In this section I aim to discuss the importance of vitamins and minerals (also known as micronutrients) in bodybuilding. I do not intend to go through each vitamin, mineral and trace element individually, like so many other bodybuilding books, because I can see no use in this; after all we eat food not nutrients. I will, however, mention the use of individual micronutrients where they have a role. I will cover the importance of all micronutrients for good health and effective bodybuilding, and also sources of vitamins and minerals. I also want to examine the use of vitamin and mineral supplement preparations.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, roughly 39% of all Americans use vitamin and mineral supplements daily (Phillips 1997). It has been estimated that well over 80% of bodybuilders regularly use them (Phillips 1997). As I have previously pointed out, bodybuilders are extremely compulsive and adamant about taking care of their bodies and will do anything possible to maximise their muscle building and fat loss efforts. But most do not really understand what vitamins and minerals are, nor what they do, they merely believe more is better.
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients, as, broadly speaking, our bodies do not synthesise them, so we have to obtain them elsewhere. Micronutrients regulate metabolism and assist in numerous physiological and biochemical functions. Insufficient intakes may lead to deficiency problems, and in extreme cases, even death.
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