11 Best Vitamins for Muscle Growth

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Protein often steals the show in the world of sports nutrition. But without these muscle-supporting micronutrients, you’d be taking the daily struggle bus to the gym.

Vitamin D

Did you know that muscle weakness and cramps are signs of vitamin D deficiency? This doesn’t mean a bad day at the gym = a deficiency, but it does *indicate* the vital role this micronutrient plays in muscle health.

To research also linked healthy vitamin D levels to stronger muscles and better posture.

Here’s how you can get more vitamin D:

Vitamin A

In the world of micronutrients, vitamin A is a total star. It doesn’t directly strengthen your muscles, but it does keep your bones and your immune system on point (no more calling sick at the gym!).

Basically, if you don’t get enough A’s, you’re not going to perform your best dumbbell workouts on the power rack.

You can find vitamin A in many orange foods, including:

If you have cystic fibrosis or a gastrointestinal disorder that reduces nutrient absorption, you may need to take a vitamin A supplement. Still you can take too much of this stuff, so talk with your doctor about dosage.

Iron

First of all: Iron is a mineral, not a vitamin. But that doesn’t mean your muscles don’t want it!

When you lift weights, your body uses a lot of oxygen. Iron helps your body make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. So fundamentallyiron helps maintain high energy, pump muscles and control breathing.

Most people get enough iron from their daily diet, including:

If you have anemia or do not eat animal products, you could benefit from an iron supplement. Just talk to your doctor about the ideal dosage, as too much iron can have negative effects.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps you absorb iron, which is a #win for your weightlifting session. Healthy iron levels = more power to pump the other kind of iron.

Vitamin C is also very useful for your immune system. Shortening the duration of a cold isn’t quite as sexy as a mid-workout energy boost, but it’s still essential. Sniffles, sore throats, and headaches are major buzzkills when trying to push yourself to complete another set of reps.

Smashing your vitamin C quota is easy. You can find this vitamin in:

Most people need 75 to 120 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C per day.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has a reputation for soothing and smoothing the skin, but it can also indirectly promote muscle growth.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, a type of substance that helps you stay healthy by eliminating harmful free radicals that come from stress and overworkamong others.

But limited to research suggests that taking vitamin E supplements may actually interfere with bodybuilding gains, so stick to vitamin E-rich foods like toasted nuts and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B12

The B-complex crew is a powerhouse for everything from brain function to regulating stress hormones. So what can B vitamins do for muscle gains?

Well, science suggests that vitamin B12 may reduce fatigue while providing a helping hand for hemoglobin (remember the oxygen carrier?). It’s a punch to keep your energy up while you’re pumping iron.

But, like other vitamins and minerals, the best way to get vitamin B12 is through food. A few options:

Biotin

Like vitamin B12, biotin (or vitamin B7) comes from the base of the B complex. This bad boy helps convert nutrients you are consuming white-hot energy for your strength training session.

You can get biotin from foods like:

Many multivitamins and B-complex supplements also contain biotin. Sometimes biotin is also sold as a “hair, skin and nails” supplement.

Magnesium

According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, about 50% of Americans do not get enough magnesium. Adult men should aim for 400 mg of magnesium per day. Non-pregnant women only need 310 mg.

If you fall into the deficient camp, you risk undermining your muscle-building efforts. This little mineral play a role in muscle contraction, heart rate regulation and energy production.

The easiest way to increase your intake is to eat magnesium-rich foods like:

Of course, magnesium supplements are an option. Talk to a medical professional about the best option for you, as it comes in different forms.

Calcium

You probably already know that calcium strengthens bones. But this mineral does so much more for strength training, including:

  • support muscle movement 💪
  • keep blood vessels in perfect condition
  • help regulate blood pressure

Contrary to what those “Got Milk?” dairy ads imply that you don’t need milk to meet your calcium needs. You can get your recommended daily allowance of 1000-1300 mg from foods like:

Calcium supplements are also an option if you need a boost beyond food, but get the A-OK from a medical professional first.

Zinc

To research suggests that zinc plays a role in the regeneration of skeletal muscle after exercise – in other words, it helps repair muscle fibers after an intense lifting session. We need more studies to understand precisely how zinc might maximize your workouts, but it’s an essential mineral anyway.

Your body can’t make zinc, so it’s up to you and your chompers to meet zinc needs. You can get it from a wide range of foods, such as:

Although zinc deficiency is a thing, it is rare. Excess zinc can cause toxicity, so talk to a healthcare professional before taking zinc supplements for muscle growth.

Potassium

There is a reason potassium is such a popular ingredient in sports drinks. This electrolyte keeps your muscles contracting properly and keeps your hydration level in the safe zone – both good things in terms of maximizing your stats.

Potassium can be found in many foods, but many Americans don’t get enough of it. You can reach your quota with foods like:

Talk to a healthcare professional if you think you need a supplement to get all the potassium your muscles need.

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