We are now living in a fast-paced world. There’s a whole lot of appliances that can make chores done a million times faster. A bunch of food can be prepared in an instant. And the list would go on and on. But with our health, are we willing to take on this route? Are we willing to make a shortcut just to have that perfect body physique or that six-pack muscle abs that you’ve been dreaming since you were a bouncy, round teenage boy?
The answers, of course, will definitely vary. But if you are one amongst those who want to achieve an honest to goodness beautiful body, done through a healthy way, I’ll let you in on a not so secret, but very helpful tip. Just make sure to give it your attention, ‘coz this will definitely save you lots of dinero and gain more wonderful practice.
Are you aware that there are certain vitamins and minerals which are vital for muscle growth as well as it’s maintenance? They are just as important as proteins. These help us perform at our optimal level. They function essentially from muscle relaxation, prevention of cramps, and of course, proper growth of muscles. Let us dig deeper into some specifics.
Vitamins Which Contribute to Muscle Growth and Their Sources
1. Vitamin D.
Our sunshine vitamin. This is best known as the vitamin which keeps our bones strong. But this is also critical for strong glutes, biceps and everything in between.
Vitamin D is related to testosterone, a hormone which helps in muscle maintenance and growth. A study led by Dr. Hassan Smith indicated that people who had a higher lean mass and muscle mass also had a higher level of active Vitamin D. It suggested that active Vitamin D may help to optimize muscle strength.
Food sources: Fatty fish like salmon and sardines, fortified yogurt, milk, oranges, mushrooms, eggs
Intake: 4000 to 6000 IU daily
2. Vitamin C.
Our super anti-oxidant vitamin, our go-to vitamin for everyday health maintenance and even for some minor illness like colds. Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in our body. It helps in fighting inflammation from excessive exercise. It supports collagen production and is necessary for keeping the immune system and the testosterone levels up.
Food sources: Oranges, cantaloupe, pineapples, mango, grapefruit, kiwi, broccoli, cauliflower
Intake: National Institute of Health recommends 75 mg daily, but, since this is water soluble, there really is no overdose of Vitamin C.
3. Vitamin E.
The skin vitamin. This helps remove free radicals which are normally produced after a workout. To further support the relationship of Vitamin E in muscle growth, it has been shown in studies led by Dr. Paul L. Mcneil at the Medical College of Georgia in Georgia Regents University, that every cell in our body has a plasma membrane, and that every membrane can be torn. And part of how we build muscle is a more natural tearing and repair process – that is the no pain, no gain principle – but if that repair does not occur, what you will be getting is muscle death. If that occurs over a long period of time, what you will get is muscle wasting disease.
Food sources: Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, safflower, green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains.
Intake: 15mg per day. Be careful not to consume above 300mg in a day, this may lead to nausea, stomach pain, or weakness.
4. B Vitamins. (B6, B9, and B12 in particular).
These three are part of the more popularly known B complex, which consists of eight vitamins. Vitamin B6 is needed to support the absorption of Vitamin B12. These B vitamins are essential in the production of red blood cells and immune system cells, both of which are invaluable to muscle growth and repair. Taking folic acid (B9) in combination with B6 and B12, can reduce homocysteine levels and improve nitric oxide production and endothelial function. The end result is improved blood flow and nutrient delivery to working muscles.
Food sources: Poultry, meat, fish and dairy products
Intake: 2.4 mcg daily
5. Vitamin A.
Our eye vitamin. This supports protein synthesis, a process which is essential for muscle growth. Vitamin A helps in the breakdown of protein during the muscle repair process. IT plays an important role in providing more structural strength to muscles by promoting bone development and stimulating young cells to mature at a quicker rate.
Food sources: Eggs, cheese, beef liver, carrots, squash
All done with the vitamins, let us now proceed to the minerals.
This is not only for our bones, but this is also a necessary trigger for our muscles to contract. Our muscles basically rely on calcium to be able to perform efficient muscle contractions.
Food sources: Yogurt, fortified milk and cereals, cheese, tofu, spinach
Intake: 1,200 mg daily. Choose one with Vitamin D, for better absorption. Take them hours apart, if a supplement, since our body can only take in as much as 500 to 600 mg at a time.
This is the mineral necessary for muscle relaxation which therefore prevents cramps. This helps our body to produce more insulin-like growth factor which is an essential part of long-term muscle growth.
Food sources: Green leafy vegetables, beans, and other legumes, squash, nuts, and seeds, whole grains
Intake: 310 to 320 mcg daily. May increase up to 400mg if lifting weights three or more days a week.
Just like calcium and magnesium, potassium is a key electrolyte in muscle contraction. It is also essential for carrying other nutrients to the muscles. It transports water, along with other nutrients, into the muscle cells. This helps regulate nerves and muscles in our body. It is an integral part in the degree and frequency in which our muscles are able to contract. It also controls the degree to which our nerves become excitable.
Food sources: Spinach, collards, grapes, blackberries, carrots, potatoes, oranges, grapefruits, bananas
This is the mineral that carries the oxygen to the muscle tissues, therefore improving muscle function. It helps muscle cells match the supply of oxygen required by muscles that are working and undergoing stress. This is definitely important for muscles to perform at their optimal rate.
Food sources: Dried beans, dried fruits, eggs, liver, lean red meat, oysters, poultry, dark red meat, salmon, tuna, whole grains, spinach
Now, isn’t it wonderful that all of these food sources for the vitamins and minerals are very easy to find? You can always grab a few right away or a bunch properly stored at home. Or, you can also choose to take pharmaceutically-prepared sources. Your life, your choice!
So what are you waiting for? Get up, exercise, eat healthily, balance your food intake. What we have presented here are just guidelines to help you better understand the role of vitamins and minerals in helping you build that muscle. It’s now time for you to take action. Do what needs to be done and most of all, enjoy doing it. Live healthily, live it to the fullest. This is the only way to happiness, a full heart, and a healthy body.