When shopping for supplements, many of us overlook multivitamin supplements in favour of protein, BCAA and pre workout supplement.
However, the importance of incorporating a multi vitamin should never be overlooked. In fact it should be at number one in anyone’s nutrition and supplement regimen.
Supplementing without enough essential vitamins and minerals as a base for good health, is a bit like running a mile through molasses. Yes, you’ll get to where you want to be, but it will take longer and you won’t be at your peak when you get there.
In the bodybuilding market, the multivitamins in the past have been aimed at growth, not overall health. Now thanks to Optimum Nutrition, the people behind Gold standard Whey, that’s changing.
Their Opti-Men multivitamin is designed specifically for active men to replenish or boost overall health, allowing our bodies to get on with the job of building and repairing muscle tissue at an “optimum” level.
The Ingredients and how they work
The ingredient list in Opti-Men is like a who’s who of the vitamin and mineral world, over 70 in fact and to list all of them and their benefits, would make this the longest review in history and maybe have you nodding off to sleep.
With that in mind, we have only listed the “Big Guns” that are of particular interest to bodybuilders and other athletes.
This Vitamin’s two primary functions are to boost our immune system by helping white blood cells function better and to aid in the building and repair of body tissues.
Intense physical exercise, a low fat diet and a low body fat percentage, deplete the stores and slows absorption of vitamin A in your system. Simply put, if you’re training heavily and not getting enough vitamin A, some of the heavy sets you’re putting in are being wasted. No matter how much protein you supplement with.
Another high dose, but this one shouldn’t need much explanation. Vitamin C is proven to be a great healer and protector from infections, helps to heal wounds and protects against the effects of pollution such as smog and cigarette smoke.
Researchers believe these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg with many studies into the effects of Vitamin C continuing.
As bodybuilders, this vitamin has even more importance to us. High levels of Vitamin C suppress our body’s release of the hormone Cortisone. It is released when the body is under physical and mental stress. Cortisone decreases testosterone levels and can signal your body to enter a catabolic state, meaning your body begins using muscle cells for fuel.
That’s the last thing we want happening, so keeping Cortisone at bay by boosting Vitamin C levels is essential for growth.
Thiamin (also known as Thiamine and Vitamin B1)
Thiamin is used by the body to regulate the synthesis of carbs, fat and importantly protein. In doing so, it helps control weight gain by utilizing fat and carbs for energy instead of storing them.
Thiamin is also essential for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is basically the fuel our entire body runs on. Unfortunately, cooking and preparation methods greatly reduce the availability of Thiamin in our diet.
Low levels of Thiamin can cause fatigue and an overall weakness as well as other rare but more serious side effect.
Opti-Men gives you 75mg per serve, which is 5000% of the RDI, but don’t worry, because it’s a water soluble vitamin and any excess to your body’s needs will pass as waste.
A common supplement for women during pregnancy, Folic acid’s benefits shouldn’t be overlooked by those of us seeking gains in our bodybuilding. Folic acid is needed for every body function that requires cell division. This includes muscle growth and repair.
It is also used to generate red blood cells, help injuries to heal, and produce brain and nervous-system chemicals.
Fact: Magnesium is the 4th most common mineral in your body and for good reason. It is used in over 300 different chemical reactions including muscular contraction, synthesis of new muscle tissue and the metabolism of ATP for energy.
Again being a water soluble mineral, cooking especially boiling and poaching reduce the amounts of Magnesium available to us through food.
Chromium stimulates the release of insulin, helping your body metabolize glucose and fat and balance blood sugar levels.
It is also essential in the process of efficiently transporting amino acids into cells. Chromium is easily depleted during heavy physical activity, so for those of us working out heavily and regularly, a supplement such as Opti-Men can help to maintain the level of Chromium in our system.
Iodine and Selenium
These two trace elements are indispensable when it comes to maintaining a healthy Thyroid and therefore metabolism. Iodine is stored in your Thyroid gland until it’s needed to combine with the amino acid L-Tyrosine to produce the hormones essential to convert the calories from your diet into expendable energy.
Low Iodine levels can cause the formation of goiters and low energy. Selenium is also used in the Thyroid to help boost metabolism. It has also been linked to muscle strength.
As already mentioned the vitamins and minerals listed above are only the tip of the Opti-Men iceberg.
For a full list of the active ingredients, you should visit Optimum’s nutrition information page.
Dosage and taste
The recommended dosage of Opti-Men is 3 capsules per day. You can take all three in one dose rather than spreading them out over the day, however, due to the absorption rate of some vitamins, any excess to your body’s needs at that time will be flushed out as waste.
A better option is three times a day spread about four hours apart. Being in capsule form, there is no issue of taste.
Side Effects and Cautions
The most noticeable side effect of Opti-Men and most other multi-vitamin supplements for that matter is a really vivid, neon-yellow or green urine.
Don’t worry though because this is normal as your body flushes the B group vitamins it doesn’t require from your system.
Opti-Men does contain a tiny amount of shellfish (raw oyster extract) so, if you have an allergy to shellfish or seafood in general, talk with your doctor before taking this supplement.
Packaging and Price
Opti-Men comes in bottles of 90 or 180 for $31.99 and $51.99 respectively. So a 30 day supply works out at $1.06 per dose. Not the cheapest around, but weigh up the cost: ingredient ratio, and they beat a lot of their competitors’ hands down.
As usual with any supplements, shop around for the best price. I found the 180 (60 days) pack for $24.48 at Bodybuilding.com which is pretty hard to beat.
With no obvious negatives aside from the two already mentioned and offering so many health benefits, I have no hesitation in recommending Opti-men to anyone who is active or whose diet may be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals.