When you think about supplements, what are the first thoughts that go through your mind? Whey protein, nitric oxide, creatine, fat burners, or maybe something else? These are the ones that consume the ads and promos.
What if I told you though that the most important supplement that you must have in your arsenal is not on this list? Could you guess which one I am talking about? I will save you the effort. I am talking about your basic multivitamin. From the Flintstones that you took as a kid to the ones you have now. Oh, you don't take them? If not, you better change that immediately if you want to meet your fitness goals.
What Is A Multi And Why Do I Need One?
For the human body to complete all the tasks it has in a normal day, it must be given a wide and complex variety of vital nutrients. Becoming deficient in any one of these essential vitamins or minerals causes breakdown of the metabolic pathway that produces optimum efficiency and performance goes down quick. Obviously, this is NOT what you want!
Making sure you take a high-potency multivitamin/multi-mineral formula may help ensure the presence of those essential nutrients necessary for thousands of metabolic reactions.
Bodybuilders, athletes, and people that lead active lifestyles need even more nutrients than the average non-active person. So if you think that just grabbing the first one you see on the shelf is going to work for you, think again.
The Foundation Of A Good Supplement Program
Multis are not normally advertised to help you increase your bench by x pounds in y days. Since that is the case, people don't think about looking up the best one on Bodybuilding.com to add to their supplement program. People would not buy a table with only two legs. They wouldn't build a house without a good foundation. They shouldn't make a plan for getting in shape without having a multi as the foundation of their supplement program.
Without the multi, I am convinced that the other supplements you take will not be as effective. Not only is the multi the foundation of a great supplement strategy, it should be the first thing you take care of. First thing when you get up in the morning, take your multi. Done. You are now ready to go with whatever it is you have to do for the day. If you are in serious training, then you'll find support for faster recovery by taking your multi as soon as you finish working out.
What Makes Up A Multi?
Now some multis have small differences from others, but for the most part, the multi is comprised of the same individual vitamins and minerals. Even though they are normally packaged together in multis, there are differences between the two.
Vitamins are organic. They are more complex than minerals. All vitamins are required by our bodies for survival. Vitamins control the chemical reactions within the body to convert food into energy and living tissue. They are either water soluble which must be taken daily since they are not stored in the body (Vitamin C and all of the B Vitamins) or fat soluble, which are stored in the body (A, D, E, and K).
Vitamins are vulnerable to heat, light, and chemical agents, so food preparation, processing, and storing it must be appropriate to preserve vitamins so you get the nutritional value out of the meal.
Minerals are inorganic. They are much simpler in chemical form than vitamins. They are much more stable in food preparation than vitamins also. Minerals are categorized as major/macro - (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur), and trace/micro- (iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, fluoride, molybdenum, copper, and manganese) minerals.
Major minerals we need in dosages greater than 100 mg a day. The trace minerals we only need "trace" amounts of daily to suffice. Minerals are used to produce necessary hormones.
It Doesn't End There
Now that isn't all there is to the multivitamin phenomenon. There are other factors that must be considered. Men and women need different nutrients for their bodies to do what they need to do every day. Therefore, men and women's multivitamins are going to have differences.
Men's multis are more than likely going to also contain saw palmetto which may support a healthy prostate. Also, some formulas for men will have ingredients such as horny goat weed and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) which supports testosterone.
Women's multis have formulas which focus more on skin, nails, and hair health. There are also Pre-Natal multis for expecting mothers.
There are multivitamins that are beneficial for kids too. Children's multis are made specifically for kids that are growing every day. Kids that take vitamins seem to focus better in school and be sick less often.
There are also teenager specific multis on the market since they need different vitamins and minerals as their bodies grow into adulthood. A lot of growth spurts occur during teenage years so nutrition is crucial for proper development.
There is even more to consider. You can take tablets, capsules, or if you are not a fan of pills, you can even take liquid or chewable multis. The options are out there to find a quality formula for your specific needs.
Hopefully by now you know and appreciate the true value of what a multivitamin means to your bodybuilding and fitness goals. The protein, energy drinks, and all the others are great, but without a multi, you are not meeting your true physical fitness potential.
It doesn't matter whether you are male or female, young or old, bodybuilder, football player, or everyday gym rat. Your multi should be the first supplement you take every day. There are plenty of great multivitamins available in the Bodybuilding.com store you can check out and try.
If you aren't sure which one is right for you, look at the monthly Top 50 or check around with BodySpace members to see which ones you should try. It may take some time to figure out, but you will find one that is right for you. I bet after reading this you appreciate those Flintstones vitamins a lot more, huh?