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Vitamin & Mineral Deficiency Check List For Enhanced Bodybuilders

Enhanced bodybuilders, strength athletes, or fitness enthusiasts often mistake vitamin & mineral deficiencies for side-effects related to Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). In this article, every micro-nutrient deficiency is covered and how they could be misinterpreted for side-effects associated with PEDs commonly used by bodybuilders.

The body requires different vitamins & minerals with adequate dietary or supplemental intake daily. They are crucial for both the development of the body & the prevention of diseases. These vitamins & minerals are often referred to as micro-nutrients. Unlike macro-nutrients, they can’t be synthesized in the body and need to be acquired from diet or supplementation.

A nutritional deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t absorb the necessary amount of a nutrient from food, or the individual doesn’t consume nutrient-rich foods. Keep in mind that most Performance Enhancing Drugs speed up recovery, metabolism & anabolism, which increases micro-nutrient requirement far above the established Daily Recommended Intakes (DRIs). Athletes that use PEDs to improve their recovery and workout capacity dramatically increase their micro-nutrient requirements. If this additional requirement isn’t met through dietary or supplement adjustments, this slowly turns into a nutritional deficiency as micro-nutrient utilization and expenditure surpass micro-nutrient intake.

Deficiencies can lead to various health problems or side-effects, otherwise associated with PEDs use, including but not limited to; digestion problems, hair loss, skin disorders, stunted or defective bone growth, lethargy, depression, and even dementia.

This article compares micro-nutrient deficiencies in relation to enhanced bodybuilding; you can read more about the benefits of each micro-nutrient in Coach Steve’s Year-Round Supplement Stack.

Ensuring you consume at least adequate, preferable optimal amounts of all essential micro-nutrients daily can prevent or reduce many symptoms commonly related to Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids (AAS) or other PEDs. When particular side-effects do occur, symptoms related to certain micro-nutrient deficiencies can be compared to the common side-effects of the PEDs in your protocol. Increasing micro-nutrients intake related to the side-effects you’re experiencing might be able to reduce or prevent the symptoms you’re associating to specific PEDs without the need for discontinuation or adjustments regarding your PED intake.

However, when micro-nutrient intake is optimal & carefully controlled for anabolism, hyperplasia, blood pressure management, skin texture, hair growth, energy levels, cognition, and overall sense of wellbeing, but side-effects related to certain PEDs still occur, then you’ll clearly need to make some adjustment to the protocol!

You can find the iHerb Links for Recommended Supplements at the bottom of each Section.
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Water-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamins can be categorized on their solubility. The large majority readily dissolve in water; they are called water-soluble vitamins. In contrast, there are only 4 fat-soluble vitamins, which dissolve in lipids. The body usually can’t store most of the water-soluble vitamins; consistent dietary or supplemental intake is highly advised. Only Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) can be stored in large amounts in the liver. Given Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) intake was sufficient for a decent amount of time, liver stores might take 3 to 5 years to deplete.

It’s probably easier to take a general B100 Complex formula to get sufficient amounts of B-Vitamins through supplementation. Specific B-Vitamins can be added as required to fulfill specific needs or functions.

Now Foods Vitamin B100 Complex on iHerb: https://www.iherb.com/pr/now-foods-b-100-sustained-release-100-tablets/54510


Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Symptoms of deficiency include; weight loss, emotional disturbances, impaired sensory perception, weakness & pain in the limbs, edema & periods of an irregular heartbeat. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is essential for metabolism, where it converts carbohydrates into ATP for muscular contractions and other energy-demanding processes. Alcohol, an energy-dense simple carbohydrate, reduces the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), store it in the liver, and convert it into a bioavailable usable form.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) deficiencies can be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) deficiencies can also be mistaken for an electrolyte imbalance, or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) commonly associated with Growth Hormone or Taurine deficiencies.

Foods rich in Vitamin B1 (Thiamin); sunflower seeds, most beans & peas, lentils & oats.

Benfotiamine is a fat-soluble form of Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) that might have higher bioavailability over regular water-soluble Thiamin. At this point in time, there isn’t any substantial evidence to support that Benfotiamine provides additional benefits for overall health and fitness aspirations.

