Bodybuilding and exercising requires good health, and most important of all, ENERGY! Most people don’t realize that a great source of energy is vitamins. So, what vitamins facilitate energy production?
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
A water soluble vitamin that is needed in the making of fatty acids and glucose (the simplest form of carbohydrate that the body can burn), which forms the main sources of fuel for the body. (Do you know that the brain only burns glucose? B5 may help improve co-ordination!) When found in its CoA form, vitamin B5 plays a vital role in helping release energy from sugars, starches, and fats. Most of this energy release occurs in the energy production factories found in every cell called the mitochondria. Increased levels of vitamin B5 in the blood of marathon runners, for example, has led to interest in this vitamin as a potential aid in physical training, where sustained energy release from the mitochondria is critical.
It is also essential for the making of steroid hormones and neuro-transmitters in the brain (body co-ordination).
Vitamin B5 is widely found in foods and the RDA is only 6mg per day, but once again it will not satisfy the needs of an athlete. Pantothenic Acid supplementation of 2.0g per day has shown to reduce lactate build-up by 17% and oxygen consumption by 8%. In addition, B5 is easily destroyed in cooking and modern food processing. See our article on acne and vitamin B5 deficiency.
Think zinc for growth. That’s right, the mineral zinc is involved in virtually all phases of growth. Even more critical for bodybuilders, studies have shown that high intensity exercise stimulates excessive zinc loss. Further, diets of some athletes have been found to be low in zinc. This potential double edged sword, excess loss coupled with possible low intakes, moves zinc into our number three position. If you’re not mindful of your zinc intake, your growth may be stymied.
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