Your diet should be as balanced as possible.
And if we truly give ourselves some time for reflection, we can probably admit that this isn’t always the case.
Life gets in the way, and it’s hard to find the time and money to eat enough nutritious food to provide our temple with a wide array of vitamins and minerals each week.
Especially if we have specific goals in mind
Fortunately, there is a way to keep our body in tip-top shape, without having to eat more every day or adapt our lifestyles to fit around getting every bit of nourishment doctors to recommend.
By taking vitamin supplements as an addition to your hearty diet, you can wake up more energized, have fewer aches and pains, and build muscle a lot more efficiently.
So, what are vitamin supplements, and which should you take?
Do they even work?
Well, let’s find out.
What Are Vitamins?
Vitamins, often paired with their mineral counterpart, are micronutrients that are essential to performing normal functions in everyday life.
From aiding with digesting food, to helping oxygen absorb into our blood, to even helping us go to the bathroom, it is so important for us to make sure we are consuming a sufficient amount of each of these organic substances.
For these supplements to be in an effective surplus, we must ensure we are ingesting at least the daily recommended intake.
For example, 1.4mg of Vitamin B1, 75mg of Vitamin C, and 10mg of Vitamin E.
You may have to also be wary of the number of vitamins you consume. Too much of a certain supplement can cause toxic effects.
For more information on the recommended intake, and the over dosage figures, check out this report by Lenntech here.
After giving those statistics a quick read, you may feel that you lack in some areas, and this could be harming your growth and recovery.
So, in order to counter this and prevent a vitamin deficiency, you may be inclined, or recommended by a doctor, to take a vitamin supplement once a day.
These can be general multivitamins, or specifically identified supplements to help improve your body’s immune system in restricted diets, or during pregnancy.
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Do Vitamin Supplements Work?
There’s a huge stigma around whether adding vitamin supplements to your diet actually works, or whether they are just a scheme to get people to buy empty tablets that they believe work.
However, others view supplements as a requirement in helping keep their system in top shape, especially in restricted diets such as vegetarianism, or allergies.
Companies cannot lie about what is in their tablets, and if it states that they contain nutrients, like vitamin D, then they will.
Unfortunately, some food supplements cannot be synthesized organically in the body, and so can only be consumed through diet.
If a bottle of multivitamin pills states that they can help increase your vitamin C levels, for example, this is not at all true and as it cannot be absorbed into the body.
So, overall, I believe that vitamin supplements work, however they should only be consumed where necessary, like in a deficiency, or when you are on a strict diet.
Other than that, you should aim to consume all vitamins through your food and drink choices.
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Should I Use Multivitamins?
Multivitamins have been mentioned a fair few times in this discussion already, and you are probably itching to find out what they are.
Well, it pretty much is what it says on the tin: One supplement, various vitamins.
The ingredients within one of these substances can change from brand to brand, with each one having a different composition, depending on what they aim to target.
Some have the aim of boosting your energy each day, while others claim they can reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Although some people swear by these, there is little research to prove that it has any effect on improving your health and lowering the risk of diseases.
Also, multivitamins are not as regulated as other dietary supplements by the Food and Drink Administration, making it extremely important that you read the label and buy from a well-known, trusted brand.
Some of these may go above or below the levels of nourishment stated in the nutritional information, making some options not that effective, and sometimes not very safe.
Finally, you should be extra careful with supplements that contain a lot of fat-soluble vitamins, rather than water-soluble vitamins.
If you do not stick to the dosage, there is no way for a fat-soluble nutrient to leave the body, causing internal damage to your organs. With water-soluble vitamins, they can be removed through your urine.
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How Can I Determine What Vitamins I Need To Take?
The easiest way to determine the nutrients you need to add to your diet is by stacking up the number of vitamins you consume each day against the recommended daily intake determined by the Food and Drink Administration.
I usually use an app on my phone called MyFitnessPal to record the food I eat each day, which creates a pretty good approximation of the macro and micronutrients I am consuming.
Then, I compare this to the recommended intake for a man my size, weight, and age and adjust it accordingly.
This can take a while, and if you are looking for a quick and simple way to determine the nourishment you are lacking and the vitamin gummies you should pick up, then a lot of drugstore websites will have a short quiz for you to fill in.
Often, this will ask you about the food you eat each day, along with information about yourself and how you feel, and give you recommendations on the vitamins you can take to feel healthier.
Again, it is a lot easier to adjust your diet to help consume a few more micronutrients, than avoid consuming fruit and veg because you are taking a supplement each morning.