Nature’s Way Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Nature-s-Way-Riboflavin-Vitamin-B2-100-mg-100-Capsules/182

Now Foods Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-B-1-100-mg-100-Tablets/403

Life Extension Benfotiamine & Thiamin on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Life-Extension-Mega-Benfotiamine-250-mg-120-Vegetarian-Capsules/13192


Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Symptoms of deficiency include; painful inflammation of the tongue, sore throat, chapped & cracked lips, and inflammation at the corners of the mouth (Angular Cheilitis). Eyes can be itchy, watery, bloodshot & sensitive to light. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) deficiency can also cause anemia, diagnosed when Red Blood Cell (RBC) Count is low or below the reference range. This form of anemia displays RBC with standard size and normal Hemoglobin content, Red Blood Cell Distribution Width (RDW) is also within the reference range. This form of anemia is often in conjunction with a Vitamin B12 / Folic Acid deficiency.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) deficiencies can be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) deficiencies can also be mistaken for insufficient dietary Iron, B9 & B12 intake, and the overuse of Accutane to prevent acne formation.

Foods rich in Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin); spinach, beet greens, yogurt, mushrooms & whole eggs.

Nature’s Way Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) on iHerb: https://www.iherb.com/pr/Nature-s-Way-Riboflavin-Vitamin-B2-100-mg-100-Capsules/182
Now Foods Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-B-2-100-mg-100-Veg-Capsules/402


Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Symptoms of deficiency include; aggression, Dermatitis, insomnia, weakness, mental confusion & diarrhea. Symptoms of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) deficiency, along with Tryptophan deficiency, causes Pellagra. In advanced cases, Pellagra may lead to dementia or even death. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) deficiency can also be caused by the inadequate intake of the amino acid Tryptophan, a precursor for Niacin.

Moderate Vitamin B3 (Niacin) deficiencies can be mistaken for side-effects related to potent Androgenic steroids like Trenbolone or Halotestin, states of overtraining, or fatigue while training. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article.

Higher Niacin dosages ranging from 500-1,000mg in traditional flush-form supplementation are shown to be effective at normalizing serum lipid concentration in individuals who do not use PEDs. Supplementation can improve HDL levels while reducing Triglyceride & LDL levels. Serum lipids levels are often negatively affected when using AAS, making adequate Vitamin B3 (Niacin) essential, although supplementation with higher dosages is probably not potent enough to mitigate some of the adverse effects that AAS have on lipids.

Foods rich in Vitamin B3 (Niacin); tuna, chicken, turkey, salmon, beef, sardines & peanuts.

Nature’s Way Vitamin B3 (Niacin) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Nature-s-Way-Niacin-Vitamin-B3-100-mg-100-Capsules/1999

Now Foods Vitamin B3 (Niacin) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Niacin-500-mg-250-Tablets/693


Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Symptoms of deficiency (although extremely rare) include; irritability, fatigue & apathy. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) deficiency might also contribute to worsening acne formation. At higher dosages ranging from 5,000-20,000mg Vitamin  B5 per day, it can reduce or prevent acne completely, especially when combined with adequate intake of Vitamin A (Retinol) or Accutane!

Moderate Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) deficiencies can be mistaken for elevated serum Estradiol levels through inadequate AI dosing, which is also known to contribute to acne formation. Deficiencies can also be mistaken for side-effects related to potent androgenic steroids like Trenbolone or Halotestin, states of overtraining, or fatigue while training. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article.

Foods rich in Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid); mushrooms, avocado, sweet potato, lentils, chicken, turkey, yogurt & broccoli.

Pantethine is a highly absorbable fat-soluble biologically active form of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid). Pantethine is a precursor in Coenzyme A (CoA) formation, an essential cofactor for lipid, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism. Pantethine also supports proper cholesterol production and fat storage in the liver, which can help promote healthy body fat distribution.

Nature’s Way Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Nature-s-Way-Pantothenic-Acid-Vitamin-B5-500-mg-100-Capsules/2010

Now Foods Vitamin B5 (Pantethine) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Pantethine-Double-Strength-600-mg-60-Softgels/9863


Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine, Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P))

Deficiencies (although extremely rare) are usually only observed in certain medical conditions, including; end-stage kidney disease or malabsorption syndromes (Celiac Disease, Crohn Disease & Ulcerative Colitis). Symptoms include; microcytic anemia, electro-encephalographic abnormalities (Epilepsy), Dermatitis, depression & confusion.

