Although we agree with a food-first philosophy when it comes to fueling young athletes, we also realize it is can be challenging for young athletes to put in place a perfect fueling plan.
Time constraints, lack of access to fresh, whole foods, not enough culinary skills and nutritional knowledge, and underestimating the additional demands of sport, recovery, and growth are all factors that lead many young athletes to fall short of recommended nutrient levels.
With proper education and the necessary safeguards in place, such as NSF for Sport certification, supplementation is a complementary and convenient source of nutrients.
Much research has shown that youth diets often fall short of the recommended intakes of calories and nutrients, plus teenagers often have inadequate knowledge of nutrition to make the right choices to build the perfect “food first” fueling plan.
Intakes of fruits and vegetables (rich in vitamins and minerals) and fish (high in omega-3 fatty acids) are often missing in their recommended amounts in youth diets.
The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that adults should consider a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement; and depending on the quality and quantity of a teenager’s diet, supplementation in this population is warranted as well.
A good multi-vitamin/mineral nutritional supplement could be considered "dietary insurance" to be certain all essential nutrients are consumed on a daily basis. Even greater health benefits can be realized when a balanced nutrition routine is followed in addition to taking a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.*
Although the hydration needs of young athletes are no different than adult athletes, the very legitimate concern about high-sugar beverages and their impact on teeth and oral health also makes proper hydration choices an important part of a young athlete’s diet.
Thorne has identified four supplements that can augment the dietary needs of young athletes and address potential gaps in their food intake.
The Youth Bundle:
A comprehensive multi-vitamin/mineral complex. Its key nutritional features include 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 and 400 mcg of vitamin K (in K1 and K2 forms) per serving, in addition to having mixed tocopherols, bioactive B-vitamins, and amino acid-chelated minerals – all in a two-capsule-per-day delivery system. Basic Nutrients 2/Day makes it easy for a teenager to obtain foundational nutritional support.
A low-sugar, low-calorie hydration supplement formulated with the typical ratio of sodium to the other constituents found in sweat. Catalyte also includes a blend of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc that replaces the primary electrolytes and other minerals lost in sweat, while also helping to repair and rebuild muscle.*
Hydration and electrolyte balance are essential for all levels of exercise and athletic performance. In addition to minerals, Catalyte combines electrolytes with B vitamins, vitamin C, and D-ribose for broad-spectrum nutrient repletion and cell hydration.* Catalyte is lemon-lime flavored and designed to allow you to individualize your hydration beverage and avoid unnecessary sugars.
An EPA/DHA containing fish oil supplement that helps maintain healthy heart, brain, and neurological function, while supporting the normal inflammatory response in muscles and joints.* Super EPA contains 425 mg of EPA and 270 mg of DHA per softgel.
A superior blend of freeze-dried Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and two strains of Bifidobacterium lactis. These four strains have been shown to provide support to individuals who have high demands on their digestive tract or their immune system due to travel, athletic training and competition, and/or chronic stress.*
This formula takes advantage of research that has identified specific strains of good bacteria that help ward off traveler’s diarrhea, as well as other strains that support the respiratory tract.* Each capsule contains 20 billion active cultures.
Because an athlete needs to know that his or her supplements are trustworthy and compliant, every batch of an NSF Certified for Sport® product is tested for compliance with label claims and to ensure the absence of more than 200 substances banned by many major athletic organizations, including stimulants, narcotics, steroids, diuretics, beta-2 agents, and masking agents.
Fletcher H, Fairfield K. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: clinical applications. JAMA 2002;287 (23):3127-3129.