A long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth – actually it wasn’t that long ago, it was 1976 – I competed in a 7 day International cycling Tour. We had a really good team and eventually ended up with Steve Pyle as the General Classification winner.
Following day number 6 of this stage race I was pretty tired, as we had been racing long distances for 6 consecutive days. Our team director, Stan Swain, approached me that night and told me to drop my pants so he could give me a vitamin B12 shot.
Now I hate shots but I figured it was worth a shot, no pun intended.
The next day for our 80 mile finishing stage I felt like Superman, completely recovered and as if I had not raced for days. I got in a breakaway for 50 of the 80 miles and served to protect our race’s overall leader by making sure the break did not succeed.
It was that day that I learned the true recuperative power of B vitamins, especially B12.
Now, before you run out and buy large quantities of vitamin B12 a word of caution is in order. Taking too much vitamin B12 can cause strange reactions. Following my success with B12 I thought more must be better and found myself covered in hives as a reaction, so it is better to take the correct quantities.
Balancing your vitamin intake with a balanced diet can help you have greater stores of energy and vitality, especially if you are involved in regular physical training. B vitamins, C and E were all part of my daily ritual when I was a competitive athlete to supplement my dietary intake.
Just about all world-class athletes supplement their diet with vitamins to ward off sickness and replace vitamins and minerals lost during exercise. Of course all vitamins are not created equally because so many manufacturers are more concerned with making money than providing high quality products.
The old adage that “you get what you pay for” rings true for purchasing vitamins, so if you are going to buy dietary supplements it pays to do your homework. Most health food stores carry a few high quality lines and will normally have someone on staff that is quite familiar with the best products.
One great resource is Vitamins Research. This site contains many clinical studies performed on many brands of multi-vitamins and other vitamins.
While not a vitamin, recently we started taking FRS Healthy Energy, a product containing quercetin, and I can honestly say that I have felt a good boost in sustainable energy from that product, if taken as directed. We in fact liked it so well that we started carrying free trials of the product at our online store Heart Rate Watch Company.
My wife actually stumbled upon it last winter for cross-country skiing and she liked it so well she convinced me to give it a try and I’ve got to admit it works.
While there is likely to be no “silver bullet” for most athletes, I can confidently say from experience that vitamin B12 can provide some wonderful recuperative effects for endurance athletes that can accelerate recovery.
If you’d like to learn more than you might ever want to know about Vitamin B12 I found a great article on Wikipedia that contains a lot of scientific facts regarding this vitamin.
Here is to your increased knowledge, improving performance and the ability to recover better.