Vitamins are absolutely crucial for effective and normal functioning of the body; the need for vitamins becomes more important when exercising regularly. After a yoga, weights or cardio workout, muscle growth and repair kicks in at the cellular level: the cellular synthesis and repair of tissues requires a variety of vitamins. Visa versa, a lack of these vitamins can severely hinder growth, recovery and even mood.
It's recommended you get these vitamins through a varied and balanced diet but supplements can ensure you reach 100% of your RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance).
Key vitamins that aid fitness and exercise:
Often cited for its benefits for eye health, vitamin A is also relevant to fitness and exercise as it aids the breakdown of protein, which is essential for the growth and repair of muscles. In addition, vitamin A directly impacts the level of testosterone in the body, the most powerful muscle building hormone. Vitamin A is also provides more structural strength by enhancing the development of bones and stimulating the maturity of young cells.
Vitamin D, the “sunlight vitamin”, is well known for its benefits to the immune system - but it is also one of the most important vitamin for muscle growth and recovery. This is due to the effect it has on the production of testosterone: a study carried out on men with low levels of testosterone showed a 20% increase in testosterone simply by taking vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin C helps muscle growth and recovery by helping to protect muscle cells from damaging oxidants. It also aids tissue growth and the formation of testosterone and collagen which helps protect the bones and muscles from injury, helping to handle the loads associated with lifting heavy weights.
Vitamin C helps to reduce muscle soreness and so is useful in combating delayed-onset-muscle-soreness (DOMS) - that ache you get after a heavy workout. For more on this, checkout our blog on 6 ways to recover from DOMS faster.
Infographic: how your body uses each vitamin, signs of deficiency, RDA and natural sources
Guest author: Karthik Reddy, Community Manager at 16Best, is the author of India’s Number 1 travel blog. A passionate traveler and photography enthusiast, he aspires to share his experiences and help people see the world through his lens.