Why do top athletes get older quickly

Mr König, spring lures many people from the sofa into nature to do sports. Do amateur athletes now have to eat more, eat differently, eat better?

The German Nutrition Society says that everyone should have a sufficient supply of vitamins, minerals or amino acids. This should and can usually happen with the diet. The DGE also explains that there are exceptions: young people, the chronically ill, the elderly, pregnant women, competitive athletes. There are only a few left who do not need anything extra. These are the young, healthy people who do not exercise excessively. Everyone else, including amateur athletes, should consume certain substances. Anything that goes beyond normal exposure may create a deficiency.

What is a normal burden for you?

An average of two hours of exercise per week is acceptable. Anything beyond that, they lose minerals. Then you need more specific amino acids, complex protein structures and even so-called antioxidants, which include certain vitamins.

Can't cover that with a plate full of vegetables, sea fish and some fruit?

That can certainly not be covered with nutrition. There are two problems that affect the average Central European: vitamin D and iodine. Vitamin D is only produced by the body through exposure to sunlight, of which there is simply too little in winter. It is still contained in certain fish oils, but in the end it is synthesized through the skin and therefore we lack hours of sunshine.

But athletes in particular are often out in the fresh air in winter.

But it is of no use if the athletes cover their bodies. For sufficient vitamin D production, the body needs whole-body irradiation for around 20 minutes a day. With the lower intensity of UV radiation in winter, it is more like 40 minutes. So in winter it is of no use to be outside a lot.

What's the problem with iodine?

The second major flaw. You can also tell from the food: iodized bread, iodized dishes, iodized salt and so on. Iodine should be taken in moderate amounts. The working group iodine deficiency even recommends 200 micrograms, i.e. about 0.2 milligrams per day.

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And I can't just do that with a slice of bread with butter and iodized salt?

There you are then with amounts of salt that you better not consume.

But these things affect everyone. Hobby athletes in particular?

No. What the athlete needs a lot more is iron. And various B vitamins and folic acids. Basically, a person who puts a strain on his body in sport needs more so-called antioxidants. Behind it, for example, vitamin C and vitamin E are the best known. In my opinion, it is important when you add these substances that they are based on natural ingredients and not synthetically produced.

So the good old vitamin pill.

One way of doing this is of course with lots of fruits and vegetables. If that is too time-consuming for you, you should choose a complex preparation from natural resources and those that are within the range of the normal daily dose.

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What are the antioxidants used for?

The body has a higher level of oxidative stress, these are oxygen processes in the body that put a strain on the cells. When you cut an avocado, take vitamin C from the lemon to prevent it from turning brown; the same applies to the apple. This is a phenomenon that roughly applies to the human body as well.

All you have to do is look at professional athletes to see that they all look a little older than they are. Take the cross-country skiers - they look older and that also applies to professional footballers. If you look at a 25-year-old player, he doesn't look like your average baby boy, but rather aged prematurely.

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