Best Multivitamin for Bodybuilding
You can’t make the most of your body and physique without knowing all about your nutritional health. Every small improvement to your diet can boost your energy levels, cognitive and motor functions, metabolism, protein synthesis and more.
When it comes to bodybuilding, it’s not enough to train hard and often. You need to give your body and muscles the fuel they need to take those gains to their full potential.
Adding a daily multivitamin to your training and diet regiment can help plug any nutritional gaps you may have, plus ensure you have more than enough of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to become swole.
Because, trust us, if you don’t get the basics down right, you’re dooming your training, performance, and physique goals from the get-go.
Our favorite multivitamin for bodybuilders is:
Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi
This natural (and vegan friendly) multivitamin is made using a special process that makes the 27 vitamins and minerals included highly bio-available, making it easier for your body to absorb.
Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi also delivers more than 100% of your recommended daily value in 16 nutrients – many of those vital for bodybuilding – and generous dosages of many more.
It is also guaranteed to be free of banned substances, important for anyone who competes at any level as a bodybuilder, powerlifter, cross fitter or other athlete.
Why Bodybuilders Need Multivitamins
Here’s the reality: according to the USDA, most men in the United States are deficient in pretty much every nutritional category there is (save for meat and beans).
To meet recommended guidelines, they’d need to eat 350% more dark green vegetables and 150% more fruit each day… at a minimum.
Women too are likely to suffer from some nutritional deficiencies. Iron, for instance, is one of the most common deficiencies in the world, while nearly a third of the world’s population are short of iodine and just under a half of all people in the U.S. are likely to be deficient in vitamin D. Half of the U.S. population also consumes less than the daily required amount of magnesium and up to 90% of vegans and vegetarians in the U.S. may be deficient in vitamin B12.[i]
We could go on, but do you really need us to? You’ve surely got the big picture by now: it’s all too easy to miss out on important vitamins and minerals. Taking a good multivitamin like Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi can help to plug up any nutritional gaps you may have, and provide more than your daily optimal amount in several different nutrients.
After all, with the extra activity that bodybuilders and athletes do, you’ll need, and use, more of the vitamins and minerals than the average man or woman. You can bet that top athletes aren’t satisfied with just taking enough to be ‘clinically healthy’.
Protein alone doesn’t make muscle. The Best Fat Burners for bodybuilding alone don’t burn fat.
While you’re focusing on your macronutrients, don’t forget the micronutrients too. Vitamins and minerals are vital to encouraging your body to make, repair and retain muscle. You wouldn’t skimp on protein, so why risk nutritional deficiencies when you can take a good multivitamin to plug up the gaps?
Nutrient Deficiency – The Dangers
Men or women deficient in vitamins or minerals risk several problems, varying from:
- Poor energy levels
- Reduced exercise ability and performance
- Lack of progress in muscle growth and strength
- Struggles with muscle recovery
- Low moods
- Fall in testosterone production
- Hormonal issues
- Metabolic health concerns
- And many more!
The Right Nutrients Can Help Build Muscle Mass By…
- Strengthening Energy Transfer
Using your body effectively is all about the amount of energy you have; you need to gain it, store it, transfer it, and use it to build muscle and to recover. Being energy efficient helps to support the growth of muscles when you’re massing and maintain the muscles when you’re on a cut. Over the length of a career, that can make a significant difference to your physique.
Key nutrients for energy transfer include: B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, iron, copper.
SPOTLIGHT ON… B-Vitamins
The B vitamins – all eight of them – are immensely useful for their contribution to energy processes, effective metabolism, and muscle building. Being deficient in B vitamins is a huge concern for bodybuilders.
Vitamin B2, for instance, supports energy-yielding metabolism; B12 contributes to the nervous system and helps reduce feelings of fatigue. A sub-par energy balance in the body determines whether you are going to build or lose muscle, with deficiency risking catabolism. The vitamins B6 and B12 are particularly hard to get and tough to absorb, so make sure you choose a multivitamin with decent doses of each, delivered in highly bio-available forms.
- Aiding Hormonal Health
All too often, novice bodybuilders pay close attention to their macronutrient needs – protein, carbs etc.… – and ignore their micronutrient needs. But missing out on key vitamins and minerals will affect you at the hormonal level. You need your hormones to be working effectively or you’ll see big issues when trying to reach your bodybuilding goals.
