Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
Whereas supplements like protein, creatine, and various amino acids are important for bodybuilders, it may be a multivitamin that is the single most important supplement to include in a fitness regimen. The problem is, most athletes do not know the importance of taking a daily multivitamin.
Sure, most people know that protein is necessary for recovery and that caffeine and creatine are great for energy, but what is the importance of zinc? Iron and calcium? Vitamins A, C, and D? And how does each vitamin/mineral relate to bodybuilding?
Explaining the function of each vitamin/mineral is beyond the scope of this article, so we will just tell you that each vitamin and mineral contained in a multi is essential for different metabolic processes, and you are certainly hampering your success and results in your fitness goals if you are not taking a multivitamin. So without further interruption, here is The BirthOrderPlus’s top choices for multivitamins based on ingredients, sales, and popularity.
1. Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men/Opti-Women
Opti-Men contains the basic vitamins and minerals that are needed to combat fatigue, rebuild muscle, and restore order to basic bodily functionality. It contains 75 ingredients perfectly optimized for an athletic male but also includes other powerful ingredients that you’re not going to find in your ordinary Centrum or One-a-Day.
Opti-Men contains an Amino Blend that combines 8 free-form Amino Acids meant to encourage muscle growth and development and fight muscle soreness and fatigue. This multivitamin also contains what they call a “Viri-Blend” which is a combination of 8 botanical ingredients that are designed to improve male virility.
Opti-Men also has an enzyme blend to help the absorption of the vitamins and minerals in the formula, but also for the absorption of macromolecules like protein. Many do not understand the importance of enzymes: they are vital for those who are ingesting large amounts of any macromolecules like protein. Without them, much of the protein athletes intake can go unused.
The serving size for Opti-Men is the one drawback. Unlike many vitamins, where you simply take one per day, you have to take 3 throughout the day at breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, if you are a serious bodybuilder or athlete, you are probably taking other supplements around this time anyways, so adding in your multi should be no problem.
Optimum Nutrition has always been know for their great prices and their multivitamin Opti-Men is no exception.
2. Universal Nutrition Animal Pak
When Universal came out with their first “Animal” product called Animal Pak, they really set the standard for bodybuilding-strength multivitamins, and also set the stage for a wide array of vastly popular and effective bodybuilding supplements. Animal Pak was the first multivitamin to come in packets featuring a multivitamin along with other power-packed pills meant to make the bodybuilder’s life a little bit easier.
Each Animal Pak packet contains 11 caplets designed to improve the body’s performance both in and out of the gym. The main function is to “fill in the gaps” where your diet leaves off. Chances are you are not getting the essential vitamins and minerals that you need to function at your maximum efficiency. Animal Pak solves this by including the exact balance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients vital to a bodybuilder’s success.
Among other pills, the Animal Pak contains a Vitamin blend, a Mineral blend, an Amino Acid blend, a Performance complex including Carnitine and Milk Thistle, and Antioxidant complex and an Enzyme and Digestion Complex.
Animal Pak really covers all the bases with this one and you are going to really see results with this. Most people can’t wait to try a new pre-workout powder or test booster because of the results they plan on seeing. Well this is a multivitamin that should be getting you just as hyped.
3. Controlled Labs Orange Triad Multivitamin
Controlled Labs is a company that comes out with unique products with very unique and colorful names (think Green Bulge, White Flood, Black Hole, etc). Their multivitamin, appropriately named “Orange Triad” is their entry in the multivitamin category of nutritional supplements. As far as the vitamin mineral blend. Orange Triad is pretty much similar to most of the multivitamins in this article.
The vitamin/mineral blend are going to be effective in restoring nutritional deficiencies and keeping the body at 100% working order. But Orange Triad competes with Animal Pak, Opti-Men and other multi’s adding a few different things.One unique thing about Orange Triad is their Joint and Flex Complex.
The ingredients in the Joint and Flex Complex combines to help lubricate joints and rebuild cartilage. Two of these ingredients, Glucosamine and Chondroitin, have been thoroughly studied in lab and clinical trials for their usefulness in easing arthritic pain and restoring cartilage in damaged joints. Studies have shown significant improvement in joint pain relief through supplementation with these two compounds.
The Flex Complex in Orange Triad consists of MSM, or Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane), Bromelain, and Hyaluronic Acid. The importance of MSM is that is provides sulfur, and key building block for cartilage and joint tissue. Hyaluronic Acid is also a component of joint tissue that helps soften and lubricate joint tissue.
Controlled Labs Orange Triad also contain an Enzyme and Digestion blend that will help ease the absorption of both the multivitamin itself and the massive amounts of protein that you should be eating each day.
The one drawback to Orange Triad is that the serving size is 6 tablets. This is less than the 11 in Animal Pak, but it is still a lot. Most bodybuilders though, as mentioned above, shouldn’t have a problem with this.
4. AST Multi Pro 32X
AST has risen to challenge of trying to perfect the bodybuilder’s multivitamin. As bodybuilders, we need more in the way of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than your average “skinny-fat” guy whose definition of exercise is bowling night with the bros.
The key selling points for AST Multi Pro 32X is its high antioxidant content, is easy to swallow caplets, its small serving size (only 1 caplet per day), and it special enteric coating, which allows for a controlled disbursement of nutrients.
Now, Multi Pro 32X isn’t going to be as all-inclusive as multivitamins like Animal Pak and Orange Triad, but we know that the extras in these products come at a price, a price that AST saves you with their multi.
5. Gaspari Nutrition Anavite Multivitamin Formula
Gaspari Nutrition’s products are almost certainly on the top of most bodybuilders’ shopping lists, so here is one more of their products to add, along with their awesome SuperPump 250 and Myofusion. Anavite is their first entry into the multivitamin category, and from the looks of it, it should be a top seller soon. The reason is fell so low on this list is because it is still fairly new, so sales data are still waiting to be factored into its popularity.
However, from the looks of the ingredient profile in Anavite, this could be one of the top selling multivitamins on the web. Bodybuilding.com compiles the top selling 50 products from their site each year, so we will see if it breaks into this coveted list.
Anavite claims to be more than just a multivitamin, in fact, it claims to be 3 supplements in one. The first is obviously the multivitamin/mineral complex that is designed to make up for discrepancies in nutritional intake. It is pretty much impossible to get all of the vitamins and minerals that you need from food, so Anavite fills in the gaps here. It also contains Carnitine, a nutrients that have been studied for their role in increasing energy and focus and decreasing fatigue during exercise.
The second supplement in Gaspari Anavite is the recovery aid L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, a key amino acid derivative for increasing vascularity, blood flow, and androgen receptor density.
Finally, the third supplement “within” Anavite is the 3 grams of Beta-Alanine contained in it. If you haven’t read about the effects of beta-alanine, you really should, as it is one of the hottest topics in bodybuilding nutrition right now.
Gaspari really hit one out of the park with this one. Anavite is going to include only what you need to reach your maximum performance and it also cuts out what you don’t really need, or what they call “label fluff” to save you money.