7 Nutrients That Increase Muscle Tone

Specific vitamins and minerals provide needed ingredients for an increased lean body. The nutrients provide needed strength and should be included in the diet in the proper amounts on a regular basis.

Individuals who exercise also need specific nutrients to repair the “muscle fiber micro-tears” which take place naturally in muscles during movement. When the body is at rest, the restoration process rebuilds and strengthens the muscles. Individuals who do not refuel with the proper nutrients will be lacking necessary ingredients for optimal health.

Consider including the following “menu” for healthy muscles:

1. Vitamin C – All fruits and vegetables hold vitamin C which is needed by the body. The vitamin is essential for the health of the blood vessels, muscle support, and natural oxygen supply, according to Dr. Cuomo (USANA Health Sciences).

Adding a variety of colorful fruits/veggies will provide the support needed for ongoing muscle health. Giving the body the “best” fuel will provide optimal muscle tone and function. Dr. Popovitz (NY Bone & Joint Specialists) reminds the community, vitamin C is also important for the proper building of collagen, a building block needed to build healthy bones and muscles.

  • NIH Recommendation: 75 mg daily (one medium orange, one cup strawberries)

2. Fish Oil – Omega 3, fatty acids found in fish oil, are equally important to muscle health. Dr. Cuomo reminds the public of the ability of fish oil to enhance muscular blood flow, reduce breakdown of protein, and lower inflammation providing for a faster recovery. Omega 3 is known as the “secret weapon” for increasing muscle tone. The nutrient also helps to improve sensitivity to insulin, preventing diabetes disease progression.

  • AHA Recommendation: Weekly intake of two servings (3.5 ounce each portion) of fatty fish (salmon, herring, lake trout, mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna); for individuals who do not eat fish, include a 1,000 – 3,000 mg supplement of DHA/EPA daily; vegetarians can include omega-3 rich seeds/nuts (flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts)

3. Calcium – Calcium is essential for strong bones and muscles. When an individual moves, the mineral is needed to “contract and grow” the muscles. Therefore, adding calcium-rich foods to the diet are highly important for optimum function.

  • Health Recommendation: 1,200 mg daily (dairy products, dark green veggies, high-quality health supplements) If choosing a health supplement, choose one which includes vitamin D (needed for calcium absorption). Also, when taking a calcium supplement small increments (500 mg) should be taken throughout the day for the best benefit.

4. Magnesium – Although magnesium deficiency is rare in the United States, most women do not get enough of the nutrient according to Dr. Popovitz. A sufficient supply of magnesium is necessary for optimal heart muscle function. The ingredient is also wonderful for alleviating muscle cramps/soreness.

  • NIH Recommendation: 310 – 320 mg daily; according to Dr. Popovitz, a daily supplement of 400 mg will not be harmful for weight lifters. Magnesium is also found in whole grains, nuts, spinach, and legumes.

5. Vitamin B Family – The B vitamins are necessary for the best health possible. Each are actively important to muscle health, protein metabolism, a healthy nervous system, and for the breakdown of fats/carbs.

  • Health Recommendation: Include adequate amounts of whole grains, lean meats, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables to gain a variety in most of the B vitamins. B12 is only available in animal proteins or by adding a high-quality nutritional supplement (2.4 mcg).

6. Vitamin D – Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin.” It holds many powers including increasing immunity, boosting the mood, and aiding in muscle health. The muscles have need of the vitamin to grow, strengthen, and function.

  • Health Recommendation: Daily sun exposure; or add a healthy supplement of 4,000 to 6,000 IU daily; blood tests can also reveal any vitamin D deficiencies.

7. Vitamin E – Vitamin E is full of antioxidants which aid in cell membrane recovery after exercise. Eating a handful of natural almonds is great after a workout providing protein, fiber, and healthy fats for the body.

  • Health Recommendation: 15 mg daily; nuts and seeds are a great source of vitamin E. Larger doses of vitamin E (300 mg and up) can cause issues with nausea, weakness, and stomach discomfort. Overdose of vitamin E can be fatal.




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