Testosterone, growth hormone and insulin – all vitally important hormones for muscle gain – are closely tied into your vitamin and mineral intake, so it’s crucial to make sure you’re not deficient. In contrast, optimal nutrient levels will support growth and maintenance.
Optimize your hormonal health with vitamin D, chromium, iodine, zinc, and magnesium.
SPOTLIGHT ON… Vitamin D: Here’s something you might not know… vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin; it’s a prohormone – meaning that it’s a substance the body converts to a hormone. It’s a hormone produced by the kidneys which impacts blood calcium concentration and strengthens the immune system.
The body makes vitamin D via a chemical reaction when you’re in sunlight, but it’s estimated that up to 75% of Americans fail to get enough of it. Vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb calcium from the gut into the bloodstream and is therefore vital for strong bones. Recent studies also suggest healthy levels of vitamin D can improve muscle strength. [ii]
That’s not all that vitamin D does, of course, and too little of it will make you more prone to illness and infection, may cause obesity and is also linked to mood disorders such as depression.
Vitamin D is also crucial in regulating testosterone and brain health, both important for helping you to build muscle, and keep fit and muscular as you age.
- Boosting Metabolic Health
The last thing you need when bodybuilding is to hamstring the body’s natural processing of food and drink into energy. Unfortunately, nutrient deficiency can interrupt your metabolism. What you eat, drink and supplement can have a big influence on your Basal Metabolic Rate. Don’t forget that people with more muscles tend to have a faster metabolism as muscles require more energy to maintain than fat – you don’t want to hinder your own training with poor nutrition and sluggish metabolic health.
The key vitamins and minerals that contribute to metabolic health include the B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, Vitamin D, zinc, phosphorus, and manganese.
The B-vitamins are again essential here. B12 helps the body metabolize proteins and fats; B6 also helps metabolize protein. Meanwhile thiamine – B1 – is useful for processing fat, protein, and carbohydrates. A healthy metabolism will make sure the body uses the nutrients gained from the above for energy, as opposed to storing them as fat.
Magnesium is a critically common deficiency — some studies suggest that three-quarters of Americans do not meet their dietary requirements for magnesium.[iii] Magnesium supports hundreds of bodily processes and reactions, including acting as a key electrolyte and supporting the metabolism. You need magnesium to get the most from your food and energy.
- Contributing to Myoprotein Synthesis
Myoprotein synthesis is the way that your body builds muscle, and there are some vitamins and minerals that directly contribute to this process. Obviously, if you don’t consume enough of them, your muscle-building abilities will be limited. This will impact both your daily workout or training performance and your potential for muscle gain. It makes sense, therefore, that a reduced or weakened performance combined with a poorer recovery will significantly impact your results. The good news is that this is an easy fix by choosing a multivitamin with generous doses that doesn’t just look to ensure you’re clinically non-deficient, but also seeks to support optimum results.
Best nutrients for direct muscle gains include the B vitamins, vitamin D and K, zinc, magnesium, sodium, calcium, iron and phosphorous.
SPOTLIGHT ON… Zinc.
Zinc, a classic performance mineral, is another common deficiency. While it has more than 100 roles in the body, it’s particularly important for the maintenance of normal testosterone levels and protein synthesis. Low levels can interfere with hormonal health, reduce performance, and damage your muscle-sparing processes.
Men who do bodybuilding and strength training need decent levels of zinc to ensure male hormone health, which can fluctuate in response to training stress. Reduced levels of testosterone can also reduce muscle mass, exactly what you don’t want.
- Offering Support During Shredding.
A strong and varied vitamin and mineral intake doesn’t just support you to build muscle, it can help you to keep it during shredding. Fewer calories and less food during a cut = less nutrients, so you need to keep your intake of vitamins and minerals topped up. Otherwise, your gym performance will dip, and you’ll be placing additional stress on your body when it’s already at risk of muscle-breakdown.
The science is simple: make sure you get enough nutrients to support energy transfer and remind your body that it’s not starving. In turn, it helps to reduce catabolism and slow down muscle-waste when on a strict cutting diet.
