Whether you have an athletic and sports-focused lifestyle, or are just dealing with the stresses of daily life, muscle aches and soreness are a common problem. Muscles connect to other muscles, as well as ligaments, tendons, and other tissues; this means that a strain or tightness in one muscle can result in pain and discomfort over a much larger area.
Remedial massage is of enormous benefit in treating sore muscles, however using certain vitamins, minerals, and trace elements can also be very helpful at treating the muscles from the inside.
Just like all other body tissues, muscle cells require proper nutrition for optimum growth and health. Eating nutrient-rich foods offers the best way to promote muscular growth and repair; without the correct vitamin intake, muscle mass is lost, bone density is reduced, and other systems in the body deteriorate. So whether vitamin intake is via dietary intake or the use of vitamin supplements, everyone should ensure they consume plenty of these top vitamins for muscular health:
Found in animal products such as meat, eggs, liver and milk, Vitamin B12 helps maintain energy levels and aids in the digestion of fats and carbohydrates, as well as maintaining nervous system pathways between the brain and muscles. As we age, it is less able to be absorbed by the body, hence supplements are often required.
Vitamin E provides protection of muscles from damaging free radicals, which build up during exercise; these free radicals are partly responsible for muscle soreness following a workout. Vitamin E can help relax the muscles. It is found in foods such as olives, green leafy vegetables, corn and wheat germ. If consumed as a supplement, care should be taken as high doses can be dangerous.
The body requires Vitamin A to metabolise protein, promote growth and produce testosterone, and is required for the body’s manufacture of new muscle cells. Vitamin A is sourced from foods such as liver and cod liver oil; many people prefer to instead use a supplement. Care should be taken to not take high doses of Vitamin A as too much can be hazardous to health.
Vitamin C plays a very important role in the body’s growth and development, as well as repair and maintenance due to its antioxidant properties. It has been scientifically proven to provide protection from muscle damage induced by exercise. It does this by helping the body eliminate lactic acid and by increasing collagen production.
Foods rich in Vitamin C include citrus, strawberries, kiwifruit, tomatoes, broccoli and green leafy vegetables. If taken in supplement form, care should be taken as very high doses can cause an upset stomach.
Naturally occurring in our skin when we are exposed to sunlight, and also found in foods such as fish and milk, Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus for bones and muscles. A deficiency in Vitamin D will result in weakened bones and muscles, chronic muscular fatigue and cramps. Low levels of Vitamin D have also been linked to high cholesterol levels. Many of us are low in natural Vitamin D levels; supplements can be very helpful to address this deficiency.
A deficiency in magnesium within the body can cause muscle tension, cramps, and spasms; this alkaline element is very important in muscle repair. Magnesium is vital mineral to muscle function, as well as that of nerves, and assists the body to synthesize proteins and grow healthy new muscles.
Muscles and tendons are embedded in bone and require certain nutrients to grow and function properly: effective magnesium absorption requires optimal levels of Vitamin D, as well as calcium, phosphorus, zinc and boron. Magnesium is sourced in the diet by eating salmon, spinach, soy-beans, pumpkin seeds, black beans and sunflower seeds.
Whether these essential vitamins and minerals are ingested by a nutrient rich diet (the best option), or by the careful use of supplements, their intake will greatly assist in muscle repair on a daily basis.
Whether you lead a physically active lifestyle or not, the health of your muscles (and consequently the rest of your body systems) will improve noticeably when your vitamin intake is adequate. Used in tandem with a great remedial massage, chronically sore muscles will become a thing of the past.