The role of vitamins in muscle building

The role of vitamins in muscle building

15-02-2016
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Believe it or not, if you want to gain muscle mass, vitamins are among the most important supplements... not mentioning the shredding diet. Although it’s not the vitamins that will directly enhance your muscle mass, they contribute to the success of your diet a great deal.

You cannot maximize mass building without vitamins. If you want 100% results, you should make sure all the necessary conditions are met.

For maximum performance you should provide all the necessary nutrients for your body. Micronutrients play an important role in the millions of biochemical processes that are going on in the body.

A few of the most important processes aided by vitamins are:

  • protein synthesis (the ability of the body to use protein for muscle building)
  • regulating hormone levels (testosterone is vital in this respect)
  • regulating metabolism (regulating energy levels, growth and the recovery of the musculature)

How much to take

A quality multivitamin can be enough to satisfy the vitamin and mineral needs of athletes in most of the cases. In the case of athletes we can say that the official RDA (daily recommended dietary allowance for adults) is not enough, since the stress physical exercise exerts on the body causes harmful free radicals to release, which requires antioxidants to mitigate harmful effects. This means, vitamins can rev up the recovery process.

When it comes to vitamins, there are usually two opposing views. On one side, there are those who choke down numberless pills, while advocates of the opposite view are absolutely convinced that our food contains all the necessary vitamins. The truth is somewhere in between.

If you want to maximize muscle growth, you should not go skimpy on vitamins and minerals. Don’t let yourself be misguided by those who keep telling that our food contains enough vitamins, because this is not true. This view is quite outdated.

However, buying all those vitamins and minerals can be a considerable financial load. Alright, it won’t kill you, no matter what others may say to scare you. But it is definitely not a cost-efficient solution.

So, the best you can do is buy the best vitamin you can afford.

What makes the quality of a vitamin?

Vitamins are not manufactured the same way. When it comes to quality, it’s important to consider the speed of absorption and the purity of the ingredients.

When picking a vitamin product, it should be an important criterion that it should not contain too much other ingredients. If the price is too low, you should not expect high quality. The brand and your trust in a certain manufacturer are important aspects, too.

The most important vitamins and minerals for bodybuilding

There are certain vitamins and minerals bodybuilders tend to prefer and which can indeed help them reach top performance if taken in extra amounts. These are vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B and calcium.

Of course this is not a complete list. But these are worth looking at in more detail: why are they so important?

Vitamin C

It is an antioxidant. Antioxidants reduce the amount of harmful free radicals. There are free radicals in everyone. But in excess amounts, these radicals harm cells, which cannot recover without antioxidants. And this can have serious consequences like cancer. There is a straight correlation between intense workout and the amount of harmful free radicals. Therefore, antioxidant intake is of high importance. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin. This means, the body cannot store it. Therefore, it should be taken on a regular basis.

However, it is also important for bodybuilders for reasons other than its antioxidant effect: it is also essential for the immune system and supports recovery after stress (thus helping reduce the risk of overtraining). Plus, it also contributes to hormone production.

The amount used by bodybuilders is somewhere between 200 and 3000 mg. This is high above the 80 mg RDA. However, it is virtually impossible to overdose on it, as the excess amounts will be excreted by the kidneys. So, if you want to make sure you get the necessary amount, you should rather opt for the higher amount.

But the best you can do is monitor your body’s reactions. If you experience slower recovery or you feel a cold coming on, you may raise the dosage.

Vitamin E:

Just like vitamin C, vitamin E is also a strong antioxidant. Vitamin E has similar benefits to vitamin C. But unlike vitamin C, vitamin E is fat soluble. This means, the body can store it. Research has shown that even a daily dosage of 1000 IU (International Units) is absolutely safe.

B vitamins (Vitamin B complex):

B vitamins enhance energy supply by supporting circulation and oxygen supply. They play an important role in metabolism and handling stress, too. It is impossible to make an order of priority for B vitamins. The best solution is a vitamin B complex.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin):

It is essential for thyroid function and metabolism.

Vitamin B3 (niacin):

Similarly to vitamin B2, it is also inevitable for normal thyroid hormone production. Plus, it is also an important part of the glucose tolerance factor, which is secreted when the blood sugar level rises.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid):

It plays the most important role in energy production: it supports the function of the adrenal cortex.

Vitamin B6 (piridoxin):

It ensures normal thyroid hormone production and metabolism.

Choline:

It is produced by the liver in its natural form. It plays a role in lipid metabolism. In the absence of choline, fat deposits may form in the liver.

Inositol:

It is also a part of the B complex, just like choline. The body produces it, too. It supports lipid metabolism, together with choline.

Calcium:

Calcium is an extremely important prerequisite of muscle building. Calcium ions are the most important carriers of nutrients in the blood. Ad it requires nutrients to get creatine and protein to their destinations i.e. the muscle cells. This means: without a sufficient amount of calcium, protein or creatine will be less effective as well.

Calcium is also known as a building block of the bones. But it also takes part in hundreds of other processes in the body, including muscle functions.

Athletes need a minimum of 2000 mg of calcium daily.

ZMA:

Have you heard of this combination? It is made up by zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6, in the right proportions. This combination helps enhance hormone production, provided that you don’t take it at the same time with calcium, as having calcium in your stomach would hinder its absorption.

In this article we have only mentioned the most important factors and substances. Needless to say: vitamins and minerals support the normal function of the body in their complexity.



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