Vitamins are groups of nutrients and organic compounds that assist function and growth of the body. Minerals are inorganic substances needed in the body for growth. Both are important for muscle growth and overall health of the bones, organs and blood, just to name a few.
Most can be obtained if you live a balanced diet however some people will need more than others, for example if you have a weaker immune system more you may need more vitamin c and copper in your diet, but please consult the doctor about this.
These are some of the best vitamins and minerals for muscle growth and performance.
Calcium is used in muscle contraction. Muscle contraction is controlled by the amount of calcium in your system. To ensure optimum contraction include 1000mg of calcium daily if your are an adult. Some of the healthiest ways to obtain calcium are through yogurt and almonds.
Iron helps transfer oxygen from the lungs to the muscles as it is part of the haemoglobin pigment which serves this very purpose. As a result, Iron boosts energy and can therefore help improve performance in the gym (train harder), and get better results. Sources of Iron include red meat and dried fruit such as raisins and apricots.
The way to a healthy heart and better blood flow. Omega 3’s boost insulin levels in the body. One of the functions of insulin is transferring amino acids to the muscles to speed up muscle growth. It’s important to remember that the body doesn’t create omega 3 but requires it every day, so eating omega 3 rich foods or taking omega 3 supplements is important. Fish such as wild salmon and mackerel and walnuts are perfect sources of Omega 3.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin helps break down the three macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) and processes them too. This vitamin is therefore important for muscle repair and growth. Riboflavin can be found in chicken, eggs, milk and spinach so should be easy to include in your diet. Keep in mind that riboflavin can’t be stored so needs to be in your daily diet, eating the foods mentioned above will ensure this.
Vitamin B12 (folate)
Vitamin B12 ensures healthy blood cells that are then transferred around the body to the muscles. This is important because your muscles need the protein and water in the blood for energy and to assist in muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth). Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause fatigue and nausea, which obviously make training much harder and more dangerous. To increase the amount of B12 in your diet, eat eggs and certain types of beef. Alternatively you could buy multivitamins to give you the source you need.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E
You can’t simply just turn fat into muscle by training. Muscle is tissue that burns calories, fat is a storage of excess energy. You have to work to burn the fat, but your have to diet properly to build the muscle. Imagine Vitamin C as the bin lorry on bin day. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant and can help burn a significant amount of fat if taken correctly. The recommended amount for an adult female is 75mg and an adult male is 90mg.
However, Vitamin C is water-soluble and doesn’t store in the body for long, therefore in theory you could have more than the recommended amount and it won’t be harmful. However, too much vitamin c can cause headaches, vomiting, a laxative effect and cramps. Vitamin C is in fruits such as Kiwi and strawberries and tomatoes and broccoli are also good.
Similarly, Vitamin E works as an antioxidant and promotes healthy blood flow. Therefore, it is useful for to aid recovery post workout. Sources of Vitamin E include nuts and seeds. Women need 3mg a day and men need 4mg a day.
You can obtain zinc through red meats and supplements. It helps produce the muscle building hormone testosterone. To add to its benefits, it quickens recovery time after exercise, so make the most of this mineral by including it in your daily diet. The recommended daily zinc intake for men is 11mg and for women is 8mg, however this does change during pregnancy and lactation at 11mg and 12mg respectively.
Copper is found in whole grains and potatoes and adults must consume 900mg of it daily for the full benefit. Copper helps form red blood cells, the absorption and utilization of iron. Therefore, helps serve the same purpose as iron. Furthermore, it helps release life saving enzymes that combat regulate nerve transmission, blood clotting, and oxygen transport. Copper stimulates the immune system to fight infections, repair injured tissues, and promote healing.
This very useful mineral can be overlooked during the process of trying to get fit. Its uses include boosting energy in the gym to give you that extra push. It also does the opposite and helps you sleep, which as you may know is important for muscle recovery and growth. To get enough magnesium in your diet, consume leafy greens such as spinach and kale and whole grains.
The mineral phosphorus works to strengthen teeth and bones and cell repair within the body. Common sources of phosphorus include tuna, milk and chicken breast.
The groundwork of all happiness is good health – L.Hunt
These vitamins are very good for muscle building as well as overall health. Including most of them in your diet will make surprising benefits to your physique alongside your training and the rest of your diet. If you don’t like a lot of the foods listed above, then simply try vitamin tablets ranging from a single vitamin to a multivitamin.
If your have any medical conditions/health problems that may be affected by any of these vitamins and minerals or are unsure whether to use them, then please consult your doctor before taking them, also ensure your don’t surpass the daily recommendations because this can be dangerous for your health.
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National Health Service (NHS) (2017) Vitamins and Minerals [Online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/ (Accessed 4th December 2018)
Hi, I’m Nick and the creator of thefitnessfeeling.com. I have a passion for health and fitness, and I want to share my knowledge and experience with you. I’m here to help you with any questions you have.