Moderate Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine, Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P)) deficiencies can be mistaken for moderately elevated serum Estradiol concentrations as well as side-effects related to steroids like Trenbolone (Parabolan), Trestolone (MENT), Nandrolone (Deca-Durabolin / NPP), or Oxymetholone (Anadrol), contributing to the loss of libido or erectile dysfunction. While the DRI for Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine, Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P)) is 1.4mg per day, dosages of 200-300mg B6 P5P per day were shown to reduce serum Prolactin levels and maintain them in the reference range when Progestogenic AAS are used.

Foods rich in Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine, Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P)); tuna, turkey, beef, chicken, salmon, sweet potato, white potato, sunflower seeds, spinach & banana.

Vitamin B6 Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P) deficiency has been linked to elevated serum Prolactin levels, which worsen when steroids with Progestogenic activity or Estrogenic activity are used. Elevated Growth Hormone concentrations can bind and activate the Prolactin Receptors (PRLR) and induce side-effects otherwise associated with elevated Prolactin levels.

Life Extension Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Life-Extension-Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate-Caps-100-mg-60-Vegetarian-Capsules/37816

Now Foods Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-P-5-P-50-mg-90-Veg-Capsules/78096


Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Symptoms of deficiency (although extremely rare) include; impaired hair growth or hair loss and reduced skin health or nail growth. Vitamin B7 (Biotin) supports Keratin synthesis, a fibrous structural protein that contributes to hair structure.

Moderate Vitamin B7 (Biotin) deficiencies can be mistaken for Androgenetic Alopecia, worsened by the use of DHT-derivates like Masteron, Primobolan, Anavar, Winstrol & Proviron. However, Vitamin B7 (Biotin) deficiencies can also be mistaken for insufficient dietary or supplemental Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Calcium, or Zinc intake. While adequate Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Calcium & Zinc intake can’t really prevent hair loss induced by DHT-derivates in individuals who are prone to Androgenetic Alopecia, it can preserve hair and promote hair re-growth when these compounds are discontinued.

Adequate Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Selenium & Zinc intake is particularly important when using Growth Hormone, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), or Insulin, as these PEDs promote cell proliferation, where DNA-synthesis requires additional Selenium & Zinc for cell formation & division, and the rapid formation of new skin cells and accelerated hair & nail growth, need more Vitamin B7 (Biotin) & Zinc than usual.

Foods rich in Vitamin B7 (Biotin); almonds, sweet potato, whole eggs, onions, oats, tomatoes, peanuts, carrots & walnuts.

California Gold Nutrition Vitamin B7 (Biotin) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/California-Gold-Nutrition-Biotin-10-000-mcg-90-Veggie-Softgels/76865

Now Foods Vitamin B7 (Biotin) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Biotin-5-000-mcg-120-Veg-Capsules/3319


Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate)

Deficiency is common and is associated with numerous health problems, including Neural Tube Defect Syndrome (NTDS). This condition is seen in infants when the mother’s Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) serum concentrations were low during the first trimester of pregnancy. Genetic factors, such as mutations in the MTHFR gene, lead to compromised Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) metabolism. Symptoms of deficiency include; macrocytic anemia (larger than normal Red Blood Cells containing little Hemoglobin. Vitamin Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) & Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), or Iron deficiencies exacerbate this condition) & elevated homocysteine levels, increasing the risk for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). Government-mandated food fortification with Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) has reduced the instances of NTDS in infants by 25-50%. Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) aids in producing Red Blood Cells, DNA, and the development of the brain & nervous system.

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) deficiencies can be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article. Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) deficiencies can also be mistaken for poor dietary Iron, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) & Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) intake, and underactive or insufficient Thyroid Hormone production, which can also increase homocysteine levels.

Foods rich in Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate); lentils, most beans, asparagus, spinach & broccoli.

Natural Factors Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Natural-Factors-Folic-Acid-1-000-mcg-90-Tablets/2609

Now Foods Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Folic-Acid-800-mcg-250-Tablets/601


Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Symptoms of deficiency include; several anemic conditions, subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord & methyl-malonic acidemia (a recessive disorder of amino acid metabolism), peripheral neuropathy/paresthesia (numbness, prickling, or tingling in hands or feet), memory loss, or other cognitive deficits, atrophic gastritis (reduced stomach lining) & elevated homocysteine levels, increasing risk for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) deficiency is more likely to occur among older people, as absorption in the intestinal tract declines with age. Diseases of the small intestine, bacterial growth, or parasites can reduce the body’s ability to absorb dietary Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin). Proton-Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), a medication used to treat heartburn & acid reflux, also reduces Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) absorption. Adequate Calcium intake promotes Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) absorption in the small intestines. In contrast, over-supplementation of Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) can mask a Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) deficiency! Similar to Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) & Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate), Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) contributes to normal Red Blood Cell (RBC) production.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) deficiencies can be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) deficiencies can also be mistaken for poor dietary Iron, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) & Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) intake, as well as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) associated with Growth Hormone use or alarmingly low blood glucose levels due to overuse of Insulin. Gastrointestinal side-effects caused by potent 17Alpha Alkylated oral steroids like Anadrol, Superdrol, or Halotestin, might also be worsened by Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) deficiency.

