are essential for martial artists since they improve blood flow through capillaries. Many of these bioflavonoids are discussed more in the supplements article. Most are not required in the diet but make life easier and healthier. Most improve the permeability and integrity of the linking of capillaries, hence the letter P1. Many are potent anti-oxidants and catalysts. Several have been researched as cancer cures, with most aiding the removal of cancer or mitigation of side effects.

Most of these are found in vegetables, herbs, and spices. Many of the superfoods and miracle herbs base their designation on the inclusion of the flavonoids. Cooking and preserving destroy most of these nutrients.

One of the best known for pain reduction is bromelain. It reduces inflammation and speed injury healing. It is found primarily in raw pineapple. Quercetin is known to help reduce asthma symptoms.

Vitamin U - S - Methylmethionine

This is a methylated version of the amino acid methionine. It has found great success in treating stomach and digestive problems. Found primarily in cabbage juice, it technically isn’t a vitamin by definition.

Studies have found it reduces injury to mucous membranes, aid nutrient absorption, stimulates stomach acid, feeds positive gut bacteria, and reduces the pain of ulcers and irritation in the stomach almost immediately.

You won’t find this in supplemental form, unfortunately. We recommend using fermented cabbage (kimchi or sauerkraut) to get your dose.

Minerals - Macro, Micro, Trace & Toxic

The body needs many minerals and they are called essential minerals. Essential minerals are typically divided up into major minerals (macrominerals) and trace minerals (microminerals). The two groups of minerals are equally important, but trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals. The amounts needed in the body are not an indication of their importance.

Macro-Minerals

Micro-Minerals

Trace Minerals

Toxic Minerals

(Avoid Completely)

Calcium

Magnesium

Flouride

Aluminum

Phosphorus

Iron

Boron

Arsenic

Sulfur

Zinc

Germanium

Cadium

Sodium

Copper

Lithium

Lead

Chloride

Cobalt

Nickel

Mercury

Cell

Manganese

Rubidium

Antimony

Cell

Iodine

Strontium

Barium

Cell

Selenium

Tin

Beryllium

Cell

Molybdenum

Vanadium

Bismuth

Cell

Chromium

Cell

Bromine

Cell

Silicon

Cell

Thallium

Cell
Cell
Cell

Uranium

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