Vitamin supplementation is increasingly becoming a staple of modern diets. Almost every vitamin deficiency we may have is catered for by a burgeoning supplement industry, as is every need and requirement.
Amongst these requirements are the select sets of needs presented by bodybuilders – as a result, and unsurprisingly, there are myriad multivitamin products available on the market aimed at covering everything and more that a bodybuilder might need. Here at ThisIsWhyImFit.com, we’ve found that Animal Pak by Universal Nutrition is the best multivitamin for most bodybuilders.
Sports nutrition supplements support your training efforts by helping you to build a solid dietary bedrock for performance and recovery. Without a clean, well-balanced diet to supply your body with appropriate nutrition, this will amount to very little.
However, combining a good quality diet with a top up boost from multivitamins will serve you very well: consider it the ultimate backup for those, like bodybuilders, who require a good deal more volume of micronutrients from their nutrition plans than normal. In this article, I will take you through a few of the top multivitamins available for bodybuilding.
Top 6 Best Multivitamins for Bodybuilders
The following list is ranked in no particular order. All have their strengths and weaknesses, and all deserve their place on this list.
- Animal Pak Universal Nutrition (Our Top Pick)
- Controlled Labs ORANGE TRIAD
- Old School’s Vintage Base
- Bodybuilding.com Signature Multivitamin
- MuscleTech Platinum Multivitamins
- Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men
Our Top Pick
This isn’t the first time I’ve struggled to choose between two list toppers for the number one spot. However, there can only be one winner: my top pick for the best multivitamins for bodybuilder is Animal Pak’s Universal Nutrition.
It was a tough call between this and Optimum Nutrition’s Opti-Men, though all six options on this list are competitive.
All six featured multivitamins come with their issues, some of which are common between more than one- the concentrations and varieties of various vitamins and minerals can fluctuate quite wildly between products – but all of them will deliver what they promise.
There will always be a product or two that stand out from the rest, however. For me, the sheer range and quality of vitamins and minerals to be found in Animal Pak’s product gives it the lead. The addition of anti-oxidants is a truly inspired choice: we would all do well to take advantage of the range of antioxidants available on today’s market.
How We Picked Our Winner
Beyond covering the basics- providing a decent amount of good quality, staple vitamins and minerals that would all be usefully added to a bodybuilder’s diet – looking at the added nutritional and sporting performance perks have been top priority in writing this list.
For products with such fundamental similarities as are present between commercially available multivitamins, the sheer volume of products available means that anybody wanting to stand out from the crowd has to offer something fairly unique to their customers. These six have all done so, greatly aiding users in areas like hydration, energy levels, power output, longevity and immune support.
Whilst the quality of the vitamins and minerals themselves were of utmost importance, the main things I was looking for in putting this list together was these added perks. Any one of them will give you a thorough nutritional foundation, but after that your own personal pick will have to reflect your personal preferences – luckily the sector is varied enough that you can easily do this with a little shopping around.
Bearing all of this in mind, as with all the products that we have considered in previous articles, all of our finalists had to:
- Deliver high quality ingredients, including the vitamins and minerals themselves. I only considered candidates whose makeup gives a good, steady stream of healthful benefits and whose effects were well documented both by myself and other consumers.
- Be easy to take and palatable. All of these are convenient and easy to take when they are needed.
- Offer something above and beyond the usual. The multivitamins industry is massive and overcrowded- to really stand out, a multivitamin supplement has to be tailored to specific requirements: bodybuilding, and all the pitfalls that come with it, in this case. The list above has offered more than the basics, with every item offering multiple, practical benefits that will aid you in your training regime.
What Is a Multivitamin?
The term ‘vitamin’ was coined in 1912 by the Polish biochemist Casimir Funk. He isolated a set of micronutrients that were essential to life. Originally, Funk used the word vitamine as he believed that they were all amines – the ‘e’ was dropped when it was later discovered that they were not.
All vitamins were identified between 1913, building on Funk’s work, and 1948. Since then, we have been rapidly expanding our knowledge of what they are and what they can do for us.
Vitamins are organic molecules, or related sets of molecules, that form essential micronutrients. Organisms like us need these micronutrients in minute amounts in order for our bodily processes to function correctly. Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities – if at all, in some cases- by the human body and so must be consumed through diet.
Vitamins have very varied biochemical functions. For instance, forms of vitamin A help to regulate cell and tissue growth; B complex vitamins act as enzyme cofactors (coenzymes); vitamin D works like a hormone, regulating mineral metabolism for bones and organs. Just from this very minimal list, we can see why they are so important for bodybuilding, and for training in general. All that training would be worthless without proper dietary intake.
We have been supplementing dietary vitamin intake since the late 1930s. Prior to this, underconsumption of dietary vitamins resulted in deficiency and ultimately disease. This was all to change: commercially available tablets of yeast-extract vitamin B complex and semi-synthetic vitamin C hit the markets. In the 1950s things shifted up a gear with the mass production and marketing of vitamin supplements, including multivitamins.
A whole host of deficiency related diseases was suddenly consigned to the history books. This is how important multivitamins have been to our lifestyles.
Best Multivitamins for Bodybuilders Reviews
Let’s start with one of the best multivitamin supplements around, supplied by one of the most reputable companies around. Their credentials and manufacturing certificates are sound, so you know that you are getting no less or more than what their products say on the tin.
