Vitamin and Antioxidant Supplementation

Many of you will have heard of strength/energy inducing supplements like creatine, and stimulants such as caffeine. But did you know that vitamins and antioxidants also play an important role in building muscle? The benefits they provide include a reduction in muscle soreness, removal of muscle destroying free-radicals and the introduction of nutrients for the muscle cells.

As this Australian Institute Of Sports report explains, protecting against the oxidative processes that occurs during exercise is important. A balanced diet can help combat these processes, but antioxidant supplementation can also help if your diet is lacking in certain areas. The antioxidant market has become huge in recent years, with a variety of players providing some very good products. In fact, if your diet is lacking in antioxidants, you could get all you need via supplementation. That’s not what’s recommended, you should always strive for that well-balanced diet. Nothing beats that. It’s just nice to know that you have something to fall back on if you don’t have enough of a specific antioxidant in your diet.

The Different Antioxidants Out There

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the range of antioxidants out there, and what they do for you. After all, how will you pick an antioxidant product if you don’t know anything about them?

Zinc: One of the most common minerals that could be missing from your diet, yet is essential for putting on muscle, is zinc. A zinc deficiency can result in a lower amount of growth hormones being produced. It also increases muscle strength and performance, as AZ Central reports. Finally, testosterone levels are increased, which have a range of other benefits in addition to improved physical performance.

Vitamin C: As this article reports, vitamin C decreases the amount of exercise released cortisol. This is beneficial because cortisol breaks down lean muscle mass and promotes the storage of fat. Another benefit of Vitamin C is the reduction of inflammation and free-radicals, as a study published in the Archives of Pharmacal Research suggests.

Calcium: This is another popular nutrient. As JISSN explains, 99% of the calcium in the human body is present in our bones, the last 1% is present in our cells. The truth is that when calcium in the cells becomes low, the body can simply draw from the bone deposits. If too much calcium is drawn from the bones then it could lead to bone related diseases such as osteoporosis, not ideal for anyone trying to bulk up. Furthermore, as TrueStar Health reports, calcium can also reduce the occurrence of muscle cramps.

Chromium: This nutrient is used for the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. A study published in the Nutrition Reviews illustrates the importance of chromium for weight loss and obtaining the right body composition. However, modern food is more refined than it used to be and as a result chromium levels are lower. The need for chromium supplementation has never been greater.

Muscle Soreness And Post-Workout Recovery

One of the main roadblocks to muscle growth is the post-workout recovery period. After a grueling workout your muscles are sore, and if you are starting out then you might have to wait days before you can hit the weights again. This is counter-productive when all you want to do is workout as often as possible to get those gains. Fortunately, antioxidants can help you with that.

As an article by Sports Performance Bulletin explains, free radicals can break down exercise damaged muscle tissue post-workout. It goes on to say that muscle soreness peaks 24 hours after a workout because that is when most of the breakdown occurs. However, with an antioxidant system that is fully functioning, the effects of these free-radicals can be minimized.

As a result, muscle soreness will be reduced and more lean muscle mass will be retained. Thereby, your results will be better overall and your body will be able to cope with frequent workouts. There are a variety of supplements that incorporate the different antioxidants that are needed.

For Those Of You That Are Skeptical

The truth is that you don’t have to take antioxidant supplements, your body can deal with the problem for the most part. And what’s more, as you begin to train harder, your antioxidant defense system will greatly improve as a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests. The general rule of thumb is that as you train harder your body will adapt in numerous ways to meet the demands.

However, when there are supplements that can help, no matter how small the help will be, why not utilize it?  Being proactive about improving your chances of success is a great strategy. As the film producer Samuel Goldwyn said: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

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