Carotenoids

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There is not enough evidence at present to establish a DRI for beta-carotene and the other carotenoids; however, this does not diminish their importance in the diet. The current recommendation for older adults is to consume more carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene supplements other than as a source of provitamin A to prevent vitamin A deficiency are not advised, however, because their potential to cause harm is great [35]. Research has found that plasma concentrations of lycopene, beta-carotene, and alpha-carotene were low in exercising elderly participants despite a high intake of these carotenoids [33]. Further research should be conducted to elucidate the carotenoid requirements of masters athletes.

Whole foods are the preferred source for the daily consumption of micronu-trients. Although there is little research to suggest altering the DRI requirements for masters athletes, masters athletes should be striving to meet the DRI for all micronutrients through their diet. Research has shown that this is not the case, however. Nieman and coworkers [36] showed that female marathon runners are deficient in vitamin D and zinc. Chatard and colleagues [27] found that healthy Frenchmen between the ages of 57 and 72 who engaged in regular cycling, running, swimming, tennis, and walking did not meet the RDA for magnesium or vitamin D.

The use of supplements is popular, particularly among athletes. Supplement use can be the difference between masters athletes who meet the RDA and those that do not. In a study comparing the dietary intake of 25 female master cyclists and runners who took supplements versus those who did not, it was found that athletes who took supplements consumed significantly more vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium. On further analysis of dietary intake without accounting for the supplements, these same individuals consumed average levels below the RDA for vitamin D, vitamin E, folate, calcium, magnesium, and zinc [37]. For athletes taking supplements, the UL should be adhered to for all vitamins and minerals.

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