Most people consider a multivitamin as an unnecessary supplement for bodybuilders and athletes. It’s just for the regular people, they say. Well, that just isn’t true.
Multivitamins include a variety of vitamins and minerals, many of which are antioxidants, that help the body to run in the most efficient manner. When the body is lacking in certain nutrients, it gets weak. I’m almost certain that there are no bodybuilders or athletes out there that want a weak body. Do you?
The average person takes a multivitamin to bridge the gap between the vitamins they get through the food they eat, and the actual vitamins their body needs. It can be difficult to get enough vitamins through our food for a variety of reasons, usually because of our poor eating habits.
I know what you are thinking. As athletes and bodybuilders, we are pros at eating healthy. So why would we need a multivitamin? Well, keep reading.
What are the benefits of multivitamins?
So, considering that bodybuilders and athletes use their body to the full, it makes sense that more than anyone, you need a good supply of vitamins. Yes, you know how to eat well, but it is still hard to get all of your nutrition from your food, especially if you are putting more stress on your body than the average person.
I’m sure you supplement with protein daily. Why? You understand the importance of feeding your muscles with enough protein to grow big and strong but you can get that from food. It’s hard to get enough through your diet, isn’t it?
Same for your vitamins and minerals. I’ll let you in on a little secret, vitamins and minerals are just as important to achieving a strong, healthy body as protein. I know, that’s almost crazy to say, but it’s true.
Multivitamins are actually more beneficial than you think. They affect the body for good in many different ways that are valuable to athletes and bodybuilders.
Strengthens the immune system
Having a healthy supply of vitamins helps the body to fight off any germs or infections. Vitamin C is known for its ability to stave off the seasonal bugs but all vitamins help the body steer clear of sicknesses.
Helps with bone and muscle growth
Vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin D, as well as magnesium and calcium, are all good for bone and joint health. The B vitamins also help to increase energy and improve your muscle recovery rate. Along with vitamin E, zinc plays an important role in helping the muscles grow.
Vitamin A and vitamin E both have been proven to help combat inflammation. Athletes and bodybuilders commonly have problems with inflammation of the joints or
Delivers electrolytes to hydrate
Minerals such as sodium and potassium are important electrolytes needed to keep the body hydrated and replenish any lost during a sweaty training session.
In-depth research was done in Australia, trying to determine if multivitamins really worked. This study reviewed many different trials and it proved that multivitamins were effective in improving short-term memory recall. This can be useful for athletes by helping them remember plays or game strategy and bodybuilders can remember reps and the like.
Of course, many athletes and bodybuilders have a regular day job as well, so greater memory can trickle into everyday success as well.
Less DNA damage
Let’s face it, athletes and bodybuilders love to care for their bodies, but they can also be really hard on them. It isn’t easy on the body to be pushed to its limits, stretched and beat up beyond what some consider to be sane. This damage done to the body is called oxidative stress.
Multivitamins have been proven to slow the damage to the DNA, keeping you feeling younger for longer, cutting the risk of some types of cancers, and reducing the damage hard exercise can have on some organs.
This manuscript goes over how antioxidants (vitamins and minerals) help to combat the stress that exercise puts on the body.
How to take multivitamins?
How you take your multivitamin can directly affect its effectiveness. Because many of the vitamins in a multivitamin are fat-soluble, it is always best to take your multivitamins with food. However, some vitamins, like the B vitamins are best absorbed when taken on an empty stomach.
It is also highly suggested to take your multivitamins with water. It just makes it easier to swallow and ensure it makes it all the way down the jugular.
There are several different forms of multivitamins. The most popular is the capsule or pill form. They are easy to take and don’t leave any bad tastes in your mouth but some people have a hard time swallowing them. It can also be hard to know how well the body has disintegrated the pills, and so was your body able to absorb the vitamins?
Powder forms of multivitamins are available as an alternative. At least you will know that it won’t be a problem for your body to disintegrate the vitamin since it’s already in powder form. Powder vitamins are also a good choice for people who have undergone gastric bypass surgery. If you do choose to use a powdered vitamin it needs to be taken stirred into water or some other drink and make sure you don’t leave valuable vitamins at the bottom of the cup.
Another form of vitamins that have become popular in recent years is gummy vitamins. These are popular for kids or the kids at heart. They are more pleasant to take for sure. They are still a good option for those who have a hard time swallowing pills. Chewables are another good option as well. They actually tend to contain more vitamins than gummies because the chemical makeup of the gelatinous product sometimes rejects certain vitamins.
