10 Essential Vitamins for Bodybuilding

Vitamins for Bodybuilding

We are all well aware of the importance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) in the bodybuilding diet, but what are often overlooked are micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids).

A quick search on Google will show thousands upon thousands of pages offering advice on the role of protein and carbohydrates, but there really is very little out there regarding vitamins for bodybuilding.

The aim of this article is to provide you with a list of the 10 most important vitamins and minerals that should be in your diet, along with reasons why you need them.

Vitamins for bodybuilders

Don't underestimate the importance of vitamins for bodybuilders.

Why Do I Need Micronutrients?

When training, large quantities of vitamins and minerals are lost from the body, mostly in the form of sweat. If these vitamins and minerals are not replaced straight away, the body will struggle to rehydrate, which will then impair the recovery process.

Ensuring that the body has an adequate supply of micronutrients is also an effective way of improving and maintaining your general health.

A deficiency in one or more vitamins or minerals can seriously reduce performance whilst training, slow down muscle growth and in extreme cases can result in other, more serious, health issues.

The Top 10 Micronutrients and Why You Need Them

10. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble B vitamin that is essential for good health. As it is water soluble, it cannot be stored in the body for long periods of time, so it is important that Vitamin B12 is part of your diet

  • Vitamin B12 is needed for maintenance of the Central Nervous System (CNS). The CNS is responsible stimulating muscles to contract and also for muscle co-ordination.
  • Plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
  • Vitamin B12 can only be obtained from foods derived from animals. This includes dairy produce.

9. Biotin

Biotin is a water soluble B vitamin, that is essential for good health. As it is water soluble, it cannot be stored in the body for long periods of time, so it is important that Biotin is part of your diet.

  • Biotion is necessary in the metabolism of amino acids, and the production of energy from a variety of sources.
  • Consuming raw eggs causes a substance known as Advin to be present in the body. Advin blocks the absorption of Biotin.
  • Biotin can be found in chicken egg yolks, kidney, milk, berries and carrots.

8. Vitamin A (Retinol)

Vitamin A is a group of compounds that play an important role in bone growth, vision, cell division, cell differentiation and reproduction.

  • Plays an important role in protein synthesis, and the production of Glycogen.
  • Vitamin A helps to regulate the immune system by aiding the production of white blood cells.
  • Vitamin A can be found in chicken eggs, milk, cheese and liver. It can also be found in a variety of vegetables, although these are not absorbed as well by the body.

7. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 is 1 of the 8 B Vitamins. All B vitamins help the body to convert food into energy, and also assist the body in the metabolism of protein and fat. As with other B Vitamins, B2 is water soluble, meaning it is not stored by the body and must be sourced from the diet.

  • Vitamin B2 is involved in glucose metabolism and the oxidation of fatty acids.
  • Vitamin B2 is known to have be linked to lean body mass as it plays a key role in protein metabolism.
  • Vitamin B12 can be found mushrooms, organ meats, shellfish and chicken egg yolks.
  • 30% of your daily Vitamin B2 requirement can be sourced from one 250ml glass of milk.

6. Vitamin E

Vitamin E has distinctive antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are known to damage cells, but are also thought to contribute to the development of cardio vascular disease and cancer.

  • Vitamin E is involved in the function of the immune system, various metabolic processes and the majority of cell function – including the growth of muscle cells.
  • Vitamin E can be found in fortified breakfast cereals, nuts and vegetable oils.

5. Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Like other B Vitamins, Vitamin B3 releases energy from protein, carbohydrate and fat. It is involved in around 60 metabolic processes.

Vitamins for Bodybuilding Can Be Easy With Supplementation

Easily Get All of the Vitamins for Bodybuilding Through Supplementation

  • Vitamin B is involved in controlling blood sugar levels, maintaining healthy skin and the function of the Digestive and Central Nervous Systems.
  • The body uses the amino acid Tryptophan to produce Niacin.
  • Nicotine acid is a form of Niacin and can be used by competing bodybuilders to improve vascularity by increasing vasodilation.
  • Vitamin B3 can be found in dairy products, fish, meat, poultry and eggs.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. It is produced by the body when ultraviolet rays from the sun come into contact with the skin and trigger Vitamin D synthesis.

  • Vitamin D is required for the absorption of Phosphorus and Calcium, and is required for bone health and growth. A Vitamin D deficiency will cause bones to thin and become brittle. If sufficient Calcium is not available to the muscles, full, hard contractions can not be achieved.
  • Phosphorus is responsible for the rapid, powerful muscle contractions that are required by bodybuilders whilst training.
  • Vitamin D can be found in Sardines, yoghurt, milk, liver, salmon, mackerel and eggs.

3. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Vitamin B1 is another of the B vitamins that is required for protein synthesis and therefore growth. As a B vitamin, Vitamin B1 is water soluble and so is not stored by the body.