Cyano-Cobalamin is a synthetic form of Vitamin B12 and contains a Cyanide molecule; this form is not found in nature. Cyano-Cobalamin is more stable & cost-effective compared to natural Methyl-Cobalamin. Cyano-Cobalamin has slightly higher bio-availability, but Methyl-Cobalamin has a higher retention capacity due to reduced urine excretion and the ability for long-term liver retention.

Sublingual Methyl-Cobalamin has a much higher bioavailability than orally ingested Methyl-Cobalamin or regular Cobalamin from animal meat sources. However, injectable Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) offers the highest bioavailability of all delivery mechanisms, although most enhanced individuals notice significant Post-Injection Pain (PIP) or depot inflammation after an intramuscular administration of 1,000-5,000mcg Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

Foods rich in Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin); sardines, salmon, tuna, cod, lamb, scallops, shrimp, beef & yogurt.

Solgar Sublingual Vitamin B12 (Methyl-Cobalamin) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Solgar-Sublingual-Methylcobalamin-Vitamin-B12-5-000-mcg-60-Nuggets/14221

Now Foods Vitamin B12 (Methyl-Cobalamin) Lozenges on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Methyl-B-12-5-000-mcg-120-Lozenges/39934


Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid / Ascorbate)

Symptoms of deficiency (although extremely rare) include; weakness, weight loss, and general aches & pains. Long-term deficiency affects connective tissues, causes gum disease or bleeding from the skin.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid / Ascorbate) deficiencies are not commonly mistaken for side-effects related to Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) use or anything else related to bodybuilding. High supplemental Vitamin C intake has a minor diuretic effect, which can be beneficial to reduce subcutaneous (SubQ) water retention induced by certain offseason AAS compounds like Dianabol, Anadrol, or Nandrolone.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid / Ascorbate) has particular benefits on a Ketogenic or Carnivore Diet; Vitamin C is used as a non-metabolic place holder for carbohydrates. Vitamin c is structurally similar to glucose and is transported through similar pathways as regular glucose, keeping these pathways active when dietary carbohydrates are restricted. The oxidized form of Ascorbic Acid, Dehydroascorbic Acid (DHA), is absorbed through the cellular Glucose Transporters; GLUT1, GLUT3 & GLUT4. Adequate Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid / Ascorbate) intake also aids in dietary Iron absorption, reducing the possibility of anemia related to Iron, B2, B9, or B12 deficiency.

Foods rich in Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid / Ascorbate); papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, cantaloupe & cauliflower.

American Health Vitamin C Ester-C on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/american-health-ester-c-1000-mg-with-citrus-bioflavonoids-180-veggie-tabs/15080
California Gold Nutrition Vitamin C on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/California-Gold-Nutrition-Gold-C-Vitamin-C-1-000-mg-240-Veggie-Capsules/61865


Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins can result from an underlying medical condition, preventing adequate absorption of dietary or supplemental Vitamin A, D3, E & K, and fats & fat-soluble nutrients. These conditions include; chronic pancreatitis, cholestasis, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, short bowel syndrome, primary biliary cirrhosis, disorders within the intestines or biliary tract (liver, gallbladder & bile ducts) & impaired digestive enzymes/lipase production.


Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene)

Symptoms of deficiency include; Nyctalopia (night blindness) & Keratomalacia (impaired epithelial surfaces of the cornea & conjunctiva), weakened immune-system (respiratory infections), eczema, dry eyes, infertility, or difficulty conceiving (due to oxidative stress) & poor wound healing.

Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene) deficiencies can be mistaken for side-effects related to SERMs like Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) or SARMs like Andarine (S4), or chronically low serum Estradiol levels, through overuse of Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) or exclusion of Aromatizable compounds. These conditions can cause blurred vision, partial blindness, dry skin, and perhaps eczema if left untreated. Infertility or difficulty conceiving is a common side-effect when using any AAS. However, adequate Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene) & Retinol & Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols) intake is often insufficient to improve fertility when using potent AAS. Poor protein & collagen intake is also associated with reduced wound healing, although this is very unlikely with bodybuilders, strength athletes, or fitness enthusiasts.

