Vitamins are a key element that is often overlooked when trying to achieve workout and weight loss goals. Whether it’s to lose fat, build muscle, recover from exercise, see, sleep, move, think, pump blood or just avoid getting sick, the body must have vitamins to carry out the chemical reactions and functions that are needed for workout performance, producing energy, burning fat, and digesting nutrients. For this reason, it is very important to select a vitamin supplement that offers optimal levels of Vitamins A, B, C, D and E.

Vitamin A Vitamin A exists as retinols and beta-carotene. The body requires Vitamin A for strengthening tissues and membranes, which is crucial for muscle performance and recovery. The USDA recommends a daily allowance of 3,000 IU of Vitamin A, with the tolerable upper limit set at 10,000 IU for retinols. Training individuals can take beta-carotene in higher daily amounts between 10,000 and 25,000 IU.  Vitamin A can be found naturally in yellow and green vegetables, egg yolks, animal liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, apricots and winter squash.

Vitamin B Those who workout must regularly eat foods high in Vitamin B to keep the body operating at peak performance. The body requires this group of vitamins for metabolizing proteins, fats and especially carbohydrates, which give the body energy needed to fuel your workouts. The Vitamin B category includes:  thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyroxidine (B6) and cobalamin (B12). FYI: Women with a diet rich in the B vitamins thiamine and riboflavin have a 25-35% lower risk for PMS. Natural sources of Vitamin B include potatoes, bananas, beans, turkey, tuna and brewer’s yeast.

Vitamin C The rigors of intense training test our blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and bones. Vitamin C strengthens all of these tissues. Thought90 mg is the recommended dosage, those who are training regularly need much more. Natural sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, brussel sprouts, potatoes and liver. Unlike some other vitamins, Vitamin C is not made in our bodies so it must be obtained from our diets.

Vitamin D The body makes Vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun. Bones need Vitamin D to maintain proper density and avoid injury from regular workouts. Make sure to take D3 (the natural form that our bodies make from the sun.) The daily allowance depends on age and ranges from 200 and 600 IU, but the tolerable upper limit for vitamin D tops out at 2,000 IU for healthy adult men. Under a doctor’s supervision, you can take 5,000 IU of natural D but never more, as toxicity may occur in excess of this dosage. Sources of vitamin D include fish oils, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and fortified milk.

Vitamin E Vitamin E allows for proper immune function. Vitamin E contributes to cell signaling and regulates gene expression. Both important factors in muscle growth. Individuals who work out may need more Vitamin E than the average person for optimal health, with the recommended daily allowance for adult males at 22.4 IU, the upper tolerable limit tops out at 1,500 IU. Natural sources of vitamin E include wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, broccoli, spinach, mango and kiwis.

For other great health tips see my article: Tips to Live to 100

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