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10 Vitamins and Minerals for Cyclists: Which do you need?

Cyclists must take care of their bodies to perform well. Some of the most important vitamins and minerals for cyclists are listed below.

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Cyclists might benefit from consuming several vitamins and minerals to stay healthy while riding. But do bikers, on the other hand, require more vitamins than non-cyclists? Which vitamins are most important for cyclists? And what are some of the best cycling vitamins?

This article will teach you which vitamins and minerals are the most critical for cyclists, the signs of a nutrient deficiency—and how to know for sure so you can get the most out of your multivitamins and perform your best.

Close up tablespoon filled with various dietary supplements tablets and vitamins on a gray fabric background. Source: adobe stock
Close up tablespoon filled with various dietary supplements tablets and vitamins on a gray fabric background. Source: Adobe Stock

Cyclists require the same vitamins and minerals as other athletes. However, cyclists require more nutrients due to the increased intensity and length of activity. Omega-3 elecrolites, Iron, and Vitamin D are some of the critical vitamins a cyclist should take.

Editor’s note: I am not a doctor. Please speak to your doctor for professional medical advice.

What are vitamins and minerals?

Vitamins and minerals are chemical molecules our systems utilize in minute amounts for various metabolic functions. They keep us healthy and assist our body’s functions. Vitamins and minerals are best obtained by eating various healthy, unprocessed foods.

Why are vitamins and minerals important?

Vitamins are necessary for the body’s basic processes, such as energy maintenance, cell health promotion, and nutrition absorption from the diet. Vitamins also aid muscle function by delivering macronutrients (i.e., micronutrients) required for tissue formation.

Minerals are important because they help keep the body’s pH balanced, help retain sodium, improve brain communication, help the body absorb nutrients, and protect cells from toxicity.

Do cyclists need supplements?

Cycling is a physically demanding sport that, if not done correctly, can result in catastrophic injury. However, cyclists can help prevent injuries and improve their performance by taking vitamin and mineral supplements.

Eating various healthful meals is the easiest method to ensure you get your micronutrients. Fruits and vegetables include many of the vitamins and minerals listed below. Some people, however, may not obtain enough vitamins and minerals from their diet. In that instance, their doctors may advise them to take a nutritional supplement to complement their lack of nutrients.

Carbohydrates and electrolytes, for example, are frequently depleted during aerobic exercise. Because of this, you will probably need to add more carbs and electrolytes to your diet to keep your electrolyte balance and glycogen storage in check.

Looking for some high-rated vitamins for cyclists? Look no further. Below are some of the best vitamins and minerals on the market for cyclists.

Ten Best vitamins and minerals for cyclists

Some of the most important vitamins and minerals for cyclists are listed below.

1. Omega 3

Omega-3 fish oil has significantly reduced inflammation and pain in sports-related injuries. Furthermore, muscle tissues break down, and your body is put under a lot of stress during sports and endurance training. Omega-3 helps to avoid stress-related injury.

2. Electrolytes

As a cyclist, you’re concerned about replacing electrolytes lost through sweat. There are numerous electrolyte replacement products on the market, including different minerals. A healthy diet will provide you with more than enough of all the minerals you require. And you probably won’t need salt unless you’ve been sweating profusely for several hours.

3. Iron

Iron is essential for creating red blood cells, which transfer oxygen to your muscles via the bloodstream and are essential minerals and vitamins for cyclists. Your iron requirements will increase as the intensity of your workout increases.

If you have iron-deficiency anemia, you will constantly feel weary, and your riding performance will suffer. Iron deficiency is common because iron is lost through sweat, red blood cell breakdown, and menstruation. In addition, meat, poultry, and shellfish are foods high in iron.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps with bone development, mass muscle maintenance, and metabolism acceleration. Increasing vitamin D levels in your blood to 75 to 100 nmol/L, according to a study, will help you enhance your aerobic capacity, muscle growth, muscle force, and power, as well as minimize recovery time after strenuous exercises and improve bone density.

5. Calcium

It is critical to ensure you have enough calcium because it is vital to supporting bone formation and maintenance. However, it is unknown whether endurance athletes should ingest more calcium. If you decide to do so, Distribute your calcium consumption equally throughout the day to ensure adequate absorption. For optimal absorption, aim for a maximum of 500 mg per meal.

Additionally, the number of vegetarian athletes is growing, and those athletes need to make sure they know everything there is to know about calcium sources that don’t come from dairy to meet their needs.

6. Creatine

Creatine is usually linked with weightlifters, even though it is also found in red meat and salmon. However, taking creatine before a sprint race may give muscles extra energy to work with.

Creatine is found naturally in our muscles as part of the chemical creatine phosphate. The molecule enables humans to quickly replace a substance known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the body’s energy currency. When adenosine diphosphate receives an additional phosphate molecule, it transforms into ATP, which is subsequently used for muscular power contraction. But, even though it can make energy quickly, the creatine phosphate system can’t keep up with exercise for long.

That’s where creatine pills come in: they enhance the quantity of creatine phosphate stored in the muscle, allowing athletes to create ATP at maximal effort for a slightly longer period. This is especially useful for sprint cyclists, who seek continuous power over only a few hundred meters. According to one study, adding creatine to a glucose/taurine/electrolyte supplement improved sprint performance.

7. Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is not a normal amino acid found in popular supplements. Most amino acids are used to make proteins, but beta-alanine is changed into carnosine by combining it with histidine and storing it in skeletal muscle.

Beta-Alanine is all about making power endure longer. One study discovered that supplementing with Beta-Alanine greatly increased sprint performance near the end of an endurance exercise. So when the finish line is in sight, Beta-Alanine can help you get there in those final sprinting moments and possibly feel less weary afterward.