Lastly, you can also try liquid vitamins if none of these sound. One benefit of liquid vitamins is the ability to change the dose as you please. But some vitamins actually lose their potency the longer they stay in liquid form and some need to be refrigerated, making it less convenient for travel.
What is the best time to take multivitamins?
Most people take their multivitamins first thing in the morning with breakfast. There are some solid reasons to take your multivitamins at this time. For one thing, it ensures that you don’t forget to take it if it’s done at the beginning of the day in your home. Also, it gives your body the vitamins it needs for the rest of the day, possibly aiding in setting up for an energetic and productive day.
Also, we’ve already touched on the fact that many vitamins are best absorbed with some healthy fats (fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K). Also, taking vitamins with a meal means the food can buffer any possible discomfort from the vitamins settling on an empty stomach.
Some vitamins will boost your energy levels, such as your B vitamins, so it wouldn’t be smart to take those at night or you might have a hard time falling asleep.
Do multivitamins work and are they worth it?
There are over 25 different vitamins and minerals necessary for the body to function properly. Each of these vitamins and minerals is used differently in the body and are needed in different doses.
If you take a multivitamin properly, with the right dosage and at the right time, your multivitamin will work for you. It can be very difficult to get enough of all of the necessary vitamins your body needs from your foods and this is where multivitamins can bridge the gap.
Taking that into consideration, just because you take a multivitamin doesn’t mean you can eat unhealthy foods and still be at your best. A multivitamin does not replace your food and isn’t an excuse to eat like a slob. If you do your research and choose a reputable multivitamin with dosage and vitamins that you need, you will benefit greatly. Everyone can benefit from using a daily multivitamin(s) but especially those who are active. Why? Easy – with more energy output and more stress put on the joints, muscles, organs, and bones, your body will use these vitamins and minerals quicker and you will need to replenish them at a faster pace in order to keep up.
Multivitamins side effects and risks
Most multivitamins are harmless but some people have a sensitive stomach and this can cause some nausea or discomfort if you take multivitamins on an empty stomach.
Some vitamins can also be dangerous if taken at a large dose, such as your fat-soluble vitamins since they are stored in the body and not flushed out. To avoid this remember to always take the recommended dosage written on the bottle label and don’t mix concentrated vitamins with a multivitamin.
If you take any prescription medicines, ask your doctor if it’s safe to take a multivitamin.
How to choose a multivitamin for bodybuilders and athletes and what to look for?
There are certain vitamins that bodybuilders and athletes should make sure to supply to their bodies. It’s always best to get them through your diet but to be safe a multivitamin is a great way to ensure proper vitamin delivery. Here are the vitamins that should be included in this list:
B Complex vitamins
There are 8 B vitamins and all of them deliver great benefits for the athlete, mostly in energy production, nerve function, and muscle tissue repair. All are water-soluble and can’t be stored in the body. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, takes part in the conversion of glucose into energy. B2, riboflavin, also helps to produce energy but is also good for the skin.
Niacin, which is B3, converts carbs, alcohol, and fat into energy and helps to support the nervous system. Next is B5, pantothenic acid, which is mostly known to produce steroid hormones, helping with muscle growth but it also helps with metabolizing foods and alcohol.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, also helps produce steroid hormones, metabolize carbs and protein, and help the brain processes. Biotin, B7, converts fat and glycogen into energy as well as metabolizes amino acids.
Folic acid, the vitamin form of B9, helps to distribute oxygen around the body and contributes to cell growth. Last but not least is vitamin B12. This vitamin is responsible for using amino acids and fatty acids for energy production. It also helps with nerve cell health and mental focus.
Vitamin D is necessary to help absorb calcium into the body for strong bones. It also helps to build skeletal muscle and strengthen the nervous system. Also known as the sun vitamin, this vitamin is synthesized when the ultraviolet rays from the sun hit the skin. For this reason, it is especially important to take in the winter time and also by athletes living in areas where the weather is less sunny.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble and stored in the body so intake should be regulated. Excessive Vitamin D in the body can result in heart problems.
This vitamin is an antioxidant, meaning that it helps to decrease the oxidative damage caused by long bouts of exercise. Oxidative stress is directly linked with an increase in free radicals, the cancer-causing cells in the body.
It is a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be produced by the body or stored. It is helpful in protein synthesis and helps build collagen levels. This is an essential part of keeping your joints and connective tissue healthy. It even helps the body to regenerate the next vitamin, Vitamin E.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed through the liver and distributed throughout the rest of the body. This vitamin is also an antioxidant, reducing the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting it from diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin E is also involved in strengthening the immune system and metabolism. It is also helpful to promote healthy blood flow and keeping your arteries free from blood clots.