Foods rich in Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene); sweet potato, carrots, tomatoes, bell & chili peppers, spinach, kale, collard, turnip & beet greens.

California Gold Nutrition Astacarotenoid Complex on iHerb: https://www.iherb.com/pr/california-gold-nutrition-astacarotenoid-complex-lutein-lycopene-astaxanthin-complex-30-veggie-softgels/83536
Jarrow Formulas Carotenoids Complex on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/jarrow-formulas-carotenall-mixed-carotenoids-complex-60-softgels/153


Vitamin A (Retinol)

Symptoms of deficiency include; Nyctalopia (night blindness) & Keratomalacia (impaired epithelial surfaces of the cornea & conjunctiva), weakened immune-system (respiratory infections), infertility, or difficulty conceiving (due to oxidative stress), poor wound healing & acne.

Vitamin A (Retinol) deficiencies can also be mistaken for side-effects related to SERMs like Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) or SARMs like Andarine (S4), or chronically low serum Estradiol levels, through overuse of Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) or exclusion of aromatizable compounds.  These conditions can cause blurred vision, partial blindness, dry skin, and perhaps eczema if left untreated. Infertility or difficulty conceiving is a common side-effect when using any AAS. However, adequate Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene) & Retinol & Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols) intake is often insufficient to improve fertility when using potent AAS. Poor protein & collagen intake is also associated with reduced wound healing, although this is very unlikely with bodybuilders, strength athletes, or fitness enthusiasts.

The most common Vitamin A (Retinol) deficiency symptom is acne, which is often mistaken for a side-effect related to elevated serum Estradiol levels, regular consumption of dairy products, or Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) deficiency. When opting for Accutane to control acne formation, Vitamin A (Retinol) intake should be reduced to prevent Hypervitaminosis A as both Accutane & Retinol have very similar chemical structures!

Hypervitaminosis A or Vitamin A (Retinol) toxicity is seen when people consume over 10,000iu / 3,000mcg of Retinol per day for prolonged periods of time. Excess Vitamin A (Retinol) is stored in the liver, where it can lead to toxicity & problematic symptoms. Including; vision changes, swelling of the bones, extremely dry & rough skin, mouth ulcers & confusion. Dry skin & eczema is also associated with Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene) deficiency or chronically low serum Estradiol levels through overuse of Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) or exclusion of aromatizable compounds, careful assessment of dietary Vitamin A intake & serum Estradiol levels is required under these circumstances. Pregnant women should be especially careful not to consume too much Vitamin A (Retinol) to prevent the possibility of congenital disabilities.

Foods rich in Vitamin A (Retinol); beef & lamb liver, cod liver oil, mackerel, salmon, tuna, cheese, butter & whole eggs.

Now Foods Cod Liver Oil on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/now-foods-cod-liver-oil-extra-strength-1-000-mg-90-softgels/53977
Natural Factors Cod Liver Oil on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/natural-factors-super-cod-liver-oil-90-softgels/2679


Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)

Deficiency is common as you need 20 minutes of full-body sun exposure to synthesize adequate amounts of Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) in your skin. Food sources do not contain sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. Symptoms include; osteoporosis or impaired bone growth & mineralization, hypercalcemia, reduced muscular contractions, impaired immune system (common cold or seasonal flu), lethargy, depression, impaired wound healing, hair loss, sleep apnea & chronic muscle pain.

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) deficiencies can also be mistaken for medical conditions related to poor Calcium or Vitamin K intake, resulting in osteoporosis, impaired bone growth & mineralization, or reduced muscular contractions. Hypercalcemia can also be caused by over-consumption of protein, leading to an acidic state, which leeches Calcium into the bloodstream to buffer serum acidity levels.

Moderate Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) deficiencies can be mistaken for Androgenetic Alopecia, worsened by the use of DHT-derivates like Masteron, Primobolan, Anavar, Winstrol & Proviron. However, Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) deficiencies can also be mistaken for poor dietary or supplemental Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Calcium, or Zinc intake. While adequate Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Calcium & Zinc intake can’t really prevent hair loss induced by DHT-derivates in individuals who are prone to Androgenetic Alopecia, it can preserve hair and promote hair re-growth when these compounds are discontinued.

