Achieving your goals in the gym isn’t revolving only around lifting weights and drinking protein shakes here and there.
In fact, it’s more about building a lifestyle that will help you make progress towards a balanced body and mind.
Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of this process, as they help you close the nutritional gaps.
So, if you were looking for ways to improve your diet and hence your musculature, 5 best multivitamins for bodybuilders — as well as their benefits, scientific facts, and dosage — are listed below.
- 1 Top 5 Multivitamins for Athletes
- 2 What Is a Vitamin?
- 3 What Are Multivitamins and Why Do Athletes Need Them?
- 4 Key Differences Between a Standard Multivitamin Supplement and an Athletic Blend
- 5 Are Vitamins for Active Men and Women Different?
- 6 So, What to Look For in Athletic Supplements?
- 7 Benefits of Multivitamins for Athletes
- 8 Recommended Dosage and Possible Side Effects
- 9 Frequently Asked Questions
- 10 Conclusion
Top 5 Multivitamins for Athletes
Animal Pak Multivitamins
Animal Pak is so far the best multivitamin for bodybuilders due to its balanced formula that contains all the needed nutrients: B vitamins, fat-soluble group, essential minerals, amino acids, performance complex, digestive enzymes, and antioxidants. Thus, you will get a full-fledged supplement that will support you in achieving your goals.
All of this comes packaged in small sachets (one sachet = one serving) that are convenient to take to the gym and use right before the training session. Note that one sachet contains as many as 11 tablets, with some of them being quite big, so swallowing them all one by one may be a difficulty for some.
One jar of Animal Pak is available in 30 and 44 counts, and you can choose between berry and orange flavors as well as go with the unflavored option.
Controlled Labs Orange Triad Multivitamins
Another candidate among the best multivitamins for bodybuilders is this complex by Controlled Labs. Purchasing this supplement, you can expect to get a full multivitamin kit along with proprietary Joint and Flex complex. Also, the manufacturer includes digestive enzymes to the formula to support your gut motility and immune system.
One jar of the Controlled Labs vitamins packs 270 tablets; the serving is equal to 6 tablets, which means the whole bottle will last for 45 days. You can split the recommended dosage into smaller amounts and take them throughout the day or take all 6 pills with your first meal.
MuscleTech Advanced Multivitamins for Men & Women
Moving further with this MuscleTech multivitamin complex. Packed with all the necessities a bodybuilder may need, this supplement is suitable for both men and women.
Along with a balanced vitamin complex, the Muscletech multivitamin provides you with amino support, digestive enzymes, and minerals. Also, the manufacturer uses herbal complex, which contains adaptogens, immune-boosting herbs, and neuroprotectors to boost your recovery.
In order to take your daily dose, you need to swallow just 3 tablets, which is little, compared to other multivitamins, and hence more convenient. This supplement is available only in a 90-count jar.
Optimum Nutrition Opti-Women Multivitamins
If you’re a female athlete and are looking for the best multivitamins for bodybuilders that are designed specifically for women, then Optimum Nutrition can be the right fit. This complex contains 23 vitamins and essential minerals. Also, it’s enriched with an herbal blend of adaptogens, bioflavonoids, and antioxidants.
A serving size is two capsules per day; therefore, a 120-count single bottle of Opti-Women will last you for two months.
The only issue with this supplement is that it may contain soy derivatives and hence cannot suit people who are allergic to soybeans.
Legion Triumph Multivitamins
Legion Triumph has designed one of the best multivitamins for bodybuilders with high potency and fast effects. This complex packs 21 vitamins and essential minerals and 14 phytonutrients that will help you recover between workouts faster and protect from illnesses.
The whole jar counts 240 capsules and will last you for 30 days, as the manufacturer suggests you take eight capsules at a time. This might be challenging for some people, so you can split this serving into smaller batches and take them throughout the day.
What Is a Vitamin?
The term ‘vitamin’ refers to a group of compounds that are needed for different physiological processes but don’t have any nutritional value, meaning that your body cannot convert them into calories. They help your body synthesize amino acids, build cellular membranes, protect the cells from free radicals, and much more.
All vitamins can be divided into two main groups:
- Water-soluble. All B vitamins and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are water-soluble. Your body cannot store them, so it just removes the excess with the urine, which can sometimes give it weird colors.