Their multivitamin is something a bit special, with one of the longest lists of vitamins, minerals and amino acids I’ve ever seen- you get everything you need and more with this one. In addition to these, however, is something which I particularly liked the look of: the supplement also delivers antioxidant compounds and liver health support, which will be vital in maintaining longevity through such a gruelling workout and dietary regimen as you get with bodybuilding.
Similarly, we all know that bodybuilders need more than your average dose of any supplements we take. The exertion we put our bodies through, combined with the added muscle mass we build, means that doses need to be increased by several factors in most cases. Animal Pak have you covered here. Their nutrients typically come in quantities between several hundred to several thousand percent of the average RDI, meaning that you will get plenty enough to hit your requirements.
I would recommend this product to anybody looking to stress their bodies like a bodybuilder- it does the job and then some.
Our next offering is nowhere near as comprehensive as Animal Pak, but they are great for specificity in a number of departments. Controlled Labs’ ORANGE TRIAD comes with a 10,000% dose of vitamin B12 per serving. This is ludicrous and unabsorbable, but this isn’t the point – when there is any wasted, it means that your RDI has been hit, meaning you can be confident that you’re getting your full dose.
If you’re B12 deficient or suspect that you aren’t hitting the degree of cell metabolism that you should, this is a great product to aim for.
This aside, there isn’t that much to write home about the ORANGE TRIAD. They are better than your average over the counter multivitamins, but they have several key failings. They fall short on several ingredients – vitamin E and magnesium most crucially – that should be incorporated into any serious gaining routine. Magnesium is one of the most important compounds you can take for strength and muscle gains. This really is quite an oversight for something marketed for towards the fitness community.
Aside from a pretty cool aesthetic, Old School have based their brand’s success on a healthy mix of good quality vitamins, minerals and probiotic supplements. The Vintage Base is a solid option for all of these.
The variety and concentration don’t hit the same levels as Animal Pak, though this is admittedly a high bar to reach. The range is still very broad and everything is present at levels high enough to be very effective. However, they don’t quite match their competition on this count.
So what is the USP? For this, we would have to look at the Vintage Base’s probiotic activity. If you’ve no issues in this department, I would move on to a different product. However, if you’re interested in gut health and maximising absorption, Vintage Base will come into its own. Though claims about probiotics and gut support are often hyperbolic and ill supported by great quantities of credible research, anecdotal evidence suggests a very strong link for those who suffer with gut health between such products and a decrease in notable symptoms.
I have certainly seen first-hand the benefits brought about by probiotics, as well as the ill effects that a bodybuilding regime and diet can have on the gut. We all know at least one person whose stomach struggles to cope with a high protein, high fat diet. That’s why I think Vintage Base is a worthy and very utilisable addition to this list. The benefits can be felt immediately, especially when the tablets are paired with foods that are harder on the stomach… these can leave you much more ‘regular’ than you started, which will come as a great relief for those who need it.
I don’t like Bodybuilding.com. They are an entirely sketchy company whose business practices have left a lot to be desired over the years. Transgressions including lacing products with steroid and falsifying information have been rife with them in the past.
I therefore come to them now with a degree of healthy cynicism.
Bodybuilding.com’s Signature Multivitamin comes with a much lower dose of vitamins and minerals than some of its competitors. For pure concentration I would still go for Animal Pak. However, the signature multivitamin does still deliver an average concentration of 100%. Whilst this is a lot lower than in other products, it’s still an effective dose and will serve you pretty well if you already have a decent, balanced diet.
However, this is a fantastic budget option. If you’re trying not to spend too much on your supplements but still want something that delivers the basics and gives you a solid nutritional foundation on which to work, bodybuilding.com come into their own- I would thoroughly recommend this product to any body builders looking to economise.
This is a good one for those going through a mild cutting phase. The MuscleTech Platinum Multivitamins are one part vitamin supplement and one part low-grade fat-burner and pre-workout. You get all the regulars with it – common dosages and varieties you would expect from a multivitamin of its calibre. The mineral concentrations are quite low, but this is made up for by the extras.
You get quite a few compounds that you would usually expect to see floating around the fat-burner and pre-workout sections of a supplement store. With items like green tea extract, green coffee bean and turmeric, it will likely put you into a slightly heightened metabolic rate.
It’s not just all about the fat loss, either. There are some other welcome benefits to these kinds of compound. The ingredients included in Muscle Tech’s list that make good fat burners are also associated with improved health and wellbeing, anti-inflammatory effects and increased cognitive performance, amongst other things. This is further compounded by the inclusion of amino support like Alpha-GPC and Citrulline, which will improve neural and cognitive health as well as blood flow. You will feel brighter, more energised and more mobile taking these.
Optimum Nutrition’s Opti-Men is top notch for variety and quality of vitamins. Though it’s marketed for men, I see no reason why women wouldn’t benefit from taking it during a bulking cycle- or anytime, for that matter. It’s got a strong range of concentrations for each main vitamins and minerals, averaging over 300%- anyone trying to benefit from an added health and vitality kick will do well on the Opti-men.
It doesn’t add a whole lot to bodybuilding specifically. It’s got none of the more targeted compounds that some of its competitors boast, but this shouldn’t put you off. Bodybuilders are notorious for depleting their stores of vitamins and minerals, with average diets unable to keep up. The Opti-Men will perfectly replenish you.
You will by now hopefully know enough about the range of multivitamins for bodybuilders that are available on the market to make a well-considered, well-informed choice in buying your own. This article has covered all the basics and presented you with a good selection of high quality, affordable supplements: any of those on my list will mark a good purchase. You know my favourite, but do you have a preference? Let me know in the comments below: what multivitamin supplements would you recommend.