Bodybuilding supplements aren’t all about whey protein and creatine.
Getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet is one of the most important factors in putting together an optimal-muscle nutrition routine. This doesn’t just mean doubling down on chicken and broccoli, but a well-rounded dietary profile.
However, sometimes its either essential or just smart to be safe with your vitamin intake and use a multivitamin. We recommend this type of product to everyone, as it provides an easy way of covering a lot of your bases and taking some of the stress off of your diet.
Today we’re going to take you through the most popular and best multivitamins for bodybuilding. They’re not the most glamorous products, but by the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for in a multivitamin and a shortlist of some of the best multivitamins for bodybuilding.
- Are Vitamins Important for Bodybuilding & Athletes?
- Micronutrients for Bodybuilding & Athletes: Health and Performance
- When to Take Multivitamins?
- Multivitamins for Muscle Mass
- What to Look for in a Multivitamin?
- Our Review of the Best Multivitamins for Bodybuilding & Athletes
- Our Top Pick(s)
- Final Thoughts
Are Vitamins Important for Bodybuilding & Athletes?
Vitamins aren’t quite as interesting as getting your optimal protein intake or balancing your calorie intake to your training volume, but they matter.
The point of vitamins – and minerals – is that they’re small compounds that your body uses to regulate itself and provide essential chemicals to the processes that keep you alive. This extends all the way from breathing to digesting food to building muscle.
There are dozens of micronutrients you should have in your diet and it’s going to be important to focus on the most-crucial. Things like vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium, and Iron are just a few examples of what you’ll find in a multivitamin. These 4 compounds alone are involved in around 500 enzymatic reactions and even more processes.
Simply put, vitamins are important for bodybuilding because they’re important for keeping you alive, as well as under-writing the processes that make every step of the muscle gain process possible.
Micronutrients for Bodybuilding & Athletes: Health and Performance
There are a wide variety of different benefits to getting the right vitamins and minerals into your diet. With over 20 essential nutrients and many more conditionally-essential or regular nutrients, we’re not going to list the specifics for all of them.
However, it’s important to note that you can’t live on a diet of just macronutrients like proteins, carbs and fats. The other things you put into your body have a huge role to play and we’ll be discussing the most important benefits, as well as a few important examples.
When to Take Multivitamins?
It doesn’t matter too much!
Individual vitamins and minerals are absorbed and used at different times, so you can’t really time it perfectly. We do recommend taking them in the morning with your first drink of water or with breakfast – but only because it’s a little easier to remember.
As long as you’re getting your multivitamins every day at roughly the same time you probably won’t notice much difference for the specific time-of-day. Make sure to take them with water and/or food, however, as this can improve the effectiveness of overall absorption/utilization of nutrients!
Multivitamins for Muscle Mass
When we look at the pyramid of what makes for maximum muscle growth, vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) are just following the balance of macros in your diet and are more important than nutrient timing.
If you’re worrying about hitting your anabolic window but you’re not worried about getting your vitamins and minerals in, you’re already cutting your gains short. You should prioritize these things by how important they are for your muscle growth, which means micronutrients are important.
Aside from just maximizing muscle mass with vitamins, you should be looking at the key health benefits they bring. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies increase your risk of illness, reduce performance, and may even damage areas like metabolism or digestion.
Being interested in improving your body comes with worrying about sustainability: you want the best physique possible for as long as possible. A diet rich in micronutrients is essential for the best results and the longest-lasting health and performance.
What to Look for in a Multivitamin?
The real question is what makes a good multivitamin for bodybuilding & athletes?
To start with, you want to make sure there’s good variety of vitamins and minerals in there. There are 28 essential micronutrients, so you want to make sure that you’re getting at least a majority of them from your multivitamin.
There are other vitamin supplements on the market that focus on specific compounds at a higher concentration but for a regular multivitamin, it’s going to be more important to get a variety for most people. If your diet is reasonable, this provides you with a relatively healthy amount of everything.
While variety is often more important, you need to be getting all of your vitamins at a level that is going to be effective. You don’t need 500% of your daily amount for every vitamin, but anything between 66 and 100% is a great place for most ingredients.
There are a few exceptions: for example, B12 might need more like 100-500% since it doesn’t absorb very well. Either way, getting a concentration that’s above 50% of your RDA for difficult vitamins like vitamin D or B12 are great ways of making sure you’re not deficient.
This is crucial since you’re going to need to buy a multivitamin pretty regularly. Getting the most servings per $ – and the best product – is going to be crucial. We’ll be discussing this briefly, but pricings tend to be clustered relatively closely for multivitamins.
When it comes to the specific needs of bodybuilders, there are some secondary compounds that can provide great value. For example, anything with additional creatine or muscle-building compounds (minerals like zinc and magnesium) can be a great benefit.
These aren’t crucial, but they can separate two products that are neck-and-neck if one has more active ingredients.