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) deficiency is also mistaken for states of overtraining or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Adequate intake allows bodybuilders, strength athletes, or fitness enthusiasts to train at maximum capacity without becoming (overly) sore the days after training. Symptoms of depression might also indicate reduced Serotonin or Dopamine concentrations, which are altered by Trenbolone, Cabergoline, or Pramipexole. In this case, supplemental 5-HTP or discontinuation of Trenbolone, Cabergoline, or Pramipexole is advised!

Poor protein & collagen intake is also associated with reduced wound healing, although this is very unlikely with bodybuilders, strength athletes, or fitness enthusiasts. During the offseason, supplemental Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) becomes very important when reaching a higher body weight and sleep apnea becomes a possibility. Sufficient Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) levels were shown to reduce or prevent obstructive sleep apnea, caused by relatively high body weight, the rapid increase in body weight, or use of potent AAS like Nandrolone, Trenbolone, Anadrol, Superdrol & Halotestin.

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) also plays an essential role in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Testes-Axis (HPTA), increases sensitivity to Leutinizing Hormone (LH) & Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) as well as manages Leydig cell function & maintains healthy spermatogenesis. Adequate Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Magnesium & Zinc intake is essential before, during & after Post Cycle Therapy (PCT).

Foods rich in Vitamin D; salmon, sardines & tuna, although tanning or supplementation is often required to reach adequate Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) levels.

California Gold Nutrition Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/California-Gold-Nutrition-Vitamin-D3-125-mcg-5-000-IU-360-Fish-Gelatin-Softgels/70317

Now Foods Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/now-foods-vitamin-d-3-high-potency-5-000-iu-240-softgels/22335


Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols)

Symptoms of deficiency include; poor conduction of electrical nerve-impulses, impaired immune system, muscle pain or weakness, visual disturbances, infertility or difficulty conceiving (due to oxidative stress within the testes) & reduced sense of wellbeing. Ataxia, a rare genetic disorder, can also cause Vitamin E deficiency. High Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols) intake can increase bleeding by reducing the blood’s ability to clot around the site of injury! Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols can also increase the effects of anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications; it’s also known to enhance the cholesterol-lowering effects of Niacin.

Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols) deficiencies can be mistaken for side-effects related to oral AAS (ab)use, resulting in increased elevated SGPT/ALT & SGOT/AST liver enzymes, skewed serum lipid levels; Vitamin E contributes to both liver enzyme & serum lipid management.

Infertility or difficulty conceiving is a common side-effect when using any Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids (AAS). However, adequate Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols) & Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene & Retinol), Zinc, Magnesium & Carnitine intake isn’t always sufficient to improve fertility when potent AAS are being used.

Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols) also plays an essential role in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Testes-Axis (HPTA), increases sensitivity to Luteinizing Hormone (LH) & Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) as well as manages Leydig cell function & maintains healthy spermatogenesis. Adequate Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Magnesium & Zinc intake is essential before, during & after Post Cycle Therapy (PCT).

Foods rich in Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols); sunflower seeds, almonds, whole grains, whole eggs, spinach, avocado & peanuts.

California Gold Nutrition Sunflower Vitamin E Complex on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/California-Gold-Nutrition-Sunflower-Vitamin-E-with-Mixed-Tocopherols-400-IU-90-Veggie-Softgels/76864
Now Foods Gamma Vitamin E Complex on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/now-foods-gamma-e-complex-advanced-120-softgels/299


Vitamin K (Phylloquinone, K2 Menaquinone-4 & K2 Menaquinone-7)

Symptoms of deficiency (although rare) include; reduced coagulation (clotting ability) of the blood, sensitivity to bruising, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding in women, impaired metabolism & thyroid production, osteoporosis, or impaired bone growth & mineralization, hypercalcemia & reduced muscular contractions.

Moderate Vitamin K (K1, K2 MK-4 & K2 MK-7) deficiencies can be mistakes for side-effects related to high blood pressure, induced by potent Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids (AAS) like Nandrolone, Trenbolone, Dianabol, Anadrol, Superdrol, or Halotestin. Chronically elevated blood pressure is known to induce spontaneous nose bleeds and impair clotting when injured. Blood pressure monitors can easily pinpoint the cause of abnormal bleeding. High Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols) intake can increase bleeding by reducing the blood’s ability to clot around the site of injury!

