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BY STAFF WRITER

I’ve often referred to Premium Insurance Caps, Hammer Nutrition’s multivitamin/mineral supplement, as “the most boringly beneficial product we make.” The reason for that unique distinction is because it’s not the most glamorous supplement you can take; there’s nothing ultra-cool in the product as there is in, say, Fully Charged or Anti-Fatigue Caps, to name a couple of examples.

But while Fully Charged, Anti-Fatigue Caps, and other supplements in the Hammer Nutrition line may arguably have a bit more direct impact on improving athletic performance, to be quite honest, if you’re not covering your basic nutrient needs (vitamins and minerals), those other products won’t ever realize their full value, and you will never get maximum benefits from the time and energy you spend in your workouts.

In my nearly 22 years at Hammer Nutrition, I’ve found that most people have three main excuses as to why they don’t take a multivitamin/mineral supplement:

  1. They feel that because they already eat a “healthy diet,” a multivitamin/mineral supplement is unnecessary.
  2. They believe that taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement won’t do anything to boost athletic performance.
  3. They’re convinced that taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement is a waste of time because of the constant message trumpeted from many so-called “experts,” who say that doing so just causes “expensive urine.”

The first reason is absolutely incorrect; it is virtually impossible to obtain all of the nutrients your body requires from your daily diet. Three main reasons why this is true:

  1. Studies show that food alone may not supply all of the micronutrients we need to prevent deficiency, let alone to achieve optimal health.
  2. Much of our diet comes from foods grown far away, picked when unripe, and then shipped. Nutritional content is questionable and usually depleted.
  3. Even if we could obtain all the nutrients we need from our diet, it's unlikely that any of us eats an ideal diet with much consistency.

The first point is of primary importance. Forget about providing enough nutrients to promote optimal health—many people do not eat enough quality food to meet the minimal Reference Daily Intake (RDI) micronutrient requirements for preventing deficiency-related disorders.

The research of distinguished nutritional scientist Bruce Ames, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, also presents a hypothesis that implies micronutrient deficiency may eventually deteriorate the quality of whole human cell health. A portion of Professor Ames' abstract reads as follows:

“Inadequate dietary intakes of vitamins and minerals are widespread, most likely due to excessive consumption of energy-rich, micronutrient-poor, refined food. Inadequate intakes may result in chronic metabolic disruption, including mitochondrial decay. Deficiencies in many micronutrients cause DNA damage, such as chromosome breaks, in cultured human cells or in vivo. Some of these deficiencies also cause mitochondrial decay with oxidant leakage and cellular aging and are associated with late onset diseases such as cancer.”

So, when you hear someone tell you that you can get all the nutrients you need from a healthy diet, keep in mind the sobering words of Drs. Misner and Ames.

As far as the second excuse for not taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement—“they’re boring and won’t don’t make me faster” (or something like that)—think about it a bit more: If you’re not covering your nutrient needs—and it’s pretty clear that basically no one is, especially athletes—you increase the potential for a number of negative athletic performance and health issues to occur. At the very least, this means you won't get the full value from all of the hard work you put into your training because your body doesn’t have the nutrient support it needs to fully recover. It could also very well result in a compromised immune system, which is definitely something to avoid because that could translate into missed training days due to illness.

The third excuse is just flat-out wrong. When you take a multivitamin/mineral supplement, your urine will turn a bright yellow. This is NOT your body “peeing out all the vitamins.” That bright yellow colour is due to the riboflavin (vitamin B2) component in a multivitamin/mineral supplement. Among its many functions, riboflavin helps co-enzymes break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins. As the flavins in riboflavin are utilized in the body to metabolize carbs, fats and protein they pass along flavin rings which have a neon yellow colour, which simply means that the flavins in riboflavin are doing their job in metabolizing carbohydrates, protein, and fat.