  • Vitamin B1 is needed for the formation of haemoglobin – the red blood cell protein that is responsible for transporting Oxygen around the body. This is of huge importance to any athlete, as without Oxygen, the muscles simply will not perform as well as they could.
  • The amount of Vitamin B1 that the body needs is proportional to the amount, intensity and length of training sessions. For example, if training intensity rises, the amount of Vitamin B1 required will also increase.
  • Vitamin B1 can be found in nuts, bananas, bread, spinach, liver, beef and pork.

2. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 is water soluble and so, cannot be stored by the body. It must be sourced from the diet. Vitamin B6 is the generic name for six compounds with Vitamin B6 activity.

  • Vitamin B6 is the only vitamin that is directly related to protein intake. The more protein that is consumed, the more Vitamin B6 will be required.
  • Vitamin B6 is involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions, most of which relate to protein metabolism.
  • Vitamin B6 can be found in chickpeas, beef liver, yellowfin tuna, salmon, bananas and spinach.

1. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamins for Bodybuilding - Vitamin C - Number 1

Vitamin C - Number 1 in the List of Vitamins for Bodybuilding

As with B vitamins, Vitamin C is water soluble, and so must be sourced from the diet. It is also an antioxidant. Vitamin C is considered to be the most important of all vitamins for bodybuilding for the following reasons:

  • Vitamin C quickly disperses in water. Muscle consists mainly of water, so the more muscular an individual is, the more Vitamin C will disperse in his/her body. This has the effect of lowering the concentration of Vitamin C in the body. As a result of this, the amount of Vitamin C required by the body is proportional to the amount of muscle on that body. As you gain muscle mass, that amount of Vitamin C that you need to ingest will increase.
  • Vitamin C enhances growth and recovery in muscle cells.
  • The absorption of Iron is assisted by the presence of Vitamin C. A lack of Iron results in a reduction of the amount of Oxygen that the red blood cells can carry around the body. Less Oxygen = less performance from the muscles.
  • Vitamin C is involved in the production of Collagen. Collagen is a fibrous protein which connects and supports bodily tissues – bone and muscle for example. Lifting heavier weights puts your body under huge amounts of stress. Connective tissue that is weakened is only likely to deteriorate and WILL result in injury.
  • Vitamin C is a vital stimulus to Testosterone production. When levels of Ascorbic Acid are high, greater quantities of Pregnenolone are available for conversion to testosterone. (Source: BodyActive)
  • Vitamin C can be found in high quantities in citrus fruit and fruit juices.

Vitamin C is a vital stimulus to Testosterone production. When levels of Ascorbic Acid are high, greater quantities of Pregnenolone are available for conversion to testosterone.


You now have a list of the 10 most important vitamins for bodybuilding to refer to. Hopefully, you now have an idea of how important micronutrients are, and what they can do for you. The body will source all of the vitamins for bodybuilding, that we have discussed here, from a balanced diet. Although, if your diet is perhaps not perfect, there is always the supplementation option. There is a whole market of multi-vitamin supplements out there, and some of these are excellent at what they do, but remember that it is always better to get your micro (and macro) nutrients from natural sources – i.e. food!

You may have noticed a theme when reading through the list above. The vast majority of the vitamins for bodybuilding that we have discussed here can be sourced from milk/dairy products. In simple terms this means that by drinking 2/3 glasses of milk per day, you can provide your body with most of the vitamins and minerals it needs, without even having to reach for the supplements.

If you have any comments or feedback on this article, I’d be pleased to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Photo Credit: Shannon Kringen, owaief89, mrjorgen


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  1. Strong Jane


    Many thanks regarding this writeup titled 10 Essential Vitamins for Bodybuilding as we speak I had been speaking with my girlfriends relating to this theme and for the most part We all are in agreement as to what you happen to be talking about. I have been talking about this specific issue a lot of late with friends and neighbors which means that with a little luck this will help us make my point.

    I would need to ask you a favor and that is that I would like you to go into a bit more depth. Or perhaps you will be able to point us to a few other sites where we are able to read more about this.

    One last thing, I am wondering if you have read anything about MUFAs (Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids). If so then can you please post an article about this?

  2. Andy

    Hi, thanks for your comment. I’m currently writing an article about the importance of EFAs, and their role in the bodybuilding diet. I’ll make sure I include some info about MUFAs too!

  3. TerryJane

    Hi Andy i enjoy your Blog! The information is great keep it up. It is useful.

  4. Steve Sorbera

    On the off chance that you’re interested in antiaging antioxidants, do take a gander at this web page. Great site by the way!

  5. Cedrick Kubilus

    Hello , I am your devoted audience, thanks once more with regard to expressing so competent feuilleton !

  6. maria

    Hey Andy I prise your blog! it is Great

  7. John

    Hi, very interesting reading, great site would like to ask is there one or two tablets available that would cover all or most of the above vitamins ?


  8. Andy

    Hi there. Thanks for the comment. There are many all-in-one tablets available on the market, but I would suggest something that is design specifically for bodybuilders, as this will contain increased amounts of the vitamins required to stay anabolic and for protein synthesis.

    Personally, I use Controlled Labs ‘Orange Triad’ as my multi-vitamin, and have seen far mar results in the gym from this than from any other supplement that I have taken.

    Hope this helps!

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