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Vitamins for Lifting

By Greg Johnson

Strength training requires constant nutritional awareness. When you lift weights, you cause damage to your muslces, ligaments and bones that your body has to rebuild. It's in a constant state of cycling and recycling energy for cell production, and its tools come from what you eat. The best way to ensure you're getting the right vitamins is to eat a balanced diet, but you can also add these supplements to round out your daily needs.

Vitamin B

The term vitamin B actually refers to eight compounds, but each of them is important to your weight lifting routine. Vitamins B1-B6 help with energy production in your cells as they break down fats, sugars and proteins to fuel your exercise. Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, and B12 help build new cells as your body rebuilds itself. Daily recommended intake of the different B vitamins varies, though the Mayo Clinic recommends getting 400mcg a day of vitamin B9 through diet or supplementation. Foods such as leafy greens and green vegetables, grains and meats are rich in B vitamins. Vitamin B12, one of the ingredients in red blood cell production, is only available through animal products.

Vitamin D

An advertising mark of fortified milk, vitamin D is another necessary vitamin for weightlifters. Its main function is to regulate blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, two electrolytes necessary for proper cell function. In addition, vitamin D may help prevent high blood pressure, osteoperosis and cancer. Foods containing vitamin D include fish, fish oils, eggs, some mushrooms and dairy. Many foods, including milk, are fortified with extra vitamin D. Sun exposure is also an excellent source, as sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D in body cells.


Though not strictly vitamins, minerals are often included in multi-vitamins and dietary supplement plans. They're important for proper muscle maintenance during strength training. Calcium, magnesium and zinc are some of the most common, and are often available in a single supplement. Selenium is another mineral indirectly responsible for antioxidant production and thyroid health. Get this mineral from Brazil nuts, tuna and many fortified breads.

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