Special health needs of current and former athletes

Professional Athlete Injuries: Health Needs of Current and Former Athletes

by / 0 Comments / October 15, 2013

Professional Athlete Injuries

We often assume that athletes are an especially healthy breed of individuals, and neglect that in reality they need a higher level of health and nutritional care.

Intuitively (and as impulse dictates), athletes must eat more to keep up with the amount of calories they burn.  Studies show that athletes who do not eat enough of the right types of food may suffer a depressed immune function, placing them at higher risk for infections and other long term ailments.

One study in particular points out that football linemen are at a higher risk for heart disease than athletes in other sports, due to demands on their size.  The concern about heart related issues increases as these athletes retire from football and discontinue their exercise routines yet continue to eat like linemen.

A more serious health concern is brought up by Dr. Joel Wallach, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine whose findings have been published in more than 70 peer reviewed journals.  Dr. Wallach points out the extremely high number of athletes who die at an early age in comparison to their less or non-active counterparts.

On his website, he states:

“According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, 100,000 youngsters, as well as pros die each year from cardio-vascular disorders as a result of sports -THIS IS TWICE THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT DIE ON THE NATIONS HIGHWAYS! 45,000 of the 100,000 play basketball, not boxing or football.

Dr. Wallach attributes this disparity to athletes sweating out essential minerals on a regular basis.  This, of course, is not limited to athletes, but anyone who works in the heat, or regularly performs any other sweat inducing activity.  There are 60 minerals deemed essential due to their life sustaining properties.  Mineral deficiency can result in chronic ailments, degenerative disease, and death.  And while sipping Gatorade may replenish 5 or 6 of these minerals, it certainly won’t replace them at the rate needed to restore the body’s nutritional needs.

Additionally, vitamin and mineral supplements may not supply the necessary amounts, or they may not be absorbed properly in the body to do what they claim to do.  The best way for athletes and other active individuals to care for their bodies and maximize their physical potential is to eat a well balanced diet and supplement with high quality vitamins and minerals.

The vitamins and minerals needed to sustain an active lifestyle at optimal health include:  vitamins A, D, E and K, and water soluble vitamins B complex, C, and folate (folic acid), minerals of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc, and fluorine. Additionally, essential trace elements include copper, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and iodine.

For a better understanding of what these nutrients do for the body, visit the Natural News Guide to Essential Vitamins and Minerals.

Further nutrients needed in smaller amounts (ideally food derived) to support the body’s absorption and ability to perform include:  boron, cobalt, magnesium, nickel, silicon, sodium chloride, sulphur and zinc.

The best foods to obtain these nutrients include:

Vitamin A (beta carotene):  Cod Liver Oil, Eggs from pastured chickens, Kidney and Liver from pastured grass-fed animals, Carrots, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Dark Leafy Greens
Vitamin D:  Cod Liver Oil, Milk, Eggs from pastured chickens, Liver from pastured grass-fed animals, and Oily Fish

Vitamin E:  Wheat Germ Oil, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Paprika and Red Chili Powder, Pine Nuts, Dried Basil and Oregano, Dried Apricots, Pickled Green Olives, Cooked Spinach, Cooked Taro Root

Vitamin K:  Spinach, Broccoli, Raw Cabbage, Asparagus, Celery, Eggs from pastured chickens, Meat from pastured grass-fed animals, Bone Broth

Vitamin C:  Citrus fruits, Kiwi, Guava, Mango, Broccoli

Vitamin B Complex – inlcuding B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyridoxine) and B12 (Cyanocobalamin):  Meat and Liver from pastured grass-fed animals, Milk from pastured grass-fed animals, Beans, Wheat Germ, Green and Leafy Vegetables, Bone Broth

Folic Acid:  Spinach, Brussels Sprouts, Green Beans, Cauliflower, Dark Leafy Greens, Papaya, Grapefruit, Oranges, Strawberries, Raspberries, Pinto & Black Beans, Peas, Lentils, Avocado, Okra, Beets

Calcium:  Milk from pastured grass-fed animals, Bone Broth

Iron:  Egg Yolks, Meat and Liver from pastured grass-fed animals, Fish, Dark Leafy Greens, Prunes, Raisins

Zinc:  Venison, Lamb, Milk & Eggs from pastured grass-fed animals, Dark Leafy Greens, Sesame Seeds, Bone Broth

Iodine:  Milk, Sea Fish, Iodized Salt, Bone Broth

Chromium:  Milk & Eggs from pastured animals, Whole Grains, Nuts, Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Tomatoes, Broccoli

Phosphorous:  Undistilled Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Corn, Broccoli, Pastured Chicken & Turkey, Bone Broth

Magnesium:  Dark Leafy Greens, Nuts & Seeds, Halibut, Avocados, Bananas, Bone Broth

The above list is by no means comprehensive, but you may have noticed bone broth, grass-fed pastured animal products and Dark Leafy Greens reappearing numerous times.  This is why we recommend starting your day with a green smoothie, regularly cooking with high quality grass-fed pastured animal meats and preparing a nutrient dense bone broth on a weekly basis.  Incorporating these foods in your diet and supplementing with high quality supplements will ensure a solid basis of optimal health to support an active lifestyle now and years to come.


Medical News:  Athletes May Face Future Health Problems Despite Their Rigorous Exercise Routines, Says Study. October 26, 2009

Nestec Nutrition Institute Workshop Series:  Nutritional Support to Maintain Proper Immune Status During Training.  April 16, 2013

National Health Service, UK.  Vitamins and Minerals.  Accessed Online June 23, 2013.

Ogan, Dana; Pritchett, Kelly. 2013. “Vitamin D and the Athlete: Risks, Recommendations, and Benefits.Nutrients 5, no. 6: 1856-1868.

Shaban, Dr. Tamer, May 7, 2008.  Your Guide to Essential Vitamins and Minerals.  NaturalNews.com, accessed online June 23, 2013.

Wallach, Joel.  WallachOnline.com:  Why do couch potatoes live longer than athletes?  Accessed June 23, 2013.

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