Impaired metabolism & thyroid output can also be a side-effect of prolonged Growth Hormone use, effectively increasing T4 to T3 conversion until serum T4 levels eventually deplete. Insufficient dietary intake of Iodine, Selenium, or Vitamin K, chronic restricted caloric intake during a cutting phase or contest prep, further compounds with increased caloric expenditure by performing hours of cardio daily. All these cases tremendously impact metabolism negatively!

Vitamin K (K1, K2 MK-4 & K2 MK-7) deficiencies can also be mistaken for medical conditions related to inadequate Calcium, Magnesium, or Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) intake, resulting in osteoporosis, impaired bone growth & demineralization, or reduced muscular contractions. Hypercalcemia can also be caused by over-consumption of protein leading to an acidic state, which leaches Calcium into the bloodstream to buffer serum acidity levels.

Foods rich in Vitamin K1 Phylloquinone; kale, spinach, natto, parsley, broccoli & brussels sprouts, beet, turnip & collard greens. Matcha green tea & natto (Japanese fermented soybeans) contain high amounts of Vitamin K1.

Vitamin K2 Menaquinone-4 & 7 (MK-4 & MK-7) is naturally synthesized in the intestinal tract by bacteria. The most important genera of intestinal flora that produce Vitamin K2 Menaquinone-4 & 7 (MK-4 & MK-7) are Bacteroides & Bifidobacteria. They can also be found in some animal products, including; milk & cheese. Deficiencies of Vitamin K2 MK-4 & MK-7 can be caused by changes in the gut microbiome, anti-biotic medications, overuse of oregano oil extracts, or garlic oil extract; both have anti-bacterial & anti-microbial properties.

Vitamin K3 Menadione is artificially produced and was linked to liver damage & destruction of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) in humans subjects. However, it wasn’t demonstrated to be harmful to livestock or pets. Vitamin K3 is still added to poultry & pig feed and commercial pet foods for dogs & cats. Animals convert synthetic Vitamin K3 into K2 within the liver.

Jarrow Formulas Vitamin K Complex on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/jarrow-formulas-k-right-vitamin-k-complex-60-softgels/69334
Life Extension Super K on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Life-Extension-Super-K-90-Softgels/90368


Electrolytes & Minerals

In the context of nutrition; a mineral is a chemical element required as an essential nutrient necessary for bodily functions. However, even though the four major structural elements Oxygen, Hydrogen, Carbon & Nitrogen, compose approximately 96% of the weight of the human body, they are not included on the lists of required nutrient minerals. These four elements are often called the major minerals (macrominerals), while the minor minerals (trace elements or minerals) are essential for many biochemical processes.

Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge. They’re vital for health, performance, and survival. Electrolytes spark cell function throughout the body. They support hydration and help the body produce energy. Electrolytes are responsible for stimulating muscle contractions and regulating glycogen storage in the liver, brain, and skeletal muscle.


Calcium

Symptoms of deficiency include; osteoporosis, impaired bone growth & mineralization, reduced muscular contractions & impaired / compromised functioning of the heart & nerves. Calcium deficiencies can be caused by poor dietary or supplemental intake of Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) & Vitamin K1, K2 MK-4 & K2 MK-7, which contribute to Calcium absorption & transportation into bones, teeth, nerves, skeletal & cardiac muscle tissue. These conditions are generally classified as hypocalcemia, which may result in confusion or memory loss, muscle spasms or cramping, peripheral neuropathy/paresthesia (numbness, prickling, or tingling in hands or feet) & impaired hair, nail & skin growth as well as depression.

When Calcium intake is insufficient during the formation of permanent adult teeth during the early stages of puberty, the teeth become porous and are subject to plaque or discoloration. Calcium in the saliva can remineralize or demineralize teeth to a certain extent, which highly depends on the saliva’s Calcium concentration; limiting acidic foods improves the remineralization process. Children might also not reach their full height potential due to Calcium deficiency, limiting bone growth until growth plates close.

Calcium deficiencies can be mistaken for medical conditions related to poor Magnesium, Vitamin D3, or Vitamin K intake, resulting in osteoporosis, impaired bone growth & mineralization, or reduced muscular contractions. Calcium deficiencies can also be mistaken for side-effects related to Caffeine, Ephedrine, Clenbuterol, or inadequate Taurine / Electrolyte intake, resulting in muscle spasms or cramping. Alarmingly low blood glucose levels due to overuse of Insulin, also result in numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or face.

