Bodybuilding is a sport of details and preparation.
You know what’s the clearest sign of poor preparation in the diet? A glaring deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals – like three-quarters of Americans. Oops.
Poor control over these important little compounds adds up when we look at performance in any sport. In the sport of massive, sculpted physiques, the way you supplement your diet can be make or break.
Forget the dumbbells and tanning products – it’s time to get big on the basics. Whether you’re stage-ready or just getting into your own physique journey, there’s never a bad time to optimize your diet.
We’re going right back to the essentials with a discussion of the best bodybuilding multivitamins and why they’re so important.
Multivitamins for Bodybuilding: Why Bother?
You might eat a good diet, but you’re still going to struggle with some of the most important and difficult-to-get compounds.
A diet rich in nutrient-dense foods probably still won’t provide your necessary levels of vitamin D, for example. The problem is that being below optimal levels in any of these compounds is going to sink your chance of maximum results.
You can’t starve your body of essential nutrients and expect miracles.
You’d definitely not take this tact with Protein. It’s just as important to support your micronutrient needs, even if everyone else is ignoring them.
You’re Probably Deficient in Something
Each nutrient has its own role to play in your body, with a huge collective impact on your wellbeing, health, and the amount of muscle you can build/maintain.
We’ll go over these individually, but they add up – if you’re deficient in a small number of nutrients, you’ll see the result in a wide variety of processes. These range from inhibited muscle growth to suppressed testosterone release, poor mood, and even poor sexual health.
Clearly, taking care of the details is going to show up in the way you look and feel. There’s no excuse when a multivitamin is such a small task. Especially when there are premium products around such as Performance Lab’s Whole-Food Multivitamin, our favorite multivitamin of choice, which provides all the necessary compounds while supporting muscle growth.
If you’re not covering the deficiencies in your diet, you’re already behind the competition – and here’s why…
How can it support muscle growth?
There are a few areas where vitamins, minerals, and muscle mass overlap. We’re going to break them down into the 4 key areas, from energy to protein-synthesis.
Energy balance and transfer
This is going to be the big one for compounds like B vitamins and a handful of others. The way your body processes, transfers, and monitors energy are key to muscle growth.
When you have energy excess, you can build muscle more effectively. On the other hand, energy deficiency pushes your body towards muscle-wasting.
Keeping vitamins and minerals at the right intake can help with this. This means losing less muscle, building more, and making the most of your diet.
Supporting metabolic health
Your metabolism is complicated. In simple terms, dysfunctional metabolic health is going to mean less energy availability, worse use of nutrients, and hamstringing your results. This is clearly a problem if your goal is the maximum possible muscle.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the way that your body extracts energy and macronutrients from food. They’re also key in the processing and regulation of key processes supporting the building of muscles: the rest of your diet sucks if your metabolism isn’t working effectively.
Hormones and the knock-on
Overlapping with the metabolic effects, the hormonal benefits of optimum micronutrient intake are huge.
First, there are 1-1 connections between some nutrients and your hormone function. For example, your thyroid hormones rely on your iodine intake, while chromium deficiency can directly limit fat loss.
Secondly, your hormone production and interactions tend to take place in an environment that necessitates vitamins and minerals. They support the reactions in your body, are key to enzyme health, and ensure you’ve got the raw materials you need.
For example, deficiency in vitamin D (affecting roughly 75% of Americans) can inhibit testosterone production. Zinc and Iodine have their own roles in hormonal health, too. You’ll find all of the substances above in Performance Lab Whole-Food Multi.
Direct roles in muscle protein synthesis
This is the glamorous stuff – which is why we saved it for the end.
The muscle-building process, MYO protein synthesis, requires vitamins and minerals. As with other processes in your body, it doesn’t happen by itself.
For example, Vitamin B6 levels are central to your body’s ability to develop new muscle tissues. Meanwhile, Vitamin C intake regulates tendon protein synthesis among a bunch of other key processes.
What Compounds Make for the Best Vitamin for Bodybuilding?
If you’re in the market for a multivitamin, your best bet is to know what to look for and use that to evaluate different products.
The benefits you enjoy depend on what you’re putting into your body. Knowing what you need puts you in control of the buying process and helps you avoid bunk products. It’s also worth researching ethical manufacturers such as Opti-Nutra, the company behind the Performance Lab range, to enable you to make better choices.
We’re going to outline what your body needs and some of the factors that put Performance Lab Whole-Food Multivitamin at the top of our list.
B vitamins are crucial to energy transfer and protein synthesis. They’re also key for overall wellbeing – try and get B3, B6, B7, and B12 in particular.
These are the most important ‘essential’ B vitamins and they’re well-represented in the Performance Lab Whole-Food Multi with natural, high-availability forms. This is important because many sources of B vitamins are hard to absorb and might not provide you with any benefits.
-C – collagen is key
Vitamin C is all about joint health.
It also boosts your eye and skin health, but your training is going to be more interested in its collagen-boosting effects.
