Nothing replaces a solid weight-training routine when it comes to building muscle, but certain vitamin supplements might help augment your results. Before you start popping pills to get fast results, consult with your doctor to see if you have a deficiency. An excess of vitamins won't make you grow muscle faster, but a deficiency may prevent you from reaching your potential. Whole foods are the best source of vitamins, and most people can get all the nutrients they need from their regular diet. If, however, you follow a restrictive eating plan to support your muscle-building efforts, you may fall short.
Vitamin C promotes the growth of collagen, a tissue that serves as the foundation for all other tissues in the body -- including muscle. A study published in the "International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism" in 2006 found that oral doses of vitamin C when taken before a workout may reduce muscle soreness, which means you can train more often and potentially get faster results. Be wary of overdosing on the vitamin, though. A 2008 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" published a study that showed vitamin C administration in both humans and rats hindered the body's ability to adapt to exercise and interfered with endurance. This study used doses of 1 gram, far greater than the 75 to 90 milligrams recommended daily by the National Institutes of Health. Never take this much vitamin C without first consulting your doctor.
Vitamins D, E and the Bs
The B vitamins support energy production and protein metabolism, both of which are key to muscle building. You usually get enough B vitamins through your diet, but vitamin B-12 may be lacking in vegans and vegetarians, so check with your doctor to see if you might need a supplement. Vitamin D helps you build strong bones, a foundation for muscle development. A study published in the "Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism" in 2013 found that vitamin D supplementation improved muscle size in older, vitamin D-insufficient women. Whether it would benefit the average person is not clear from the available research. Vitamin E is another antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and improve immunity, thus getting you back to the workout floor faster. Food sources, such as sunflower seeds and almonds, are your best bet when it comes to consuming this vitamin.
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- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: A Randomized Study on the Effect of Vitamin D₃ Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle Morphology and Vitamin D Receptor Concentration in Older Women
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Oral Administration of Vitamin C Decreases Muscle Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Hampers Training-Induced Adaptations in Endurance Performance
- International Journal of Preventive Medicine: The Effect of Vitamin C and E Supplementation on Muscle Damage and Oxidative Stress in Female Athletes: A Clinical Trial
- International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism: Effect of High Dose Vitamin C Supplementation on Muscle Soreness, Damage, Function, and Oxidative Stress to Eccentric Exercise