What to Look for in a Multivitamin
When choosing a multivitamin, try to get one with generous dosages of these useful nutrients too…
Helps to protect cells from oxidative stress and plays a key role in repairing connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and fascia following exercise stress. You can’t lift big weights without healthy tendons and ligaments, so be sure to take vitamin C daily to keep tissues healthy. You’ll need them to make heavy lifting possible.
Vitamin K is often ignored by multivitamin manufacturers – probably because most people don’t even know it exists – but it can play a significant role in your health and training regimen. Vitamin K is needed for healthy bone and blood health, which may go some way to controlling the concerns about blood pressure during weight training.
We all know calcium is important for strong bones and teeth, but it’s also crucial for muscle excitability and contraction too – something you’ll need a lot of to reach your body’s physique potential.
To be honest, you’re not likely to find high concentrations of calcium in most multivitamins, despite its importance. That’s because it’s super easy to obtain enough calcium from your diet, easy to absorb it too.
The savvy multivitamin manufacturers save space for those compounds you may struggle to get or have difficulty absorbing instead. But make a note to ensure you’re adding enough of it to your diet in other ways.
Iron helps to transport oxygen from the lungs to the muscles, thanks to its role in hemoglobin. Iron is also needed to maintain high energy levels and keep the immune system strong.
Again, however, iron doesn’t tend to play a huge role in a multivitamin because it’s easy to source elsewhere and easily absorbed – from meat, poultry, and seafood. Women need more iron than men because of the impact of menstruation on the body.
Potassium is an electrolyte that helps to balance sodium and plays a significant role in reducing muscle soreness. It helps to tackle the build-up of waste products and calcium in the muscles and helps to regulate muscle contractions. Potassium has been identified as a shortfall nutrient by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 Advisory Committee, after a national survey identified that 98% of Americans fail to meet the recommended potassium intake.[iv]
There are many other important nutrients to support health – we’ve focused primarily here on the ones helpful to bodybuilders and muscle growth – but the truth is, if you’re missing out on important vitamins and minerals anywhere, it’s going to impact your health, and in turn your training and physique.
For that reason, we’d recommend choosing a multivitamin with as many nutrients you can get – with many near 100% recommended daily value. For bodybuilding purposes, also make sure the multivitamin focuses heavily on the B-vitamins and zinc, along with vitamins D, C and K.
What to Avoid When Choosing Your Multivitamin
As you know, we recommend Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi for Men or Women, and that’s partly because it avoids the following pitfalls. Whatever multivitamin you choose, make sure you check for this marketing hype:
- Proprietary blends: You do NOT want proprietary blends. The manufacturers of products with proprietary blends – in fact, let’s just call them what they are, ‘hidden blends’ – will tell you their formula is so super-secret that they don’t want to reveal it to competitors. In most cases, that’s misleading at best, downright scandalous at worst. Unscrupulous manufacturers hide behind proprietary blends – it hides poor dosages, poor ingredient selection and even unhealthy or dangerous ingredients. Even if decent substances are selected, hiding them behind a proprietary blend usually means they are not included in clinically effective dosages to work. Avoid.
- Promising you the world: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look for the manufacturers who back up their ingredient choice with sound science. Ethical manufacturers will only talk about realistic goals and won’t promise anything that can’t be achieved with hard work and credible science.
- Synthetic ingredients: All too often, synthetic ingredients are synonymous with being hard for the body to absorb. Look instead for products made with wholefoods or with special manufacturing processes to make them more bio-available.
Conclusion: Multivitamins for Bodybuilding
Multivitamins may not be as ‘sexy’ or as go-getting as flashy pre-workouts, BCAAs or the latest protein and carb shakes, but they are equally important for your bodybuilding goals. They provide the base for everything else to build upon; without them, your muscles won’t have the nutrients they need to grow, and your training and performance regiments will stall.
These micronutrients cover everything from energy transfer and metabolism to aiding muscle contractions, helping to tackle soreness and boost recovery. They are your ace in the hole.
We recommend Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi as our preferred multivitamin. It’s easily absorbed by the body, includes quality forms, has a strong emphasis on B-vitamins and is one of the cleanest supplements around. It is GMO, allergen, gluten, soy and additives-free, and is banned-substance free.
One other reason we like this multivitamin – it can be safely used with any of the Sports supplements range in the Performance Lab line, helping to boost your training further.