As critical components of coenzymes, B vitamins aid the conversion of food energy into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), as well as the formation of red blood cells. To fuel performance and training, athletes need to consume more energy by consuming greater amounts of foods and nutrients compared to more sedentary individuals. However scientific research usually concludes that exercise does not increase the requirements for B vitamins, and athletes need to follow the dietary reference intake. Meeting the dietary reference intake for vitamin B12 is challenging for athletes who are vegan as it is not commonly found in plant foods. Thus, consumption of fortified foods and supplementation are recommended. A balanced diet can provide enough of other B vitamins to meet the dietary reference intake as they are found naturally in a variety of food sources.
Nutrient adequacy is not just about diet and what is consumed. It is also impacted by how the body processes nutrients. Research has shown that individuals with certain genetic variations in methylentetrahydrofate reductase (MTHFR) enzyme process folic acid less efficiently than those without this genetic variation, and thus are at a greater risk for Folate inadequacy. For athletes with genetic variations in MTHFR enzyme, consumption of the active 5MTHF (the form Ritual uses in its multivitamins) may be a good strategy to ensure folate adequacy.
Ritual not only considers dietary intake in our product formulation process, but we also take into account nutrigenetics, lifestyle and function. Ritual products are formulated using a Food First approach, meaning our scientists look at the most up-to-date NHANES data, showing which nutrients men and women at each age and life stage are getting from their diets—and then Ritual formulates products to help fill dietary gaps.
Ritual products are also vegan-friendly. An example of how this is integrated into the formulation process is the inclusion of Vitamin B12 (methylated). Those who don’t eat animal products tend to not get enough of B12, and since there is no upper level toxicity limit, the amount we include works for both people who are vegan and those that aren’t.
Nutrigenetics, how genes and nutrients interact at the molecular level, is also considered. For example, Ritual includes active 5MTHF, or methylated folate, to account for the portion of the population that has a genetic variation in the MTHFR enzyme, making it difficult to consume folic acid, the most commonly used form of folate in supplements. Many people don’t even know they have this variation, so the form that Ritual includes can be efficiently utilized by the body for those with and without the variation.
And finally, Ritual’s scientific team looks at the interplay between different nutrients and their impact, for instance the inclusion of Vitamin D3, and Vitamin K2—that help the body better absorb and or utilize Calcium from the diet.*
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Sport Nutrition Care. Retrieved from Nutrition Care Manual
- Owens, D. J., Allison, R., & Close, G. L. (2018). Vitamin D and the Athlete: Current Perspectives and New Challenges. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 48(Suppl 1), 3–16.
- Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the Academy of nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports MEDICINE: Nutrition and athletic performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(3), 501-528