Nutrients for Muscle Health
If you’re working out and interested in building and repairing your muscles, you’ll be happy to know that you’re probably getting enough of most of the vitamins and minerals that play a role in building and repairing muscle tissue. However, if you’re like a lot of men, you may be falling a little short when it comes to vitamin D and magnesium. Both of which happen to be extremely important for your muscles.
So what role does Vitamin D play in the building and health of muscle? Vitamin D plays a role in muscle power. A possible reason is the influence of vitamin D on muscle size. Some studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D in the blood correlate with less muscle power and force.
Several studies have shown that the average male, age 20 or older, isn’t getting enough vitamin D from food. And it’s even worse for men who live in northern latitudes, workout primarily indoors, avoid sun, or use sunblock. Even athletes who aren’t deficient in the summer months (because they are getting enough sun—nature’s source of vitamin D) appear to be deficient in the winter.
Okay, so with all this talk about vitamin D, what is the role of magnesium? Research shows that magnesium maintains normal muscle functioning, muscle strength, and muscle metabolism. Early studies show it is also helpful in muscle functioning in young men participating in strength training. A lack of magnesium, however, may be associated with muscle contractions, cramps, and spasms.
As with vitamin D, the average male, age 20 or older, isn’t getting enough magnesium from food. This is especially true among men who restrict calories or consume a diet of magnesium-poor foods such as meat, eggs, and refined carbohydrates. And overall, many male athletes seem to be coming up short when it comes to their daily intake of magnesium through food.
So what’s a guy to do to make sure he’s getting enough of what he needs? Fortunately, you can meet your needs for vitamin D and magnesium simply by eating the right foods and getting a healthy amount of sunlight. Seafood, eggs, beef liver, mushrooms, and milk fortified with vitamin D are excellent sources of vitamin D, while nuts, beans, fortified cereals, and CLIF Builder’s Bars are easy ways to keep up with your magnesium requirements.
Remember, vitamin D and magnesium are essential for working muscles. Make sure you get plenty of both in your diet and you’ll keep going strong long after your workout.