Vitamins and minerals play such an important part to your health and as an athlete. An awful lot of people including bodybuilders highly underestimate the importance of vitamins and minerals. Without them not only are you leaving yourself wide open to a number of deficiencies, you are also impairing your progress in and out of the gym drastically. One thing I have really learnt over the last few years is that to make the best gains, your health needs to be in tip top shape! Get your immune system firing on all cylinders and you create an optimised environment within to repair and grow!
In order for the human body to function correctly and efficiently as possible it requires a colossal amount of various vitamins and minerals. These include vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. Between these vitamins they maintain general health, ensure the health of your bones and cartilage and also increase the absorption of the vital mineral, calcium. Another to add to the list is Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 which increases energy levels. Regarding minerals, Zinc, Potassium, Iron and Calcium are of utmost importance. Zinc strengthens the immune system, helps detoxify the liver and increases protein production. Potassium is vital for the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which controls brain functions and your heart beat. It has also been shown to increase protein synthesis levels and regulate your water levels. Iron is also an extremely important mineral for your body, in fact it is vital. As a bodybuilder the benefits are more efficient oxygen transportation to the muscles, stronger immune system and increased thyroid hormone production. Finally, calcium is regarded as the most important mineral out there. What calcium does for your body is help maintain healthy bones, metabolize fat, help transport creatine and allow your muscles to relax which equals better muscular contractions. As you can see, between vitamins and minerals there is plenty to lose should you be lacking in any one of them. In fact, by lacking in just one can affect thousands of metabolic reactions within the body.
When it comes to supplementing minerals and vitamins it is important you are getting the right amount and at the right time of day. Vitamins can be taken as a multivitamin supplement. Each brand will have its own recommendation of dosage and time of consumption. Be sure to follow these guidelines for optimum effect! By doing this you are enabling your body to remain anabolic and utilize all of these vitamins when it needs them most. Starve it of these vitamins and your performance will decline.
Personally, I rate USN Multiplex Vitamin & Mineral Complex as the number product of it's kind on the market. As I have used it I have felt great and I haven't had any issues with colds. As a rule as I increase my training load I become more susceptible to colds and the likes of, however using this supplement has enabled me to stay 'lurgy' free!!!
Minerals are slightly more complicated. If you were to take zinc, iron, potassium and calcium together your body would only be interested in the calcium. Therefore it is wise to take calcium alone, in order to utilize the benefits of zinc, iron and potassium more effectively. Your calcium intake per day as a bodybuilder should be in the 2000-2500mg range, taken throughout the day. Potassium supplements need to be followed as directed due to the violent side effects should you overdose. These include diarrhea, vomiting and in very sever cases a heart attack! The amount of iron consumed as an athlete should be in the 25-60mg per day range. This is indeed more than 10mg daily recommended amount, but you require it as an athlete. Finally, zinc’s recommended daily intake is 15mg and this should be adhered to. Too much zinc will mean your body won’t absorb other vital minerals.
There you have a brief outlay of why vitamins and minerals are so important to your health and physique. Don’t underestimate the power of optimising your health first, in order to build a foundation to grow. I used to, but now I respect the importance of it I am gaining faster than ever before!