If you’re familiar with your health and fitness, there’s a very strong chance that you’ll have heard people speaking about the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants countless times in the past, and for good reason too. Antioxidants in particular have been renowned for their anti-carcinogenic properties as they help to strengthen the immune system and to destroy free radicals invading the body that can cause our cells to oxidize and to mutate into cancerous ones. Antioxidants also benefit the body in a whole variety of other ways, and have even been found to be extremely beneficial when it comes to bodybuilding, weight training, and muscle growth in general.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is actually an antioxidant known as ascorbic acid. It is commonly found in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits. It is also available in supplement form as well. Vitamin C indirectly aids in muscle growth because it helps to strengthen and boost the immune system, which helps protect us against illness and diseases such as colds or the flu. If we’re suffering with the flu or a bad cold, we don’t want to exercise or lift weights, we will want to stay indoors until we feel better. A more direct link with muscle growth and vitamin C however, is that it has been found to possess anti-catabolic properties which prevent the body from falling into a catabolic state and eating away at its own muscle tissue as a source of energy.
Zinc – The mineral Zinc is another great antioxidant that can benefit bodybuilders and athletes in a variety of different ways. One of the main reasons why zinc is so beneficial is the fact that a zinc deficiency has actually been linked with decreased levels of reproductive hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone. Both of these hormones play key roles in the synthesis of new muscle tissue and so the more of these hormones you have in your body, the more muscular you are likely to be.
Calcium – The mineral Calcium is another antioxidant that is extremely beneficial for bodybuilders and those looking to increase their muscle mass levels. In truth, Calcium is actually beneficial for everybody. One of the reasons why it benefits bodybuilders is that it strengthens our bones and increases our bone density. Bodybuilders often suffer from arthritis or osteoporosis as they are carrying so much extra weight on their bodies, in the form of muscle. This puts stress on the bones and joints which can lead to all sorts of problems. Increasing your calcium intake however, can strengthen and support the bones, meaning they will be able to handle more body weight without becoming painful or damaged. Studies have also found that those with a calcium deficiency are more likely to experience weight gain and decreases in metabolism function, making it more difficult to actually lose the weight afterwards as well. People who consume high amounts of calcium however, experienced reduced levels in fat regain and decreases in fatty acid synthase expression, which has been linked with weight gain in the form of fat.