Phoenix Mercury athletic trainer Tamara Poole shares what female athletes should know about vitamins and minerals.
Here at the Phoenix Mercury we noticed a few things about our female athletes that I don’t always notice about the male athletes that I work with.
Each year we actually go through and we take their blood. We check their hearts. We check everything just about you can check on an athlete to make sure that we aren’t going to get anything that comes up unexpectedly on the court.
And also it really helps us with their health because let’s say if Tangela was low iron and we knew about that before she steps on the court, we can address that.
And actually women, across the board, don’t even realize they have low iron or low vitamin D or low anything but we actually test for all that stuff before they start playing so that we have, we are not playing catch-up. We are trying to snuff out a problem before it happens.
So with particularly Tangela, we tested everyone’s vitamin D and Tangela had low vitamin D, which I was like shocked so that she has a low vitamin D.
But as we did some further testing and even the NBA did some testing I think 40 percent of the NBA was low vitamin D and 60 percent of my team was low vitamin D.
And as I talk to my doctor about this I think maybe this is something that might be going on in the actual population and something you should check for.
This is not checked by your doctor unless you ask for it and you don’t have to have this checked. This is something that you could add to your diet easily.
But the yucky thing when I researched it is cod liver oil is number one and I don’t think anyone of us want to take cod liver oil. Number two is like salmon and certain fishes.
What we did is we just got some vitamins and the vitamin D3 is the closest to what your body makes from the sun and that’s what we got for the girls. It’s a very tiny little pill and it’s very easy to take.
The other thing is a lot of them not only worry about the vitamin D but the calcium and all, like the B vitamins. The B vitamins actually keep your nerves and stuff healthy.
So we want to, and your acuity and all that kind of stuff, so we want to make sure that we keep those up and we found some vitamins this year.
I have tried every year, it never worked, but it’s called like a Gummy Vite, an adult Gummy Vite, which actually had the right amount for adults because the kids’ ones aren’t really made for us. They are made for kids and they have a lot more calories.
The adults ones are only 15 calories and they taste good. They are easy to take and I feel really happy about it when I see them take it everyday, that they are getting what they need.
The other thing that is my trick way of trying to keep them health is I cut fresh food up everyday.
So I am always looking for very vibrant, green, reds, yellow fruits to serve them everyday.
So if they aren’t eating at home I know that they come in, in the morning and they are eating it here so that they are getting something natural and good in their diet to keep them healthy.
A tip that I can give you about trying to keep your vitamins and minerals and your health up and you don’t want to go to the doctor all the time and give me a blood test for every single vitamin, I would say research, go to your pharmacist, your local pharmacist, go to whoever sells the vitamins and ask them about the vitamins.
I see women’s vitamins all the time and they don’t have enough calcium in them. They don’t have enough iron in them. Just research it.
A lot people don’t want to take a daily supplement and you don’t have to, really you just have to watch your diet.
But if you are interested in taking a supplement you just need to make sure that there’s a few things in there that’s important for women. Number one, vitamin D.
Calcium – if you are just taking calcium there has to be vitamin D in it. Also is iron, you really need iron.
It’s a common thing for a woman to have iron fluctuations and it’s because we have menstrual cycles. Our iron goes up and down.
So we want to make sure that we watch that and symptoms of that is feeling really tired, really fatigued. You do a day of work, you come home and you want to go to sleep and you don’t know why. It may just be your iron. It may just be your vitamin D.
So I would just say if you are worried about those things look for nice multivitamins. See if you notice a difference. If you don’t notice a difference, see a doctor.
A veteran of athletic training and sports medicine in women’s professional sports, Tamara Poole is the Phoenix Mercury’s Head Athletic Trainer. Just the second head trainer in Mercury history, Poole acts as a medical liaison with the team’s medical and organizational staff, focusing on injury prevention and management.