Veganism can be a healthy way to eat if extreme care is taken to maximise nutrient intake. The main pitfall associated with vegan diets is that because the diets are by their nature limiting diets, they may not contain a wide enough range of foods to provide all the required essential nutrients in the correct ratios. For athletes this problem is magnified because athletes require a greater amount of certain nutrients, and some of these are present only in animal products. Creatine and beta-alanine are two substances found in meat that are required for skeletal muscle function. Some evidence suggests that although they can both be synthesised endogenously, the synthesis rates may not be adequate for optimal muscle function. As both substances are only present in animal tissue, vegans athletes may potentially be lacking in creatine and beta-alanine. Supplements of creatine and beta-alanine may therefore be necessary in order to provide optimal skeletal muscle function in vegan athletes.
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