If you’re vitamin C deficient, your joints won’t recover effectively between training sessions. Taking it with protein increases your ability to repair tendons and ligaments effectively.
-D – getting over RDI
The RDI for vitamin D isn’t enough for maximum performance, but most Americans don’t even get the RDI!
A good supplement provides more than your RDI and help you towards the 2,500-5,000iu per day intake.
With 1,000iu of D3 (the most effective form), Performance Lab impresses us here. 75% of Americans are just a single capsule a day away from improving hormonal health and fighting deficiency.
-K – recovery and support
Vitamin K is underrated but plays an important role in supporting your workout performance and recovery.
Its main effects are in the blood and bones, where it supports effective clotting and mineral density, respectively. This makes it a key player in nutrient transfer to the muscles, as well as the bone-health benefits of resistance training.
-Magnesium – the universal co-enzyme
Magnesium does pretty much everything. It’s involved in over 300 reactions in the body so being deficient is a one-stop-shop for poor health!
The most important ones for bodybuilders are the key role it plays in neuromuscular health/performance. If you’re not at healthy levels of magnesium, you can expect it to show up as reduced workout performance and recovery.
Since muscle growth is the result of having good workouts and recovering from them, you need to focus on Magnesium intake.
It’s not as varied as Magnesium – it only plays into 100+ functions – but Zinc’s benefits are almost all involved in metabolism.
If you’re looking to get the most from what you eat and make maximal gains, this isn’t optional. Support for Zinc and Magnesium are two of the reasons we love the Performance Lab Whole–Food Multivitamin – it’s easy to scrimp on the minerals, but the high-quality wholefood sources really make a difference here.
-Potassium and electrolytes – acute benefits and Na-K ratios
Potassium is one of the minerals your body needs to make the muscles work.
Not only is it a key electrolyte involved in muscle contraction (that thing you do to lift weights), but it balances sodium. If you’re trying to stay healthy and avoid water retention, a good balance of Potassium and Sodium is key.
-Calcium – muscles, bones, breasts
Calcium, like Potassium, is key to your muscle-functioning.
The problem is it also has a huge variety of other applications. It’s involved in bone health, reducing common cancer risks, and supporting hormonal health (especially as we age). This doesn’t just mean aging well – it means being able to train and compete at your best for decades to come.
The bioavailability of these minerals is key, so it’s no surprise a wholefood from-nature multivitamin like Performance Lab’s is our favorite.
Buying the Best: What you Need and Want
Getting the best multivitamin means getting a balance of these key nutrients in effective doses without any filler or fluff.
You also want to make sure they come from effective sources – ideally food extracts. This is one of the ways of avoiding poor-absorbing multivitamins. Whole-Food Multivitamins are a safe bet for effectiveness and dosages.
Performance Lab’s Whole-Food Multivitamin for Men is an exemplary product for this. It’s derived from whole-foods, which ticks our first box, and the dosages of key compounds is exactly what you need.
We love the fact that this is a product – and brand – that specifically checks to ensure there are no banned substances. With lower-quality supplement brands having a problem with this, it’s nice that Performance Lab offers a guarantee for tested competitors and athletes.
Finally, the from-nature status is key. Being prepared from whole foods, you’re getting a vitamin in its natural context – a great way of ensuring the best nutritional matrix and improving your absorption/use.
This is also a good example of how smaller, less-essential or well-known compounds can help. The focus on secondary nutrients (like Iodine and Chromium) supports performance as well as just getting to the minimum RDI: performance has different needs and different standards.
Combo Bonuses: Synergy and Other Supplements
For maximum results, we do recommend combining a multivitamin with other supplements to boost the benefits of “synergistic compounds” that work together.
There are two options here – and we’re going to use the Performance Lab range to demonstrate that point. One is pro-muscle, the other is anti-fat.
For muscle gains, you can combine a multivitamin with a performance-boosting supplement. The Performance Lab SPORT T-Booster is our favorite example. The synergies here come from high-quality fats (key to absorbing vitamins) and the pro-anabolism nutrients and flavonoids.
If you’re on the comp prep approach – or just cutting fat to improve your physique – fat burner supplements combine well. Performance Lab SPORT Fat Burner highlights BioPerine (a pro-absorption extract) and compounds to increase calorie-use and fat-oxidation, respectively.
Combining multivitamins with other supplements makes the most of all these nutrients. These are just two examples from a long list of effective supplement synergies.
The best multivitamin does the simple things really well: combats deficiency, supports optimal levels, and uses great sources.
If you’re not taking a wide-ranging vitamin and mineral supplement, then you’re already behind. You need to support these key compounds and taking them separately is a logistical and financial hassle.
Performance Lab Whole-Food Multi is a great way to support these needs – especially in combination with other, synergistic nutrients. Getting the most is about picking what works and leveraging it for maximal results.
Put vitamins and minerals near the top of your priority list and you’re one big step closer to maximal results.