Bodybuilder lifting barbell plate

The Value of Vitamins & Their Role on Muscle Strength

What role do vitamins play on muscle strength? Muscle is made up of mainly water and protein. Therefore, protein metabolism is critical for muscle building. The basic definition of protein metabolism is breaking protein down into amino acids and combining those amino acids into new proteins. Collagen is also made of protein and is the connective tissue in muscle that connects muscles to bone. In addition, muscle function is dependent on energy production.

The energy used by all cells is called ATP. Glucose (carbohydrate) is a key fuel for ATP production. We use glucose as the main fuel to produce energy in all cells, including muscle cells.

Muscle Tissue Attributes

  • Water – 75%
  • Protein – 18%
  • Fat – 5%
  • Carbohydrates – 1%
  • Vitamins and minerals – 1%

Vitamin D

Plays a very important role in immune and muscle function. There are numerous studies showing that vitamin D is essential for overall immune system function. Studies have shown that proper vitamin D levels in the body are associated with muscle strength and performance.

Research from USANA shows that to have an optimal range of vitamin D in the body, most people need to take 4000 to 6000 IU supplemental vitamin D every day. Keep in mind that vitamin D is also required for the uptake and utilization of calcium and phosphorous—and both of these minerals are required for muscular contraction and function as well as bone growth and strength. Phosphorous is also required for ATP production and energy metabolism.

Fish Oil

Fish oil or the omega-3 fats in fish oil may decrease muscle protein breakdown. This may be through improvements in insulin sensitivity, and insulin resistance is associated with muscle breakdown. There is also a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that fish oil helps enhance the effect of strength training in elderly women. Fish oil is most commonly obtained through supplements and food, such as a variety of fish.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for our muscles, and we need it to function properly. It is required for collagen and elastin synthesis, and it is also an important supplement to take daily because it’s responsible for the health of the blood vessels, which support the muscles’ needs for oxygen and nutrients. Good sources of vitamin C include broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, and grapefruit.

Vitamin E

This vitamin is a very important antioxidant that helps cell membrane recovery from oxidative stress. Cell membrane reliability is essential for cellular function and growth. To add vitamin E into your diet, try almonds, spinach, carrots, and avocados. Many different oils are also good sources of vitamin E, such as olive oil, corn oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil.

An Array of B Vitamins

B vitamins are essential to muscle strength and tone. B1 (thiamin) is important for protein metabolism and the formation of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to cells, including muscle cells, and without oxygen energy, production is compromised. B1 nutrients can be found in cereal, bread, meat, rice, and nuts. B2 (riboflavin) is involved in energy metabolism, glucose metabolism, the oxidation of fatty acids, with some effects on protein metabolism. B2 nutrients can be found in cheese, eggs, milk, and peas. B3 (niacin) is essential for energy production. B3 nutrients can be found in milk, eggs, fish, legumes, and potatoes.

Additional B Vitamins

B6 (pyridoxine) is important for protein metabolism, growth, and carbohydrate utilization. B6 nutrients can be found in soybeans, butter, brown rice, and fish. And B12 (cyanocobalamin) is important for the maintenance of nerve tissue and is essential for the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, energy metabolism, and cell regeneration. B12 nutrients can be found in milk, poultry, eggs, meat, and liver. B7 (biotin) is important for amino acid metabolism, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Good sources of B7 include mushrooms, egg yolk, beef liver, and brewer’s yeast.

Final Thoughts

It is important to understand that all the vitamins mentioned above can be found in food. If your diet is spot on, supplementation may not be needed. Consult with your physician or seek out a good registered dietician (RD) for helpful guidance. A great website to check out is Examine.com and if you’re in need of helpful apps, you may want to download MyFitnessPal and Loseit.

Stay Strong Together

Jefit, named best strength app by Sports Illustrated, Esquire, GQ, Men’s Health, Greatest, Forbes Health, and many others. It offers a community responsible for 92,000,000 workouts to date! The app, which recently passed 10 million downloads, comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio coaching cues, and can share strength and HIIT workouts with friends. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals.

The Jefit app was featured as part of a peer-review research study titled: Assessing the Quality of Mobile Exercise Apps Based on the American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines (2017).

Michael Wood, CSCS
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