8. Magnesium

Magnesium is necessary for bone health, energy production, and a normal heart rhythm. In addition, it participates in about 300 metabolic processes in the body. Magnesium can also help prevent and treat muscle cramps. In addition, several studies have found that taking magnesium supplements helps endurance athletes recover faster and perform better.

The wear and tear on our bodies caused by cycling necessitate an increase in calorie consumption, but the emphasis here is on micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

When you exercise vigorously, you excrete enough magnesium through urine and sweat to increase your magnesium requirements by up to 20%. That implies that if you don’t get the recommended daily magnesium intake of 320mg for women and 420mg for men, you could become deficient soon. According to research, optimal magnesium levels are crucial for maintaining muscle and bone mass and delaying bone loss as we age.

9. E Vitamin

Vitamin E appears to help with respiratory capacity at higher altitudes. Nowadays, most multivitamins contain vitamin E, which is beneficial.

10. Exogenous Ketones

In addition to the supplements mentioned above, which have received extensive research, exogenous ketones may be the next frontier for cyclists wishing to supplement to improve performance. There are three types of exogenous ketones, and each has some studies to support (or refute) its efficacy in improving endurance performance. Examples include ketone salts, acetoacetate (AcAc) diesters, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) monoesters.

Image of a man riding a bicycle in the forest source tim foster unsplash
Image of a man riding a bicycle in the forest. Source: Tim Foster, Unsplash

Signs of a nutrient deficiency—and how to know for sure

You may lack sufficient nutrition if you have dry skin, brittle nails, cold sores, and low energy. Additionally, getting a basic metabolic panel (BMP) once a year is a good way to find out what nutrients you’re missing.

An annual BMP is sufficient, but if you want to train at high altitudes or have a race, scheduling bloodwork every six months can help you and your primary care physician and dietician figure out the supplements you need, giving your body time to absorb them.

Is it okay to take both a supplement and a multivitamin?

If you take a multivitamin, you usually don’t need to take separate vitamin C or vitamin E supplements. Additionally, you may have heard that everything you don’t need from your multivitamin will be excreted in your pee. This is true for water-soluble nutrients, but fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K can be stored in your body. So, taking both a supplement and a multivitamin may result in toxicity.

However, nutrient canceling each other out is more likely. Calcium and manganese, for example, can compete for absorption with iron.

Consult your primary care physician and a dietician before adding supplements to your diet. Also, don’t forget to include a multivitamin in the “current drugs” section of your pre-visit questionnaire.

Can you take too many vitamins and minerals?

It is possible to consume too many of these or other nutrients, which could be harmful. For example, water-soluble vitamins include vitamins B and C. If you take too many of them, your body will flush them out, but fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K can be stored in your body. Vitamins and minerals can also be dangerous when eaten in unreasonably large quantities.

There is a slight risk of toxicity from exceeding your tolerable upper intake level (UL)—the highest quantity of daily vitamins and minerals that you may safely consume without risking overdose or major side effects—but nutrients canceling each other out is more likely.

If you want even more tips, watch the video “8 Performance Enhancing Supplements, Foods & Nutrients For Cyclists” from the Global Cycling Network YouTube Channel.

A video called “8 Performance Enhancing Supplements, Foods & Nutrients For Cyclists” from the Global Cycling Network YouTube Channel.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about vitamins and minerals for cyclists.

Should cyclists take magnesium?

Yes. Magnesium is a powerhouse for cyclists. Magnesium is a part of more than 300 enzymes that help the body use energy and builds bones.

How much magnesium should a cyclist take?

When you ride hard, you pee and sweat off enough magnesium to raise your needs by up to 20%. That means that if you don’t obtain the daily recommended 320mg (for women) or 420mg (for men), you could be deficient.

Should cyclists take iron supplements?

Iron supplementation and a high-iron diet may be required to restore iron stores to normal levels. To improve absorption, athletes are often given 100 to 300 mg of iron coupled with vitamin C. Iron supplementation should always be done under the supervision of a doctor.

Does creatine help cyclists?

According to several studies, creatine supplementation helps increase muscle growth and strength through resistance training. Therefore, strength training with 3-5 sets of 5–10 reps is especially important.

Conclusion

It’s critical to receive all the necessary nutrients to keep your body fit and healthy. Having the proper supplements and vitamins in your life will allow you to ride easily and without fatigue.

This article covered which vitamins and minerals are critical for cyclists, why vitamins and minerals are important, and signs of a nutrient deficiency—and how to know for sure. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • Vitamins and minerals are chemical molecules our bodies use in minute amounts for various metabolic functions. As a result, they keep us healthy and assist our body’s functions.
  • Choosing nutrient-dense foods can help you perform better, feel stronger, and sustain long-term health.
  • Cycling is a physically demanding sport that, if not done correctly, can result in catastrophic injury.
  • Omega-3 Elecrolites, Iron, and Vitamin D are some of the critical vitamins a cyclist should take.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements are excellent for improving endurance athletes’ nutrition.
  • Cyclists can help prevent injuries and improve their performance by taking vitamin and mineral supplements.
  • Dry skin, brittle nails, cold sores, and low energy are all symptoms of nutritional inadequacy.

So, do you take any supplements? Did we cover everything you wanted to know? Let us know in the comments section below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on fixed gear and single-speed cycling. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

Helpful resources

Image of vitamins with orange background. Pinterest
Image of vitamins with an orange background. Pinterest
Author avatar - Bradley Knight
Written By Bradley Knight
As a native New Yorker, Bradley is no stranger to the fixed gear scene. He’s been riding fixed for years. When he’s not on the bike, you can find him practicing his many hobbies, including playing guitar, video production, and photography.

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