When you think about supplements, what are the first thoughts that go through your mind? Whey protein, nitric oxide, creatine, fat burners, etc.ect.
What if I told you that the most important supplement that you must have in your arsenal is not on this list? I am talking about your basic multivitamin. Oh, you don't take them? If not, you better change that immediately if you want to meet your fitness goals.
WHAT IS A MULTI AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?
For the human body to complete all the tasks it has in a normal day, it must be given a wide and complex variety of vital nutrients. Becoming deficient in any one of these essential vitamins or minerals causes breakdown of the metabolic pathway that produces optimum efficiency and performance goes down quick. Obviously, this is NOT what you want!
Bodybuilders, athletes, and people that lead active lifestyles need even more nutrients than the average non-active person.
THE FOUNDATION OF A GOOD SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM
Multis are not normally advertised to help you increase your bench by x pounds in y days. Without the multi, I am convinced that the other supplements you take will not be as effective. Not only is the multi the foundation of a great supplement strategy, it should be the first thing you take care of. First thing when you get up in the morning, take your multi. Done. You are now ready to go with whatever it is you have to do for the day. If you are in serious training, then you'll find support for faster recovery by taking your multi as soon as you finish working out.
WHAT MAKES UP A MULTI?
Now some multis have small differences from others, but for the most part, the multi is comprised of the same individual vitamins and minerals. Even though they are normally packaged together in multis, there are differences between the two.
Vitamins are organic. They are more complex than minerals. All vitamins are required by our bodies for survival. Vitamins control the chemical reactions within the body to convert food into energy and living tissue. They are either water soluble which must be taken daily since they are not stored in the body (Vitamin C and all of the B Vitamins) or fat soluble, which are stored in the body (A, D, E, and K).
A - Vision, healthy skin and mucous membranes, bone and tooth growth, immune system health
B complex - Important for nerve function, normal vision and skin health, nervous and digestive systems
C - Immune system and protects cells
D - Absorption and use of calcium
E - Powerful antioxidant
K - Bones, teeth and cartilage health
Zinc - Immune System Health
Minerals are inorganic. They are much simpler in chemical form than vitamins. They are much more stable in food preparation than vitamins also. Minerals are categorized as major/macro - (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur), and trace/micro- (iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, fluoride, molybdenum, copper, and manganese) minerals.
Major minerals we need in dosages greater than 100 mg a day. The trace minerals we only need "trace" amounts of daily to suffice. Minerals are used to produce necessary hormones. A simpler way to remember this is that all minerals are found on the periodic table.
Mineral Basic Function
Boron Metabolism of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous
Calcium Strong and healthy normal bones
Chromium Insulin Production Copper- Strengthen connective tissue
Iodine Thyroid Hormone Synthesis
Iron Carries oxygen within protein hemoglobin
Lutein Eye Health
Lycopene Heart Health, Supports Healthy Cholesterol
Magnesium Over 300 biochemical reactions of body
Manganese Co-factor in energy production, activator of many enzymes
Molybdenum Supports normal liver and kidney health
Nickel Healthy skin and bone structure
Potassium Used by Autonomic Nervous System (heart beat, brain function)
Selenium Fights against many health problems
Vanadium Works with Molybdenum
IT DOESN'T END THERE
Now that isn't all there is to the multivitamin phenomenon. There are other factors that must be considered. Men and women need different nutrients for their bodies to do what they need to do every day. Therefore, men and women's multivitamins are going to have differences.
Hopefully by now you know and appreciate the true value of what a multivitamin means to your bodybuilding and fitness goals. The protein, energy drinks, and all the others are great, but without a multi, you are not meeting your true physical fitness potential.
It doesn't matter whether you are male or female, young or old, bodybuilder, football player, or everyday gym rat. Your multi should be the first supplement you take every day.