Vitamins A, B, C, D, and vitamin E are essential nutrients for bodybuilding. They catalyze reactions throughout the body, allowing you to build muscle and burn fat. Unfortunately, due to fast-paced lifestyles and poor nutritional choices, many people do not take in optimal levels of these important vitamins. Luckily, there are many options for supplementation. These include multivitamins and other sources for further supplementation.
Vitamin A exists as retinol and beta carotene, which is a vitamin A precursor found in yellow and green vegetables, egg yolks, animal liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, apricots, and winter squash. Vitamin A is essential for strengthening tissue membranes in the body. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A is 3,000 IU, with the tolerable upper limit set at 10,000 IU for retinol. Beta carotene can be taken by bodybuilders in higher daily amounts of 17,500 IU, according to Bodybuilding.com.
The vitamin B family includes thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6) and cobalamin (B12). This water-soluble group of vitamins is essential for metabolizing proteins, fats and especially carbohydrates. For this reason, bodybuilders must regularly eat foods high in B to keep the body operating at peak performance, according to Bodybuilding.com. Natural sources of vitamin B include potatoes, bananas, beans, turkey, tuna and brewer’s yeast.
Vitamin B6 is important for maintaining energy within the body, but it also reduces prolactin levels in men, which reduces the likelihood of developing an enlarged prostate, as cited in “Human Biochemistry and Disease.” Further, vitamin B6 stimulates white blood cell production, which fights infection, and synthesis of neurotransmitters and hormones, which regulate cognitive function, memory and mood.
Vitamin B12 is also recommended for sperm health, as deficiencies result in reduced motility and count. Vitamin B12 also regulates sex hormones and enhances cognition and memory, which might help fight the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, according to “Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition.”
Vitamin B9, or folate, is recommended for retaining memories and concentration ability, especially among the elderly. Folate is also needed for amino acid and nucleic acid metabolism, which is a secondary source of energy.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is a precursor for many enzymes that regulate metabolism within cells. Niacin is also needed for DNA repair and the production of steroids, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Vitamin B5 is required to make coenzyme-A, which aids energy production and the synthesis of cholesterol and acetylcholine. Vitamin B5 is also used in the catabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein into glucose, which can be used as energy.
vitamin C or Ascorbic acid is an important part of the structure of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bones, all of which are tested by the rigors of intense training. The recommended daily allowance is a mere 90mg, but bodybuilders need much more, according to Bodybuilding.com. Natural sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, brussels sprouts, potatoes, and liver. Vitamin C must be obtained from the diet because human bodies do not synthesize it on their own.
Vitamin D is the “sunshine vitamin” which the body makes from sun exposure. Bones need vitamin D to maintain proper density and avoid injury from bodybuilding. Make sure to take cholecalciferol, or D3, the natural form that human bodies make from the sun. Sources of vitamin D include fish oils, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and fortified milk.
The recommended daily allowance is between 200 and 600 IU, which is age-dependent. The upper limit for vitamin D is established at 2,000 IU for healthy adult men, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Information Center.
IMPORTANCE OF VITAMIN E FOR BODYBUILDERS
As a bodybuilder, you need a variety of vitamins and minerals in your daily diet to build and maintain your muscle mass. According to Mandy Tanny, author of “Bodybuilding Nutrition,” the vigorous activity required during bodybuilding might increase your need for certain nutrients. Vitamin E is one of these because it enables your body to make proper use of oxygen and maintain your stamina while you are bodybuilding.
VITAMIN E IN BODYBUILDING
When you get plenty of vitamin E in your diet, you might achieve and maintain an endurance and stamina level appropriate for bodybuilding. According to Frank A. Melfa, author of “Bodybuilding a Realistic Approach: How You Can Have a Great Body,” a vitamin E deficiency can hinder your ability to build muscle mass. Studies with rats have also shown that vitamin E deficiency can decrease your circulation and impact your ability to make blood. These might also get in the way of your bodybuilding goals.
VITAMIN E FOOD SOURCES
Add certain foods to your daily diet to help increase your intake of vitamin E. Wheat germ is a top source of vitamin E and provides you with 20.3 milligrams per tablespoon. Nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, and hazelnuts, are another healthy way to increase your intake of vitamin E. Certain oils, such as sunflower, safflower, corn, and olive, also supply a healthy dose of vitamin E. Additional sources of vitamin E include kiwi, spinach, tomatoes, mango, and broccoli.
If you believe that you don’t get enough vitamin E from your daily diet, speak with your doctor about a supplement. A vitamin E supplement can help you get the recommended amount of this important nutrient. Do not take excessive doses of vitamin E without talking with your doctor first. High doses of vitamin E in supplement form can cause hemorrhage and interrupt blood coagulation in animals and might pose a similar danger to you. The National Institutes of Health reports that a safe upper limit is 1,000 milligrams per day.