Eating properly and ensuring your body is full of the proper nutrients is vital. You wouldn’t put the wrong type of fuel in your car, so why do it with your body? This is especially true if you spend time in the gym trying to grow your muscles properly.
That’s why we’ve created a list of the most important vitamins you need for muscle growth. Making sure you get enough of these should help your muscles develop properly, but even recover quicker and increase their rate of growth. So what are you waiting for?
It fights free radicals, builds strong bones, supports protein synthesis and even promotes glycogen creation. Vitamin A is incredibly useful in our bodies but unfortunately, we can easily become deficient in it. Various illnesses (such as diabetes), low-fat diets, and even consuming alcohol can severely reduce the amount of Vitamin A in our system.
There are several sources that contain plenty of Vitamin A, including cheese, eggs, and oily fish. If you’re on a diet that avoids animal products (like veganism) then you can instead consume products rich in beta-carotene (spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers) which your body can convert into Vitamin A.
You should be able to get enough Vitamin A from your diet without needing to resort to supplements.
Not only is Vitamin B2 essential to the production of energy, but it also reduces muscle soreness after a workout. If you’re intending to spend a lot of time in the gym, then having sufficient amounts of B2 in your system can dramatically cut your recovery times. Quicker recovery and more energy means you should see significant progress in the development of your muscles.
Vitamin B2 is commonly found in animal products, such as beef, lamb and dairy. The only other source of B2 is supplements and B2-fortified foods. If you don’t eat any animal products, then it is strongly recommended that you take B2 supplements to avoid a dangerous B2 deficiency.
If you want to support the growth of your muscles and develop bigger pumps when you work out, then B3 is exactly what you need to help with this. It’s exactly the reason why bodybuilders and fitness models consume it prior to a photoshoot.
It’s not just for looking better though, Vitamin B3 increases how fast your body metabolises glucose, fortifies your production of hormones, and even boosts your good cholesterol. The good news is that it can be found in a range of foods, including meat, fish and eggs, but also seeds and bananas.
Able to increase the production of red blood cells and nitric oxide (to support both performance and endurance), you’ll want good levels of B6 in your body to keep everything working nicely while you’re exercising. The red blood cells carry oxygen around your body, which is necessary for you to do any sort of exercise.
While B6 is another vitamin found in livers and oily fish, it’s also found in bananas and chickpeas. You may need to rely on supplements to receive enough, however, since an entire can of chickpeas only contains about 55% of the daily recommended amount.
If you haven’t noticed by now, the B vitamins are extremely useful in muscle development. This is another vitamin that aids in producing red blood cells, though like B2, it can be difficult to get adequate amounts if you’re on a vegan diet. B12 deficiency can be extremely harmful to your health, so make sure that whatever your source is, you’re getting enough.
Vitamin C is commonly used to boost the immune system, but are you aware that it also assists in repairing bodily tissues (such as muscle)? Vitamin C is essential to making sure our bodies heal quickly, and this includes making sure you’re able to be in the gym as much as possible.
The best place to get Vitamin C is from citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and lemons. Failing that, supplements are a good option. Liquid-based supplements are better at working their way into your body, however, capsules are still effective if you prefer that method.
Widely known as the sunshine vitamin, the majority of us get our Vitamin D from natural sunlight. Those that spend a lot of time indoors, however, can find that their production of Vitamin D is limited. It’s recommended that during the winter months, you take Vitamin D supplements to assist your body’s natural production due to the lesser amount of sunlight available.
Vitamin D keeps us healthy and strong, by regulating the amount of calcium in our bodies and ensuring our teeth, bones and muscles are kept in optimal condition. The recommended dosage of Vitamin D is 10 micrograms daily, between October and March. This is because consuming excessive amounts of Vitamin D can also have a detrimental effect on your body, and you should receive all the necessary Vitamin D from the sun between April and September.
Ultimately, as long as you have a balanced and varied diet including meat, fish, dairy, fruit and veg, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need to build muscle as effectively as possible. If there are food groups that you do avoid, however, then it may be wise to look into getting supplements.
Being vitamin deficient can, at the least, make it more difficult to see the changes you desire. At worst, it can have serious repercussions on your physical health.