The right vitamins are essential for everyday health, but they are especially important for healthy muscle growth. If you want to maximize the muscle-building benefits of your workouts, consider supplementing with one or more of the following vitamins and minerals:
|Vitamin D||Reduces inflammation, strengthens bones, fights depression|
|Vitamin C||Helps repair tissue which may lead to faster recovery time|
|Vitamin B12||Improves energy levels, keeps you alert|
|Vitamin A||Can help protein synthesis, strengthen bones|
|Vitamin E||Reduces inflammation, can help repair muscle cells|
Vitamin D is undoubtedly one of the most important micronutrients to have. Your body produces it when it is exposed to sunlight but can also be found in foods like eggs, salmon, fortified milk, and meat.
This micronutrient is important for the following functions:
- Strengthens bones and teeth by improving the body’s absorption of calcium
- Lowers the risk of cancers
- Reducing inflammation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Fights depression
- Supports regular immune function
Vitamin D is effective in keeping your mood positive and has a big impact on your overall attitude, especially during the winter months. A good mood, uninflamed joints, and a healthy body are all important in having a successful workout. Because of Vitamin D’s importance, tablets are strongly suggested if you spend most of your day inside.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can protect cells from the oxidative stress that they are subject to during the day. If there is not enough vitamin C, cell death can occur, which can lead to wrinkles and premature aging.
The day-to-day stresses on the body also cause the production of certain chemical compounds called “free radicals.” These compounds can cause damage to DNA and might even kill cells. Most importantly for bodybuilding, vitamin C can help repair tissue which can lead to faster recovery times after injury or exercise.
Significant sources of vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit
- Red peppers
- Kiwi fruit
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that is especially important for those who do not eat red meat or animal products. It can be found in fish, eggs, and dairy. This vitamin has many benefits which include:
- Improving the immune system
- Increasing energy levels by producing red blood cells
- Lowering homocysteine levels (homocysteine is a byproduct of the body and contributes to heart disease and Alzheimer’s)
- Lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Helping in the production of DNA
- Preventing nerve damage
Vitamin B12 is extremely important for bodybuilders in preparing for competitions. If you are deficient, your body will not be able to produce energy at an optimal rate. This will cause lethargy, lack of alertness, and a lack of strength. At this point, it is an emergency and you need to take a vitamin B12 supplement immediately.
Long-term deficiency will cause toxic damage to the spinal cord muscles, muscles in your limbs, and brain cells as well as other health issues such as memory loss and nerve degeneration.
Vitamin A is found in foods such as carrots, eggs, beef liver, whole milk, and cheese. This micronutrient is important for the following functions:
- Preventing dry eyes
- Preventing night blindness
- Boosting immunity to fight off respiratory infections
- Protects cells from damage due to oxidation (similar to vitamin C)
- Strengthens bones
A lack of vitamin A can also harm protein synthesis. If you are deficient, the body will be unable to produce proteins which can lead to muscle breakdown. This process is called catabolism and results in the loss of muscles that you’ve worked hard for.
One must try to get at least 25% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E in their diet. This vitamin is found in foods such as spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, and peanut butter. Vitamin E is important for the following functions:
- Protecting heart cells from damage due to oxidation similar to vitamins A and C
- Boosts immunity
- Reduces inflammation of the joints and muscles
- Lowers cholesterol
Since vitamin E is so difficult to get through foods, supplementation is likely necessary.
Bodybuilders should take 100 IU to 1000 IU per day for the months before a competition to protect their muscles from damage during training periods. Vitamin E can also help repair muscle cells after they are broken down during training sessions.
Bodybuilding is hard work. You put in hours at the gym, watch what you eat, and stay on top of your nutrition. However, it’s not uncommon for bodybuilders to neglect their vitamin intake when they’re trying to get ripped quickly or are getting ready for a competition. When you don’t take care of yourself properly with supplements like vitamins A, C, B12, E, and D; your muscles can be easily broken down without giving them time to recover by training again soon after an injury or strenuous workout session.
With this guide explaining how different micronutrients can help your muscle recovery process post-workout or during intense exercise sessions you’ll know that the key ingredient isn’t just protein shakes but supplementing or eating foods with a diverse set of micronutrients.