Our Review of the Best Multivitamins for Bodybuilding & Athletes
1. Animal Pak
Animal are a recognizable and reputable company within the supplement space – especially among bodybuilders and powerlifters. With good-manufacturing practices certification, you can rest assured that you’re getting what is on the label – and nothing else.
The sheer variety in Animal Pak is impossible to ignore – it provides all crucial vitamins and minerals as well as a number of non-essential or “bonus” ingredients. This also includes a variety of essential amino acids.
On top of these essential nutrients, there are antioxidant compounds, liver health support and a variety of other amazing compounds to support health and wellbeing.
The concentration of these compounds is also routinely-fantastic. Difficult-to-absorb nutrients are included between 200% and 9000% – providing more than enough to ensure you’re hitting your daily needs. This makes for a great product.
Of course, you’re going to need to be very strict with dosing – so follow the instructions on the container closely. We think this is one of the most impressive supplements we’ve ever discussed – not just in this article!
2. Vintage Base
Vintage sells their product on a mixture of vitamins, minerals and probiotic activity. This is a bit of a strange choice, but it’s in-line with the increasing popularity of gut health as the next big fad in health and fitness.
Right off the bat, the variety and concentration don’t match up to the Animal Pak product. The vitamins and minerals are well-represented and present at effective rates. However, they’re not as varied or as concentrated as the Animal products.
This means that the major selling point has to be the probiotic effects. However, this is not a huge deal to most bodybuilders and it doesn’t provide a huge benefit to either health or wellbeing. The benefits of probiotics/gut support are over-exaggerated and don’t have much reliable evidence.
The best we can say about probiotics is that they’re good for helping you feel better after a digestive tract illness, but they’re not exceptionally important in healthy people who eat a balanced diet. As a result, this is a bit of a flop – we’d recommend sticking with something that focuses on vitamins, minerals, and other essentials.
3. Evlution VITAMODE
The Evlution VITAMODE is a great example of what a well-rounded multivitamin should look like. It doesn’t compare to the Animal Pak on either comprehensiveness or concentration, but it’s a great product and comes at a better price point than the Animal product.
The concentration is practically-similar to Animal’s, with an average ingredient concentration of over 200% of your daily requirement. These are great for any multivitamin product, and they’re heavily geared towards maximizing muscle gains and fat loss.
Another fantastic benefit is the inclusion of choline and piperine. Choline is a key part of the neurotransmitter ‘acetylcholine’ that improves neural health and mood. Meanwhile, piperine increases the absorption of other nutrients – like vitamins and minerals – into your body during digestion.
This combination makes for a great all-round health and wellness multivitamin for bodybuilding and strength sports. The neural support is great and increased absorption means a more effective product overall, despite percentages of RDA or mg of each nutrient.
4. Legion Triumph
Despite being the most expensive product we’ve covered so far on this list, we’re not massively convinced that Legion’s multivitamin is worth the extra expense.
Again, this product ticks all the boxes on the main vitamins and minerals by providing effective doses with a great range. However, it simply doesn’t manage to out-do the Animal Pak on variety or secondary ingredients.
There are some areas where Legion’s multivitamin provides a greater concentration of a given ingredient – such as 10,000% of your RDA of B12 rather than Animal Pak’s 9000%. Sadly, this just isn’t enough to out-weigh the areas where it falls short of the competitors – despite being a great product.
The secondary ingredients in this product are a combination of phytonutrients and other antioxidants. These can be useful for health and wellbeing, but there are more powerful vitamins and other nutrients that provide health and muscle-building benefits. If you want phytonutrients, eat your veggies and get a Supergreens!
5. Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men
For variety and secondary ingredients, optimum nutrition’s male-targeted multivitamin is definitely a great product.
With average concentrations over 300% for key vitamins and minerals, it’s easy to see why we’re fans. The concentration is great, the variety of essential nutrients is huge, and the secondary ingredients are extensive.
While we don’t think this is the best multivitamin for bodybuilding, it is definitely a fantastic and well-rounded product for anyone trying to improve their health and wellbeing. With a huge concentration of micronutrients beyond vitamins and minerals – things like phytonutrients and other small boosts to your health – it fits this market perfectly.
When it comes to bodybuilding vitamins, this is on a par with Legion’s multivitamin supplement – we like them both a lot and they provide great health benefits, but they’re not well-specialized for bodybuilding.
6. Controlled Labs Orange Triad
Aside from a 10,000% dose of vitamin B12, Controlled labs’ product doesn’t seem to be particularly competitive in either concentration or variety. The concentration in minerals is much lower than others on the market and even the secondary ingredients suffer from a restricted range.
Overall, this is a great example of how the multivitamin market comes with products that are going to be more effective than your Walgreens-style multivitamin, but also of the range between the best products and the rest of the herd.
Controlled labs’ multivitamin definitely falls into the latter, falling far short on crucial ingredients like vitamin E and Magnesium. The latter is one of the most important compounds for supplementation for health, strength, and muscle gains. Overlooking this crucial compound is an easy way to miss out on the benefits of a better multivitamin for bodybuilding and physique progress.