Yet another antioxidant to protect the body, selenium is another nutrient necessary for a healthy immune system. It is helpful for having a healthy reproduction system and thyroid gland function. An unhealthy thyroid can cause hormone imbalances and low metabolism.
Lack of selenium can cause male infertility, arthritis, and certain types of heart disease. It is also hypothesized that low selenium levels in the brain are a major cause of the cognitive decline in the elderly.
Calcium is important for bones in three ways; for bone strength, bone repair, and bone growth. When calcium and vitamin D levels are low in the body, this can cause poor bone density that can result in fractures and weak bones. Women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis in later years. Supplementing with calcium can help to prevent this.
Calcium is also a vasodilator which means that it widens blood vessels allowing blood to flow easier and deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles when they need them most. This mineral also helps with nerve transmitting and hormonal secretion.
This mineral is essential for endurance exercise because it helps to form the proteins that carry oxygen throughout the body. Without this mineral, the body cannot work at maximum capacity. Your muscles will cease to contract and your lung capacity will be scant.
Endurance athletes, such as cross-country runners and cyclists, should be extra aware of their iron levels. Also, those athletes that are vegetarian or vegan should also take extra iron because most iron comes from meat or animal products and the iron that you do get from plants needs the iron you get from meat in order to be absorbed by the body.
If an iron deficiency does happen, it can take up to 6 months to reverse so it’s important to check iron levels periodically and intervene as soon as possible by supplementing with iron when low levels are detected.
This is a mineral that greatly increases the body’s ability to build and repair muscle as well as produce energy. It is also helpful in strengthening the body’s immune system and help fight off infection and bacteria.
As a bonus, zinc helps to regulate the senses of smell and taste.
This is another mineral that helps with exercise endurance. It metabolizes fat, protein, and glycolysis and helps with the cardiovascular, immune, and neuromuscular system and regulates hormonal functions.
If an athlete is low in magnesium they will notice that they can’t put out effort as long as usual. This is because their body needs more oxygen to complete an intense exercise because their lack of magnesium created a deficit of blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the muscles.
Electrolytes (sodium, chloride, and potassium)
Electrolytes play an important role in the body. They are called electrolytes because they are minerals that hold an electric charge.
Electrolytes are crucial when you lose water through sweating, which if you are a real athlete, you’ll do a lot of that. They balance your water levels in the body and your body’s pH level. This ensures that all of your organs, including the heart, the brain, and your muscles, work at optimum levels.
10 Best multivitamins for male bodybuilders and athletes in 2019
Below we put together a list of top 10 multivitamins for active men based on a collaborative effort between ourselves and reviews from fitness experts and enthusiasts.
As someone who puts your body through physical stress during the workouts, you must ensure that you do not lack any essential vitamins in your diet. Multivitamins are an excellent and convenient choice that can help you meet your goals and stay healthy.
1. Animal Pak
This multivitamin was designed with the bodybuilder in mind. It contains all of the vitamins and minerals on the list and then some. The only one that it doesn’t contain is iron, which could be good because you don’t want to take iron if you don’t need it. It also includes 19 different amino acids including all of your BCAAs, as well as extra antioxidants and a digestive enzyme complex. Overall there are 60 different active ingredients in this multivitamin.
This product is also available in powder form if taking pills isn’t your thing. It costs a little more but there are more servings. Serving per serving, the price is the same, which is about 80 cents a day. This product has enough for 30 days in pill form, 44 in powder.
This multivitamin is perfect for the active male. It delivers all the necessary vitamins and minerals but also contains 8 different amino acids including the three BCAAs. Along with these essential ingredients, this product also has what they call a “phyto blend”. It consists of organic fruits and vegetables in powder form as well as some herbs and green tea powder. Since this product is made for men, they include some ingredients for that aid in male virility like saw palmetto and gingko biloba.
This product boasts having all the major vitamins and minerals at clinical doses. Each serving contains all of the vitamins on the list as well as chromium and iodine. It also contains some ingredients meant to combat stress, anxiety, and depression as well as boost energy levels. Each serving is 8 whole tablets which are supposed to be broken into two groups of four tablets twice a day.
