As I?m sure you are well aware the importance of protein and carbohydrate intake amongst bodybuilders, but what about vitamins? It seems so many young bodybuilders are overlooking the importance of vitamins in their daily lives. Ive noticed on the forums that there are hundreds of topics related to protein and creatine, but very few regarding vitamins. So with that being said, I decided to do some research and present to you guys the 10 most important vitamins for bodybuilders.
Why vitamins and minerals are important:
? During strenuous physical activity, an enormous amount of vitamins and minerals are depleted from our bodies.
? Making sure our bodies have enough vitamins and minerals helps maintain and improve proper health.
? Failure to maintain healthy vitamin and mineral levels can lead to hindered performance in the gym, slowing down growth, and in severe cases, also lead to other health problems.
Now for the top 10 vitamins. I found an excellent website that listed these in great detail. Saving you some reading time, I took the most important pieces of information from that article as well as listed the best natural food sources which contain these vitamins.10. Cobalamin (vitamin B12)
? Carbohydrate metabolism and maintenance of nervous system tissue (spinal cord, nerves that carry signals from the brain to muscle tissue).
? The stimulation of muscles via the nerve cells is a critical step in the contraction, coordination, and growth of muscles.
? B12 is only available from foods of animal origin (beef, chicken, fish, pork, etc.)9. Biotin
? Critical in amino acid metabolism and production of energy from many sources.
? Bodybuilders who eat raw egg whites gain a substance called Advin, which blocks biotin absorption.
? Sources of biotin include: egg yolk, liver, kidney, pancreas, milk, soya, and barley.8. Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
? Involved in 3 main processes: 1) Glucose metabolism, 2) Oxidation of fatty acids, and 3) The shuttling of Hydrogen through the Krebs cycle (also known as the citric acid cycle where certain molecules are broken down into energy in the form of ATP).
? For bodybuilding purposes, riboflavin is related to protein metabolism. There is a strong relationship between lean body mass and dietary riboflavin.
? Foods rich in riboflavin: liver, almonds, soy nuts, shellfish, milk and other dairy products, and eggs.7. Vitamin A
? Vitamin A helps with vision.
? Important in the synthesis of protein (muscle growth!!!).
? Involved in the production of Glycogen (the body?s form of energy for high intensity activities).
? Very important for contest preparation.
? Dietary sources: there are many, see the link below and click on (at the top, under table of contents) ?What foods provide vitamin A.? Notice that milk is mentioned again. So far out of 5, milk is mentioned in 4 of the main vitamins? Coincidence? I think not?
? http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamina.asp#h2 6. Vitamin E
? Used in protection of cell membranes since it is a powerful antioxidant.
? Recuperation and growth of muscle cells is dependant on healthy cell membranes.
? Vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals are the most common food sources of vitamin E.5. Niacin (vitamin B3)
? Involved in nearly 60 metabolic processes related to energy production.
? Nicotine acid, a form of Niacin, causes vasodilatation which can help competitors looks more vascular on stage. Large doses of Nicotine acid drastically impairs the body?s ability to mobilize and burn fat.
? Dietary sources include: turkey meat (the body uses the amino acid tryptophan to create Niacin), dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts, and eggs.4. Vitamin D
? Vitamin D is necessary in the absorption of Calcium and Phosphorus. If adequate stores of Calcium are not available in the muscle, full and hard muscular contractions will not be achieved.
? Quick, powerful muscular contractions are provided by Phosphorus. Phosphorus is also required for the synthesis of ATP.
? Dietary sources: No-fat or low fat MILK.3. Thiamine (vitamin B1)
? Required for protein metabolism and growth.
? Involved in the formation of hemoglobin which is a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen to working muscles in the body.
? Oxygen transportation becomes increasingly more important to athletic performance as intensity and duration of exercise increase.
? As the amount of exercise, intensity, and duration of exercise increase, the more thiamine is needed.
? Dietary sources: Green peas, Spinach, Liver, Beef, Pork, Navy beans, Nuts, Pinto beans, Bananas, Soybeans, Goji berries, Whole-grain and Enriched Cereals, Breads, Yeast,the aleurone layer of unpolished rice, and Legumes.2. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
? The only vitamin directly tied to protein intake. The greater protein consumption, the greater amount of vitamin B6 you need.
? Vitamin B6 makes it possible for protein metabolism, growth and carbohydrate utilization to take place.
? Dietary sources: Avocados, nuts, liver, chicken, fish, green beans, field salad, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, sea vegetables, and bananas are particularly good food sources.1. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
? Enhances recovery and growth in muscle cells. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
? Involved in the formation of Collagen, the primary constituent in connective tissue (connective tissue holds your bones and muscles together). As you lift heavier weights, you put more stress on your structure. If your connective tissue is not as strong as it should be you have a much higher risk of injury.
? Helps in the absorption of Iron. With an Iron deficiency, the amount of oxygen that gets bonded to hemoglobin in the blood decreases and muscular performance is greatly reduced.
? Diffuses very rapidly in water. Since a muscle cell is mostly water, the more muscular an athlete becomes, the more vitamin C disperses and the lower the concentration of this critical substance becomes in body tissues. So vitamin C requirements are greatly increased for bodybuilders.
? Finally: Vitamin C assists in the formation and release of steroid hormones, including the anabolic hormone testosterone.
? Dietary sources: The largest sources of vitamin C are present in citrus fruits and fruit juices.
Well there you have it, the 10 most important vitamins for a bodybuilder. If you are a bodybuilder, you should be eating a lot anyways, especially as much of the above foods listed as possible, so getting all of these vitamins in your diet shouldn?t be problem. However, if you feel your diet needs some help there are many multivitamins which you can supplement along with your meals, but it?s always better to get your vitamins from natural sources. You may however, want to consider in investing in a simple vitamin C supplement based purely on how important it is in the bodybuilding world.
Lastly, note how many times milk or dairy is listed as a primary food source of the above vitamins. Three or four glasses of milk a day will definitely be of good use by your body. If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to consider purchasing lactose free milk which is exactly the same as regular milk but with the added ingredient lactase, which neutralizes the lactose.
Until next time, lift hard, heavy, and don?t forget to EAT!!!