- Fat-soluble. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and can accumulate in your fat tissue until your body uses them.
“Vitamin B9 and B12 have proven health benefits for vegans, as they help treat certain types of anemia and regulate hormones during pregnancy. Thus, if you’re a vegan, it’s necessary to make sure these vitamins are present in your diet or take supplements containing them.”
What Are Multivitamins and Why Do Athletes Need Them?
Now, the term ‘multivitamin’ is applied to supplements containing more than three vitamins and/or minerals per serving. Typically, all multivitamins contain the set of B vitamins, ascorbic acid, fat-soluble vitamins, and some essential minerals, such as iodine, zinc, chromium, magnesium, and so on.
The proportion of the vitamins inside the pill may vary, but the overall amounts will stay within the allowed limits.
So, why may a bodybuilder — who supposedly is a person with an active lifestyle and a balanced diet — need additional supplementation with multivitamins?
Well, there could be several reasons:
- Their metabolism is faster. Athletes have an increased need for micronutrients because their cells work faster compared to an average person.
- They have different fluid balance. When you work out, you sweat a lot. Some micronutrients and electrolytes can excrete with sweat, so you may need them in increased amounts later.
- Athletic body composition requires different proportions of vitamins. Fat deposits in those who have an athletic body are usually smaller, which means smaller amounts of fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body.
“Muscles are the most energy-consuming tissue in your body, so you need more vitamins and minerals to maintain their healthy growth and recovery.”
Key Differences Between a Standard Multivitamin Supplement and an Athletic Blend
Now, let’s outline the main differences between supplements for bodybuilders and vitamins for an average person:
- High potency. Typically, athletic supplements contain higher doses of vitamins compared to standard multivitamins. Some of them can even rich the tolerable upper limit for particular components.
- Amino acids. Along with vitamins, many manufacturers add into their formula semi-essential and essential amino acids, which serve as a recovery boost.
- Adaptogens and other components. To prevent athletes from getting overtrained or having digestive issues, a manufacturer may add a blend of digestive enzymes or herbal complex.
Are Vitamins for Active Men and Women Different?
Well, in a couple of words: not that much.
According to scientific data, both men and women have very similar needs when it comes to vitamin intake, and the overall differences are insignificant.
And yet, there are some essential nuances one should consider when choosing the supplements.
Most vitamins for men should have increased amounts of zinc, as this mineral helps boost testosterone. Testosterone is important for men’s vitality and aids in muscle building.
Also, men need more nutrients with cardioprotective properties, such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamin D.
Contrary to women, men don’t have that much estrogen that would protect them from getting a heart attack.
Female multivitamins, on the other hand, typically are more abundant in calcium and iron than male supplements. Increased amounts of iron are needed to compensate for blood loss during menstruation, while calcium prevents osteoporosis, which is a risk in pregnant women. Note that calcium requires vitamin D to absorb correctly, so when the calcium amount increases, the amount of D vitamin should be increased too.
Another mineral important for women is iodine. Women are more prone to developing thyroid disorders than men, and this prevalence increases with age. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and prevents hypothyroidism.
So, What to Look For in Athletic Supplements?
Now that you have a better understanding of what multivitamins are and why you need them, let’s summarize the main things you should look for in a balanced multivitamin blend:
- Variety. According to Harvard Medical School, there are 30 essential vitamins and minerals. If your blend contains at least 20 of them, it can be considered a decent supplement.
- Potency. Look for multivitamins with the content of essential components being in the range of 100-500% of the recommended daily intake. It is optimal for most vitamins, as some of them can inhibit the absorption of others and you may need increased amounts to compensate for this.
- Purity. Avoid artificial additives and ballast compounds and opt for companies producing specifically sports nutrition rather than mass-market supplements. Also, be sure that the company performs independent testing and meets international standards.
- Additional features. Herbal blends, digestive enzymes, amino acids, and other useful components can make a great addition to the overall effect you get from your supplementation.
“Some vitamins and minerals are absorbed less efficiently compared to others. In this case, the manufacturer may include them to the formula in higher amounts — 500% of the recommended daily intake or even more.”