It is a lot better for you to get your greens in than take a synthetically designed tablet to boost your metabolism and immune system.
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My Top 3 Vitamins I Take For A Healthy Lifestyle
One of the most famous micronutrients is Vitamin D, commonly known for its ability to be created from sunlight exposure on the skin.
Vitamin D is important to maintain the levels of calcium and phosphate in the body, helping to keep your bones and muscles healthy, while preventing diseases and deformities such as Rickets.
Not only is the sun a source of this type of nourishment, but you can consume it through foods such as red meats, egg yolk, and salmon.
Depending on the country you reside, vitamin D may also be fortified in Cow’s milk.
I recommend consuming this type of nutrient in supplement form during the darker parts of the year.
In the Autumn and Winter months, sunlight exposure may be at the bare minimum, meaning the amount of Vitamin D you produce naturally will be lower.
Also, if you have an office job that tends to prevent you from getting natural sunlight on the skin, you may want to consider utilizing supplements to reach the daily recommended intake.
So, why is it so important that you reach the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D?
Well, it is extremely useful for muscle growth, as it enhances the efficiency of recovery after a workout, and helps to reinforce your joints and tendons to reduce the likelihood of injuries.
Multiple studies would argue regular vitamin D and sunlight exposure is important for cognitive health and reducing the risk of heart and brain diseases.
Basically, if you didn’t have a reason to lounge about in the sun, now you do!
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Almost all B vitamins are important for ensuring our digestive system is working effectively to provide you with the energy you need, but B12 comes out ahead due to the dangers of having a deficiency.
Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin, is an important micronutrient that is commonly bound with the protein we eat, and disconnected in the stomach and large intestine via stomach acid and enzymes.
It is then absorbed into the body in the lower sections of the small intestine.
Due to its binding with protein, the most common foods that you will find a large surplus of B12 in are lean meats such as chicken, and turkey, with our body being unable to produce it naturally.
The main purpose of ingesting a sufficient amount of Cobalamin in the body is its vital support in the production of red blood cells, and its role in the normal function of your nervous system and DNA synthesis.
Not only this, but B12 has commonly been a large aspect of your energy and mood, with people who commonly have a lower amount than they require of this vitamin being more susceptible to mental and physical illness.
This is why a B12 supplement may be necessary for you, especially if you have a certain dietary need or a certain lifestyle you follow.
For example, a vegetarian may find it necessary to consume a B12 supplement, as they cannot consume the nutrient through natural sources of protein.
If this is avoided, a deficiency may occur, causing Anemia, Osteoporosis, or increasing the likelihood of heart disease.
You may also be inclined to take a Cobalamin supplement if you are particularly active, and tend to struggle with your energy levels throughout the day.
Keep in mind the recommended daily intake is 1.5 micrograms per day, and consuming more than this consistently can cause outbreaks of acne and other skin conditions.
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Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Okay, I understand that this isn’t exactly a vitamin, but if your main goals are for health and building muscle, then this trumps any other micronutrients.
Also, consuming Omega 3 through supplements such as Cod Liver Oil will provide you with a plentiful amount of Vitamin A and other B vitamins, creating a great source for improving your bodily health.
If you are wondering what Omega 3 Fatty Acids are, it is a dietary supplement found in foods, like oily fish.
They are a group of polyunsaturated fats, which are basically fats with a ton of health benefits.
While some fats are known for blocking arteries and causing cardiovascular disease, taking fatty acid supplements has been known to keep your heart, blood vessels, and other organs healthy and your immune system functioning at an optimum level.
As well as this, bodybuilders commonly take this type of supplement to build muscle, as it has been proven to increase the efficiency of protein synthesis and help with recovery by reducing muscle fatigue and soreness.
So, if you are looking to increase the amount of Omega 3 in your body, then I would recommend taking a tablet with Cod Liver Oil once a day.
These are fairly cheap and have been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce the blockages in the arteries, making it less likely you have a heart attack or stroke.
All of this while enhancing your muscle growth. It’s awesome.
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Overall, vitamin supplements are a great way for reaching the recommended daily intake and improving our overall health, physically and mentally.
However, you are better off doing this naturally, by changing your diet and increasing the amount of fruit and veg you eat, and consuming organic sources of micronutrients, rather than synthetic ones in the lab.
If your lifestyle prevents this, then a doctor will recommend taking these types of supplements for vitamins and minerals so your immune system doesn’t suffer and you contract diseases through deficiencies.
So, what are your opinions on vitamin supplements?
Which do you take on a daily basis?
Let us know in the comments below.