One of the most currently debated issues in the supplement industry is in relation to the consumption of multivitamins and the role that they play in enhancing overall health both in and out of the gym.
Can bodybuilders benefit by supplementing with extra vitamins and minerals? Let’s review some basic biology as well as the function of each specific vitamin in order to find the answer…
In the grand scheme of things, your body is basically one giant mass of chemical reactions. Each of these individual reactions is fueled by small proteins called enzymes, which work by lowering the amount of energy that is needed for a specific reaction to occur. Enzymes require the use of a “co-enzyme” which alters its shape and allows it to perform its job properly. Co-enzymes are also referred to as vitamins.
So when it all comes down it, vitamins are needed to fuel the thousands of chemical reactions going on within your body at all times. Not only does this play an important role in overall metabolism and body health, but it also plays a vital part in the muscle-building process.
Here is a list of the major vitamins and the ways in which they will aid you both in and out of the gym…
Vitamin A – Is crucial to the process of protein synthesis where individual amino acids are combined to form new muscle tissue. It also helps the body to produce glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates within the body.
Vitamin B1 – Also known as “thiamine” and is heavily involved in protein metabolism as well as the production of hemoglobin which helps to carry oxygen around the body.
Vitamin B2 – Also known as “riboflavin” and aids in the fat burning process as well as helping the body to produce energy from carbohydrates.
Vitamin B3 – Also known as “niacin” and increases vasodilation within the muscle tissue, helping you to appear fuller and more vascular.
Vitamin B6 – Also known as “pyridoxine” and is very important because of its effect on protein digestion. Muscle-building diets require larger than normal amounts of protein, and this means that your body needs a higher amount of vitamin B6 than the average Joe.
Vitamin B12 – Also known as “cobalamin”, vitamin b12 ensures that the brain and muscle tissue are communicating efficiently and this has a direct effect on muscle growth and coordination. Biotin – Helps the body metabolize amino acids and produce energy during workouts.
Vitamin C – Heavily involved in amino acid metabolism and the formation of collagen. Collagen is found in your connective tissue and keeps your joints strong and healthy. Vitamin C also plays a role in the production of steroid hormones in the body and also enhances the absorption of iron. On top of all of this, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which flushes out free radicals and prevents damage to your body cells.
Vitamin D – Helps the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus more efficiently. Calcium is very important during muscle contractions and also helps to maintain strong bones and joints. Phosphorus is involved in the synthesis of ATP, the usable form of energy within the body.
Vitamin E – A very powerful antioxidant which helps to hunt out and neutralize free radicals. This will help to flush out many of the natural metabolic waste products your body produces and maintain the health of your cell membranes.
As you can clearly see above, vitamins play a very important role when it comes to building muscle and gaining strength. Hard training bodybuilders certainly require higher amounts of these vitamins than the average sedentary Joe, as these vitamins are depleted during intense sessions in the gym. In addition, a calorie-dense diet requires a higher intake of vitamins to aid in the digestion process. In fact, being deficient in just one vitamin can literally affect thousands of small process within the body.
So, are multivitamins necessary for bodybuilders?
Consuming a high-potency multivitamin each day will definitely help quite a bit in developing that strong, muscular physique you’re after. From protein synthesis to energy metabolism to digestion to vasodilation, multivitamins should be an important part of any effective supplementation plan.
Sean Nalewanyj is a bodybuilding expert, fitness author and writer of top-selling Internet Bodybuilding E-Book: The Truth About Building Muscle.