Benefits of Multivitamins for Athletes
So, what are the main multivitamin benefits for physically active individuals?
There are plenty of them, actually. But we should look at least at the three key ones:
- Mass building. Certain nutrients take part in protein synthesis, so their depletion can slow down your progress if your goal is building lean muscle mass. That’s why supplementation with trace minerals and vitamins can be an important part of the diet for active people.
- Improved performance. Certain vitamins play a role in cellular metabolism and help your body cells obtain more energy from fermenting glucose or burning fat. Thus, they can help you increase your overall performance and shorten the recovery time.
- Better overall health. Finally, a balanced vitamin intake helps you maintain better health and makes you less prone to different illnesses.
Recommended Dosage and Possible Side Effects
Although multivitamins have many positive effects on your overall health, they are still considered dietary supplements. This means that the FDA doesn’t regulate their production, and it’s nearly impossible to outline the proper multivitamin dosage that would work for all.
So, even though most compounds inside a multivitamin complex are harmless for you, you still have to be cautious about some of them:
- Fat-soluble vitamins. Since vitamins A, D, E, and K can be stored inside your body, their accumulation can lead to overdose and poisoning.
- Heavy metals. Zinc, copper, and iron are heavy metals, and they also can build up in your body tissues, which can lead to an upset stomach, teeth staining, and poisoning.
- Some trace minerals. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium taken in large doses can cause muscle weakness or uneven heart rate.
Along with that, having stomach issues or an overly sensitive digestive system makes you more prone to the most common multivitamin side effect — digestive distress.
Never exceed the dosage recommended by the manufacturer.
And what’s even more important:
Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
A specialist will prescribe the supplement according to your needs, and if you follow the instructions, you will avoid unpleasant symptoms in the long term.
Also, note that some medications can mess up with multivitamins and alter their effects:
- Diuretics. Diuretics, or water pills, increase urination and therefore might flush out more water-soluble vitamins than your organism would naturally do.
- Antacids. These medications drop the acidity of the gastric juice and hence, may decrease the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics adversely impact gut flora, which absorbs vitamins, and you might get fewer nutrients from your supplementation course.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are multivitamins worth it?
If you’re following a diverse diet that meets your nutritional needs, you don’t need to take complex vitamins. It is reasonable to do a blood test to see if you need any specific nutrients and if you do, take supplements containing just them.
Active people may have a faster metabolism and therefore may need increased amounts of nutrients that cannot be replenished from their diet. Especially if they are avoiding certain groups of foods or are cutting their calories. In this case, multivitamins will help close these nutritional gaps.
Can I take multivitamins along with other sports nutrition?
Sure, you can split your multivitamin dosage throughout the day and take it with other sports nutrition supplements, such as BCAA or pre-workout complex, for a more balanced effect.
How to find vegan multivitamin options for bodybuilders?
Avoid softgels and gummies, as they typically contain gelatine. And read the labels thoroughly, especially the part listing additional ingredients. Magnesium stearate, for example, might be derived from pork, so it’s better to ignore it as well.
The best supplement forms for vegans are drops and liquids, as well as tablets and powders, as these typically don’t contain any animal-based additives.
Can I take sports multivitamins if I’m not working out?
The main difference between the athletic blend and average multivitamins is the dosage of some ingredients. And if the water-soluble compounds can easily be flushed away, the accumulation of fat-soluble vitamins, as well as some trace minerals, inside your body may cause unpleasant and symptoms and even pose a threat to your health.
Can I get multivitamin overdose?
Yes, you can overdose on multivitamins.
Zinc, copper, and iron are heavy metals, and their excessive buildup in your body tissues can provoke poisoning. Fat-soluble vitamins can have adverse effects on the liver and pancreas. That’s why it’s better to supplement yourself according to your needs and discuss the course duration with your nutritionist.
Multivitamins aren’t a universal solution for everyone. But if you live an active life, train hard regularly, and do not get all the nutrients from your diet, you may benefit from taking supplements containing a diverse panel of vitamins, minerals, and other important components.
Since multivitamins contain many ingredients, it’s better to consult your nutritionist prior to buying a particular supplement. Your doctor will help you choose the most suitable blend that will meet your needs without provoking any side effects.