Whether you are a weekend weight lifter or a serious competitive athlete, we all know that feeling of delayed onset muscle soreness, better known as DOMS. This soreness comes from microtears in the muscle following intense physical activity. These tears are nothing to worry about but the soreness that comes from them can be annoying and sometimes restrictive. This is especially true if you are too sore to get back into the gym.
We know that nutrition is the way to recovery but do multi-vitamins play a part in this? Can a multi-vitamin help to increase recovery? Let's take a look at the facts about multi-vitamins to find out.
What is a Multi-Vitamin?
Multi-vitamins are comprised of all the essential vitamins and minerals deemed necessary by government recommendations. The idea behind a multi-vitamin is that one needs to fill the gaps left behind by the lack of nutrients in a diet. Theoretically, everyone should be able to get in the recommended amount of nutrients without a supplement but the reality is that most people do not.
The Case for the Multi-Vitamin
The average person simply does not eat enough of the right foods to acquire the vitamins and minerals needed to satisfy government recommendations. What's more, those who are extremely active require MORE nutrients than the average person. Again, this may be difficult to achieve with only a whole food-based diet.
Muscles have been shown to respond to several key nutrients such as Vitamin D and B6 in regards to recovery and energy production. If someone is lacking in a whole food diet or is over training, the risk for a deficiency increase. This is why a multi-vitamin may be of great use to most people.
If you are a very active person, even if you have a great diet, consider a multi-vitamin to boost your recovery. This may help reduce soreness, promote results, and get you back in the gym.
If you would prefer to take only a few individual vitamins as opposed to a complete broad spectrum vitamin, here are a few key nutrients to focus on for recovery:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin D
Word of Caution
Too much of a good thing can be toxic in the case of multi-vitamins. You must not exceed the recommended dosage prescribed on your specific brand. You do not want to exceed upper limits of specific minerals and vitamins as the side effects can be dangerous.
What's more, it's worth noting that whole food-based multi-vitamins are far more bioavailable than those created with synthetic compounds. Consider investing in a liquid multi-vitamin. If you prefer capsules, again, make sure you find yourself one that has predominantly whole food-based ingredients.
Lastly, the best form of nutrients is in real food. A multi-vitamin is a supplement to your diet, meaning it should just be the side help and not the primary focus. Never replace whole foods for supplements.
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- Melvin H Williams. Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance: Introduction and Vitamins. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2004; 1(2): 1–6. Published online 2004 Dec 31. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-1-2-1.