As summer fast approaches, it’s time to get active and get outside. That also means getting your beach body ready for, well, the beach or at least the nearest pool. What you may not realize is that aside from hydrating and eating healthy, vitamins also can help you and your muscles get lean, toned and energized for summer. Vitamins play a big role in muscle health and development. They also help metabolism and your body’s ability to convert food into energy. In addition to taking a multivitamin to ensure your muscles get everything they need, look for these nutrients to help you get beach-body ready.
Protein & Amino Acids.
To start, protein stimulates muscle growth and your muscles need protein to function and to recover. Amino acids are what make up the protein that forms muscles. While it might be tempting to just take amino acids, vitamins and minerals help to ensure your body has the right balance of amino acids and proteins. L-Carnitine, is a popular amino acid although it is actually a vitamin that acts like an amino acid. Research has shown that it helps produce energy while also decreasing body fat. It also helps to protect the body against the oxidative stress caused by exercise.
The B vitamins (especially B12, B7 or Biotin and B2 or Riboflavin) play an important role in protein and energy metabolism or converting food (protein, carbohydrates and fat) into energy. The B’s also support antioxidants in the body to help combat the oxidative stress of exercise. B vitamins support hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to cells and is necessary for the body’s production of energy. These mighty vitamins also aid nerve and muscle function, by helping the brain and muscles communicate, which is critical for muscle growth and coordination.
Vitamin C plays a lot of roles. Among them, it is needed for collagen and elastin synthesis. Collagen is the primary protein in the body and it’s found in muscles and connective tissue. It’s necessary for our muscles and skin to maintain its elasticity. In addition, Vitamin C also supports metabolism and wards off free radicals and oxidative stress. It also helps support blood vessels, which are necessary to make sure muscles receive a steady supply of oxygenated blood.
Vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium, which in addition to helping our bones also is necessary for muscles to contract and for energy-producing metabolism. A lack of calcium can cause your body to store fat. But a lack of Vitamin D, means your body won’t absorb calcium properly. Vitamin D also helps us to absorb phosphorous, which is critical for energy production. Vitamin D on its own is also important for muscle strength.
Often overlooked magnesium, plays a key role in the overall health of our muscles. Magnesium helps are muscles contract. It also can be used to aid muscle cramps and help with muscle recovery. In addition, it helps to boost energy levels.