This multivitamin takes a little different approach to their formula. They intentionally left out magnesium, calcium, and zinc because these minerals inhibit the absorption of other vitamins. It also contains BioPerine which is a product created to help the body absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. This vitamin does contain iron which isn’t the norm for a men’s multivitamin. It is just a multivitamin but with better absorption. Even the vitamins themselves are included in the most absorbable forms possible.
This multivitamin is similar to Opti-Men. It includes most of the vitamins and minerals but it lacks magnesium. It makes up for it with copper, chromium, manganese, and molybdenum. Like the Opti-Men, it includes a phytonutrient complex with green tea powder and a variety of organic fruit and vegetable powders. This complex delivers many of the phytonutrients that are so vital for perfect cellular communication. This multivitamin also uses BioPerine to help the bioavailability of the product.
This multivitamin has over 100% of the daily recommended doses of most vitamins and many of the minerals. It also includes an herbal matrix with ingredients such as green tea powder, green coffee bean extract, saw palmetto, ginseng, Echinacea, and turmeric. These ingredients help support the immune system and combat stress as well as increase energy. It also includes 865 mg of amino acids as well as two different enzymes for digestion.
This multivitamin has high amounts of your daily vitamins. It is especially high in your B vitamins so it will be great for your energy levels. It also includes an herbal blend with spirulina, gingko biloba, and green tea. Active Man also has BCAAs and other amino acids to help with muscle growth and repair. This vitamin also delivers extra antioxidants from citrus fruits, grapeseed extract, Co Q10, Astaxanthin, and Lutein. Last but not least, this vitamin has what they call a bioactive blend which has palmetto extract, flax seed, maca, and oyster extract. Most of these ingredients are good for your sexual and reproductive health.
This vitamin has special formulas for not only your daily needs of vitamins and minerals but also supports the immune system, digestive system, and helps to lubricate and strengthen the joints. The ingredients that help your joints include glucosamine and chondroitin. The digestive and immune system complex include Echinacea, ginger, bilberry and blueberry extract, and grape seed and raspberry seed extract. The flex complex formula contains bromelain, MSM, and hyaluronic acid.
9. NOW Adam
This multivitamin has a different philosophy. They claim that most multivitamins have unnecessarily high amounts of vitamins that your body doesn’t need. They only have the needed amount of vitamins your body can use each day and that leaves room for other ingredients that you can benefit from. This multivitamin has beta-carotene, saw palmetto, ginseng, aloe vera, and grape seed extracts. This multivitamin can be bought as a tablet, softgel, or vegan capsule. The tablets come in bottles of 60 and the servings are two per day. The softgel bottle contains 90 and two are taken a day. The veg capsules come in bottles of 90 but three are taken a day.
This formula is a powder multivitamin. It claims to be 100% absorbed by the body. It contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals as well as digestive enzymes, BCAAs and other amino acids, and extra antioxidants. This product also contains 25 mg of trace elements and is cold processed raw fruits and vegetable powder.
5 Best multivitamins for female bodybuilders and athletes in 2019
Below we put together a list of top 5 best multivitamins for active women. Just like men, you have to ensure that your body does not lack any essential vitamins so be sure to always have a good multivitamin in your daily diet.
This is the female version of #2 multivitamin for men. It contains most of the same vitamins and minerals but instead of the male health herbs, this product contains herbs especially helpful for women. These herbs include dong quai, chaste berry, and garcinia extract. This multivitamin also includes iron and folic acid, two vitamins that women need. Each bottle contains 120 capsules and you take two per day.
This product has all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for energy and health. One of the shining qualities of this vitamin is that it helps to prevent and alleviate varicose veins with the horse chestnut root extract and butcher’s broom. This vitamin will also help to alleviate PMS symptoms with dong quai and chaste berry. It’s also great for strengthening bones with its ostivone, and vitamins D and Calcium.
This multivitamin is the female version of the same brand Active Men. It still contains the BCAAs and extra amino acid but doesn’t have the herbal complex for men. It does contain iron, however, since many women need to replenish their iron stores after their menstrual cycle. It also has extra calcium to keep women’s bones strong.
This multivitamin has all the vitamins and minerals that a woman would need daily including folic acid, iron, and calcium. It also contains an herbal matrix meant to help fight fatigue and stress. It contains green tea extract for energy and gingko biloba and Rhodiola extract for stress and anxiety. It also contains biotin and collagen for great nails and hair.
5. NOW Eve
This product is the female version of NOW’s Adam. It contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals but also contains ingredients specifically for women. These ingredients include evening primrose, horsetail extract, and cranberry extract. It also contains extra antioxidants like lutein, lycopene, and CoQ10.