Sports Supplements and Common Deficiencies

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Photography by Comfort

Written by Adrianna McDonald

If you eat a balanced, whole-food diet (be honest with yourself), you’re most likely getting the right amounts of the vitamins and minerals for adequate functioning.

If not (which applies to most), there’s a big chance your body is lacking in important nutrients. Although you may think you eat well, other factors like age and health conditions can impact your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in your food.

Due to our environment and current farming methods our food is not as nutrient-dense as it was 20-30 years ago.

Nowadays soil quality, storage time, and the way food is being processed or handled has major impact on the quality of nutrients in your food.

Unless you’ve had a blood test done it’s hard to know what your deficiencies may be. Sometimes, even if you are seriously deficient for some time, you may not notice it. Unless you know what to look for. The most common deficiencies that I’ve come across are:

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Omega-3

** For more information regarding blood tests please contact Adrianna at Pinnacle Performance for a direct referral to a functional medicine doctor.

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Vitamin D

The requirements for vitamin D are dependent on the individual, their skin colour, place of residence, and exposure to sun. The best way to reach optimal levels is through safe sun exposure or the only other way is through supplementation in the form of vitamin D3. The dosage can be between 2000IUs to 10000IUs or more a day, depending on the level of deficiency and lifestyle.

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In my opinion this is the most important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of biological functions. It is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, some including: protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation and helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

However, only 1 percent of magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood.

There are different types of magnesium you can buy:

Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency

**Highly recommend

Magnesium chloride / magnesium lactate contain only 12 percent magnesium, but has better absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium

Magnesium carbonate, which has antacid properties, contains 45 percent magnesium

Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties but is one of the higher quality magnesium supplements

Magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60 percent magnesium and has stool softening properties

**Never recommend unless medically advised

Magnesium sulfate / magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) are typically used as a laxative. Be aware that it’s easy to overdose on these, so ONLY take as directed

Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind

**Highly recommend

Magnesium threonate is a newer, emerging type of magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane




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Problem is that majority of diets are high in inflammatory omega-6 fats (think vegetables oils) and too few anti-inflammatory omega-3s. This is believed to be the cause of cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes… (and many more).

The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is 1:1. Its common to see a 17:1 ratio of omega 6:3 which is causing more and more issues.

The human brain is one of  hungriest for DHA. DHA is one main type of omega-3 fatty acid, and EPA is another. About 85%  of people in the Western world are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. The recommended daily intake of EPA plus DHA is about 650 mg rising to 1000 mg/day depending on the individual.

Omega-3 fats are found in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, marine plankton and fatty fish although grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3s than fish.

In my opinion,  it’s good to know your blood work. We all are very busy and often our diets are compromised. That in fact is also a “problem” for a competitor. When preparing for a competition, the diet is very simple and in order to get our BF (body fat) down to a significant level we deprive our self from certain foods (i.e. dairy, fruits). And with the demands of training we ought to take supplements.

As a coach there are few protocols I follow but without the blood work or lab test I too would be guessing. 

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