Written by R. S Jacobs
Taking vitamins is an individual choice. However, based on personal experience, my advice is to include them as part of your daily routine. They will supplement your diet and exercise plan in order to cover your daily micronutrient requirements. Even when we eat a well-balanced diet, there is still a possibility that we could be lacking some micro-nutrients which are vital for optimum health. Like many people, I avoided taking additional supplements because I thought I should aim to get all my nutrients solely from my diet. I was actually quite surprised to discover that I wasn’t hitting my daily quota from my diet, especially as I eat mostly plant-based food and assumed this would cover everything.
I often advise clients to take multivitamins when they are on a weight loss plan, especially when their calorie intake is lower than their BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Sometimes, those on a restricted diet neglect to factor in micro-nutrients that are essential to supporting their weight loss journey, and they suffer as a result of being malnourished. However, as I always say, everything needs to be done in moderation, this is especially important in relation to taking vitamin supplements. Don’t allow yourself to go overboard, I have heard stories of people who decided to take double the recommended daily dose or want to try a new one every week based on miracle results they read from a blog post. More often than not, you just end up getting ill as a result of your kidneys having to work overtime to try to stabilise the micro-nutrient levels.
In general, the rule I follow when deciding what vitamins I should or shouldn’t take – If you can’t pronounce it, don’t take it! You don’t need to spend lots of money on fancy premium vitamins advertised by the latest reality TV star. All you need is basic vitamins that are actually proven to be essential to the body. My personal recommendations are vitamin B, vitamin C, glucosamine and omega fish oil.
Let’s go through the above vitamins and why I decided to include them into my routine. When you exercise, you are breaking down your body (in a good way), so it can become fitter and stronger. The body needs certain micro and macro nutrients to repair and rebuild itself.
Vitamin C helps in the healing process, specifically helping to speed up the recovery time after your workout. It also helps to maintain strong bones and teeth, and with the added benefit of collagen production, it helps your skin maintain a youthful look for longer. To me, Vitamin C really is a no brainer, and for those who are not really keen on eating fruit, then taking a Vitamin C supplement is ideal.
Vitamin B helps convert food into fuel. It initiates the process that extracts necessary nutrients from our food so you can replenish your daily required levels. For those who train hard, it is vital that your body stays nourished to avoid injury and unnecessary strain. Vitamin B is also a stress relieving vitamin which is good for the brain. Studies have actually shown that it helps to prevent depression.
Glucosamine is produced naturally in the fluid surrounding our joints and is necessary for those who train on a regular basis. However, as we age, its production reduces over time which can result in painful joints. Taking a Glucosamine supplement will help to maintain not only your bones but also your cartilage. Anyone who has had any cartilage damage will know only too well how detrimental this can be to your overall activity levels. After years of activity, workout and exertion on the joints, natural wear and tear occur. By taking glucosamine, it could reduce the rate of dematerialisation by helping to prevent inflammation in the joints and arthritis.
Omega fish oil is rated as one of the top super-nutrients available because of its benefits for the heart, brain, bones, tissues and cells. It greatly reduces cholesterol levels, uplifts your mood and enhances cerebral circulation.
How multivitamins can support your fitness lifestyle
* Maintain Nourishment. When you are restricting your diet or if you are on any kind of calorie deficit, multivitamins are the perfect way to make sure you are getting the required minerals according to your specific needs.
* Speed Recovery. It helps speed up recovery time especially for long distance runners or those who include strength training as part of their workout routine. Vitamin C is particularly useful for anyone that exercises regularly as it encourages a faster repair time.
* Disease Prevention. Multivitamins are shown to prevent you from getting sick. When your body is efficiently nourished and you are getting the right vitamins and minerals, your immune system will remain in tiptop shape. This will keep your defences against colds, flu and other forms of diseases, leaving your body fully equipped to perform necessary tasks effectively. It’s essential that you give yourself the best chance by maintaining the best defence against illnesses, otherwise you will struggle to see the fruits of your labour.
* Strong Metabolism. Specific vitamins are necessary to assist in the absorption of other vitamins, minerals and proteins throughout the body. Multivitamins support the metabolism of protein, and protein is used to rebuild micro-tears in the muscles as a result of working out. Multivitamins help the metabolic cycle that determine how protein is used throughout the repair process.
* Energy Production. Vitamin B, in particular, helps in producing energy. It helps you to stay energised during your workout and also for your daily activities. It also has anti-oxidant qualities which help fight free radicals in the body, which in turn prevents the spread of cancer cells throughout your body.
* Prevent Ageing. Multivitamins help to preserve the quality of your skin, hair, nails and bones. A nutrient deficiency is always clearly visible on your skin. By introducing a daily multivitamin intake, you take away the doubt of lacking in the vitamin department.
* Stress Reliever. Vitamins combat the negative side effects of stress on the body by reducing the stress hormone called cortisol. It works throughout the nervous system and prevents anxiety, nervousness, and depression.
There you have it, despite the bad reputation vitamins seem to get, there are multitude of advantages when you take them. However, it is important to note that it’s not an excuse to replace a healthy diet with multivitamins. They should both go hand in hand, thereby topping up your levels as required. Before taking vitamins, make sure you are not taking medicinal drugs for an illness that may have a counter effect and always consult your doctor before embarking on taking any form of tablets.
Stay strong, Warriors.
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