A recent review by manore et al (2011) found that adequate folate intake is important for athletes and active individuals due to its important role in red blood cell (RBC) production, tissue repair and maintenance. Folate plays a significant part in cell division, especially in tissues with rapid turnover such as RBCs, which is extrmemly important for athletes as they have faster tissue and RBC turnover than non athletes. Folate acid is a water soluble B vitamin, which means it is not stored in the body, therefore adequate amounts need to be consumed daily.

For most male athletes, achieving adequate intake doesn’t seem to be a problem, but females are often at risk of under-consuming this nutrient. Female athletes frequently consume too little food, while they have a greater need for red blood cell production to cover losses from menstruation. Deficiency in folate leads to anaemia, whereby RBCs cannot effectively transport oxygen.

So for an athlete, particularly females and those involved in endurance exercise, supplementation may really be a wise choice…

Manore, M.,  Meeusen, R.,  Roelands, B., Moran, S., Popple, D, A., Naylor, J, M., Burke, M, L., Stear, S. J., Castell, L, M. (2011) ‘BJSM reviews: A–Z of nutritional supplements: dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods and ergogenic aids for health and performance—Part16’ Br J Sports Med 2011;45:73 74 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2010.081505.

About Matt Lovell

A sports nutritionist and brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports. Matt also runs his own elite performance based company called Perform and Function.

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