By Jim Stoppani | Published on July 29, 2017
About 30–60 minutes before bed you should take the following minerals and vitamins at least one hour before and after eating.
The easiest way to do so is via a ZMA supplement:
- 20–30mg zinc (20mg is the dose for females; 30mg is for male)
- 300–450mg magnesium (300mg is the dose for females; 450mg is for males)
- 6–11 mg vitamin B6
When it comes to supplements, most people will focus on the obvious ones like protein powders, creatine, BCAAs and beta alanine. After all, there’s no debating the fact that they play a critical role in your results. However, before you even worry about how to mix creatine and beta alanine, you should focus on your micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and other elements.
Research confirms that people who train intensely lose critical vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, chromium, selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper. This is due to the loss of minerals in sweat and urine, as well as their increased use for energy production during workouts, recovery and protein synthesis following training. Therefore it’s critical you get at least the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) or DV (daily value) for most minerals and get far more than these recommendations for most of the vitamins and certain minerals for optimal performance.
These four common problems with your daily A-Z tablet could be undermining your results.
Multitude of problems
While there’s no argument you should supplement with vitamins and minerals, the problem arises when trying to find a quality multivitamin product. You can’t just grab any from the store and be good to go. That’s down to four common mistakes that most multivitamins have made. Errors that limit the amount of nutrient uptake you get from the very tablet that’s meant to be giving you the goods.
Problem one: competition
Multivitamins contain minerals that interfere with the uptake of other micronutrients in the same product. Here are the prime suspects:
- Zinc interferes with absorption of protein and copper, made worse if you take it with a high-protein meal. It’s better to take zinc supplements at night.
- Iron interferes with zinc absorption.
- Calcium interferes with zinc, iron and manganese absorption.
- Magnesium interferes with manganese and calcium absorption, so should be absent from your multivitamin and be taken separately at another
time of day.
5. Phosphorus is already found richly in the typical diet, so having it in your multivitamin can raise phosphorus levels too high. It can prevent the absorption of vitamin D, creating negative consequences on bone health, muscle strength and testosterone levels
Problem two: missing micros
Many multivitamins include minerals that should not be in there, then completely skip critical micronutrients altogether. These are the vital nutrients most often left out:
- Vitamin K. This protects against heartdisease and cancer, enhances brain function, aids skin health, boosts testosterone production and promotes the formation of bone.
- Iodine. Critical for a healthy thyroid that regulates your metabolism, it’s also something most people are deficient in because of low iodised salt intakes.
- Chromium. Its uptake is enhanced when taken the same time as vitamin C.
- Copper. Higher zinc intakes can cause copper deficiency and while you should get 30 mg of zinc daily (separate from your multivitamin), it is important to get adequate copper.
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Problem three: pixy dusting
Many of the vital micronutrients discussed earlier are included in doses too insignificant to provide any benefit. A lot of multivitamin products sold today are severely under dosed not just for hard training guys, but for couch potatoes too. How many people really know how much copper, iodine, or even B vitamins they need? Few. And many supplement companies take advantage of that fact to make more money by using insignificant doses.
Problem four: bad form
Plenty of multivitamins use the cheap, ineffective, or even potentially dangerous forms of certain vitamins and minerals. These are the main offenders.
1. Vitamin A. It is often supplied as retinol which is rapidly absorbed and slowly cleared by your body, so can cause toxicity and liver problems if too much is consumed. Beta-carotene would be a better form of vitamin A because it becomes active when needed.
2. Vitamin K. This is usually in the form of vitamin K1 that comes from vegetables so most people aren’t usually deficient in it. Vitamin K2, is a more critical form to supplement with as it is lacking in most people’s diets and protects against heart disease and cancer while aiding skin health and boosting testosterone production
3. Chromium. This is typically given in its cheap, less effective form, chromium chloride, whereas chromium picolinate is absorbed far better.
How to build your own multivitamin/mineral supplement
To avoid the downfalls of most multivitamin products, you can simply make your own vitamin and mineral stack by buying each individual ingredient. That way you get the right form of each ingredient and you get the proper dose.
Take the following vitamins and minerals in these doses with breakfast or your first meal of the day that does not include a significant amount of calcium:
- 10,000 IU beta-carotene (vitamin A)
- B complex 100mg – this includes 100mg of B1(thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), 500-1000mcg B12, 400mcg folic acid, and 300mcg biotin.
- 250–500mg vitamin C
- 400 IU vitamin E
- 120mcg vitamin K2 (from MK-7 and MK-4)
- 3–10mg boron
- 200mcg chromium picolinate 3mg copper 8–18mg iron
- 150mcg iodine
- 2.3mg manganese
- 45mcg molybdenum
- 200mcg selenium
- 100mg potassium
- 5mcg nickel
- 2mg silicon
- 10mcg vanadium
Dr. Jim Stoppani has a doctorate in exercise physiology and has been a celebrity nutrition and health consultant.