7. BodyBuilding.Com Signature Multivitamin
The first thing we always have to note with Bodybuilding.com supplements is their incredibly shady past. This is a company that once sold steroid-laced products to visitors in an attempt to improve sales and generate hype – so we come to their products with a much greater skepticism.
Beyond this, the concentration of vitamins and minerals is much lower than in products like Legion or Animal Pak. The average concentration may be around 100% – an effective dose, of course – but this often less than half of those found in other products on this list.
There’s not really much of a difference.
Again, Magnesium concentrations are low, and the secondary ingredients leave a lot to be desired. They’re as effective as those in supplements like Controlled Labs’ multivitamin, but if you’re looking for a multivitamin for bodybuilding, we’ve already outlined products that are far superior.
This is a budget option – which might make it a good choice if you’re tight on cash or just don’t want to spend much on a supplement – but if you want a multivitamin for muscle gains, this isn’t nearly optimal.
8. Vita JYM
The concentration on this product is ridiculous. With 20,000% of your intended B12 supplementation, as well as enormous doses of other key vitamins and minerals, we’re very impressed with the way that this product provides effective vitamin supplementation.
As multivitamins go, Vita JYM is definitely hitting all the key ingredients and this concentration ensures that – regardless of absorption rates – you’re probably getting everything you need. This is even more true since the piperine in this product improves absorption.
With this combination of primary and secondary ingredients, the biggest concern we have is actually how often you should be taking this huge dose of micronutrients!
Fortunately, a serving size is 2 capsules – however, we’d suggest alternating between days where you take 1 capsule and 2 capsules. This should ensure you have effective clearance rates and don’t run into any huge problems with your filtering processes.
With a great price tag and a huge concentration of vitamins/minerals, we really like this as a competitor for the top spot. It doesn’t have a great secondary-ingredient profile, but it provides everything you need from a multivitamin at a great price.
9. MuscleTech Platinum Multivitamin
The MuscleTech Platinum Multivitamin strikes a strange balance between multivitamin and subtle fat-burner/pre-workout product.
It includes all of the common dosages and variety you’d expect from a multivitamin at a competitive level (despite slightly weaker concentrations of minerals), but also has compounds we tend to see in pre-workout or fat-burner supplements.
This combination actually seems like a reasonable choice since compounds like green tea leaf extract, green coffee bean, Turmeric and more are associated with improved health and wellbeing as well as cognitive performance, mood, and a dozen other health benefits.
The amino support matrix is also a great combination of cholinergic compounds like Alpha-GPC (which boost mental performance and neural health), and even Citrulline (for improved blood flow and better muscle pumps).
This is a well-rounded supplement and a direct competitor to Animal Pak. We believe that this is the best multivitamin for bodybuilding that we’ve covered so far: it provides benefit specific to the muscle-building enthusiast, even if it isn’t as potent as other products when we look at the vitamin/mineral content.
10. RSP BioVite Advanced Multivitamin
The defining trait of RSP’s BioVite multivitamin – as a bodybuilding supplement – is mediocrity.
The concentration and variety of ingredients are comparable to others on this list – there’s nothing wrong with the product – but it doesn’t provide any unique benefits. The only real benefit to this product is that it is one of the cheapest on this list.
While you might be able to get a full multivitamin cheaply, as a multivitamin for bodybuilding it provides very limited and underwhelming benefits. This is yet another example of a product that is fine in a market where optimizing muscle growth and health/wellness is the goal.
The introduction of reds blend and greens blend is a nice concept, but it is the same as other products with herbal matrices or blends. The benefits aren’t exceptional in comparison to those on this list – and they’re not specific to bodybuilding.
Our Top Pick(s)
We’re conflicted on the best bodybuilding multivitamin.
There are two clear contenders: Animal Pak and the MuscleTech Platinum multivitamin. These represent very different but fantastic products that are going to be dependent on how you train and what you want from the supplements.
The Animal product is one of the most respected on the market and we think it provides an almost perfectly well-rounded product for those who are interested in strength and size. It has a great variety, with good concentration and secondary ingredients.
On the other hand, MuscleTech produces the best multivitamin for bodybuilding specifically, with compounds that act to boost performance and muscle-building potential. They might only be indirect benefits, but they add a huge boost to this product compared to others on the market.
Overall, when talking about a multivitamin for bodybuilding – and not just for strength/size – we have to go with MuscleTech and their Platinum daily multivitamin. It’s the perfect compliment to a good bodybuilding training/diet routine.
A multivitamin is a great supplement to support performance and health, but it’s still about finding what fits your lifestyle and habits.
We’ve discussed some of the best multivitamins for bodybuilding & athletes, as well as exposing some of the less-effective or worthwhile products on the market. We hope this provides you with options to look through and a way of understanding what you’re getting yourself into and how to navigate the market.
Last update on 2019-08-20 UTC -5 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API - Details