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The Importance of Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation
Modern society has been a boon to the human population, but it has a dark side as well. Today, western civilization enjoys some of the highest standards of living in the history of mankind.
There is an abundance of food that is unprecedented in human history. The poor of today don’t starve to death; it is much more common for them to be obese. The problem today is not a lack of food in sheer quantity; it is a lack of nutritious foods to fuel our bodies to optimal health and performance.
It isn’t only the poor that are suffering; in excess of 60% of our society is overweight. Diet related ailments such as cancer and diabetes are more prevalent today than at any other time in our history.
What is causing these problems? The same mass production technology which has given everyone enough to eat has robbed our foods of the health benefits that were once derived from our diet. Modern food preparation and processing techniques have stripped our foods of their natural vitamin and mineral content and it has been replaced by sodium, altered fats, and refined sugars. Of course, even in relatively unprocessed foods the levels of vitamins and minerals are dangerously low due to the fact our soil has been stripped by modern farming methods. It is a silent crisis of unparalleled proportions.
The healthiest people in the world are those who consume natural foods which are rich in vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, it is impractical in our fast moving society for most individuals to be able to consume the necessary quantities of health promoting, truly natural foods. This is where supplemental vitamins and minerals come into play. I will not claim that supplemental vitamins and minerals are as healthy or effective (on a dose for dose basis) as those naturally occurring in foods, but their inclusion in your diet is paramount to your ability to reclaim the vibrant health which is your right! We should not settle for ill health and shortened lives when we can do something which will greatly enhance our likelihood of obtaining optimal health.
In my opinion, there are certain vitamins and minerals which stand out as being essential for both good health and the best results possible from your training in the gym. They are as follows:
Vitamin A: is a fat soluble vitamin which helps to protect you against pollution and infection by maintaining the health and integrity of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs; builds strong bones, teeth, and rich blood. (1)
Vitamin C: is a water soluble vitamin whose importance cannot be overstated; is a natural antihistamine; (1) aids in the formation of collagen which is integral to the connective tissues; is thought to help lessen the effects of the common cold. (2)
Vitamin D: is integrally tied to our absorption of calcium; can play a role in the reduction of risk for some common cancers.
Vitamin E: supplies oxygen to the muscles; can act as a natural anticoagulant; can act to prevent wasting and weakness of muscle tissue. (1)
Magnesium: has been shown in studies to support strength training; can act as an antacid; (1) in a deficiency state has been implicated with adverse cardiac events; (3) is central to a variety of cellular mechanisms which control activity of muscle and nerve cells. (3)
Zinc: has been shown in studies to support increased strength when combined with resistance training; helps to heal wounds at an increased rate; (1)
The correct dose for each of the above vitamins and minerals can vary individually, but you should be fine with the following daily supplemental recommendations:
- Vitamin A – 5000 IU
- Vitamin C – 500 mg
- Vitamin D – 400 IU
- Vitamin E – 400 IU
- Thiamin – 100 mg
- Riboflavin – 100 mg
- Niacin – 100 mg
- B6 – 100 mg
- Folic Acid – 400 mcg
- B12 – 100 mcg
- Biotin – 100 mcg
- Pantothenic Acid – 100mg
- Magnesium – 350 mg
- Zinc – 30 mg
My recommendation for a good Multi-Vitamin supplement is Multi-Plus by AtLarge Nutrition.
So, get on the road to better health and vitality and start supplementing your diet with the right kinds of vitamins and minerals!
Written by Chris Mason
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1. Linda Clark. Know Your Nutrition. Paperback Edition. Connecticut: Keats Publishing, 1973.
2. Dr. Franco Columbu. The Bodybuilder’s Nutrition Book. Contemporary Books, 1985.
3. Klevay L, Milne D. Low dietary magnesium increases supraventricular ectopy. Am J of Clin Nutr 2002; 75: 550-554.