Overuse of loop-diuretics like Furosemide (Lasix) or Torsemide (Demadex) can significantly deplete serum Calcium levels besides Sodium, Potassium & Magnesium levels. This can result in (temporary) cramping & arrhythmias. Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), Dyazide & Moduretic enable Calcium re-uptake in the kidneys; these medications are sometimes prescribed in combination with Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs) like Amlodipine (Norvasc) or Bepridil (Vascor) for blood pressure management.  High Calcium intake & daily HCTZ, Dyazide, Moduretic, or CCBs administrations for blood pressure management might lead to hypercalcemia or hyponatremia.

Moderate Calcium deficiencies can be mistaken for Androgenetic Alopecia, worsened by the use of DHT-derivates like Masteron, Primobolan, Anavar, Winstrol & Proviron. However, Calcium deficiencies can also be mistaken for poor dietary or supplemental Vitamin B7, D3, E, or Zinc intake. While adequate Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Calcium & Zinc intake can’t always prevent hair loss induced by DHT-derivates in individuals who are prone to Androgenetic Alopecia, it can preserve hair and promote hair re-growth when these compounds are discontinued.

Foods rich in Calcium: chia seeds, sardines, sesame seeds, spinach, yogurt, cheese, collard & turnip greens.

For more information about adequate Calcium intake and control your electrolyte balance, read the Managing Electrolytes for Optimal Bodily Functions Article.

Keep in mind that chronic hypercalcemia can contribute to plaque buildup inside the arteries or veins; when the body is in a state of chronic systemic inflammation and has skewed lipid levels, it’s advised to limit Calcium intake to food sources only. Supplemental Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) & Vitamin K1, K2 MK-4 & K2 MK-7 promote Calcium absorption & transport into bones, teeth, nerves, skeletal & cardiac muscle tissue, preventing states of hypercalcemia in the bloodstream. If supplemental Calcium is required due to restricted dietary intake, then a slow-release Coral Calcium formulation is desired, as they generally don’t significantly elevate serum Calcium levels after administration. Apple Cider Vinegar tablets often contain Calcium as well; moderate dosages with meals slows gastric emptying, allowing for sustained release into the bloodstream.

Now Foods Coral Calcium on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/now-foods-coral-calcium-plus-250-veg-capsules/4257
Now Foods Apple Cider Vinegar on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-Extra-Strength-750-mg-180-Tablets/78990


Iron

Symptoms of deficiency generally encompass anemia’s or low Red Blood Cell (RBC) count, Hemoglobin & Hematocrit levels, including; fatigue, weakness, lethargy, impaired athletic performance & endurance, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, pale skin, or pale coloring of the inside of the lower eyelids, heart palpitations or arrhythmia’s as well as dry, brittle or damaged hair, nails & skin.

Iron deficiencies can be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article. Iron deficiencies can also be mistaken for poor dietary Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) & Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) intake. Insufficient Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid / Ascorbate) intake, which promotes Iron absorption in the intestinal tract, can also contribute to anemia.

Symptoms of anemia can also be caused by blood loss, depleting RBC, Hemoglobin, serum Iron & Ferritin levels. Stomach ulcers or intestinal bleeding due to high blood pressure, acid reflux, or the use of potent oral steroids like Anadrol, Superdrol, or Halotestin, can also lead to anemia and Iron deficiency.

Dietary Iron intake preferably comes from animal sources containing Heme-Iron, which is the most bioavailable Iron form. While all animal sources contain certain amounts of Heme-Iron, that which is found in beef or beef liver seems to be most readily absorbed, whereas Heme-Iron in fish is only found in low amount. Non-Heme plant-based Iron has low bioavailability, although absorption can be increased when combined with Vitamin C from fruits, vegetables, or through supplementation. Heme-Iron from animal meat sources and Vitamin C from fruits or supplements increases serum iron & ferritin levels the fastest. Allowing for sufficient and normal RBC production, which consequently increases Hematocrit! As a general rule, 1mg of dietary Iron requires 100mg of Vitamin C to be absorbed correctly; if you’re consuming 18-30mg iron per day, you’ll need another 2,000-3,500mg Vitamin C to promote absorption.

Foods rich in Iron: beef liver, bone marrow, mackerel, sardines, chia seeds, flax seeds, lentils, spinach, sesame seeds, olives & most beans.

Ferrous Iron Bisglycinate Chelate (Ferrochel) formulations are highly bioavailable Non-Heme Iron supplements, which are very potent without additional Vitamin C to promote absorption in the intestinal tract! Heme-Iron generally isn’t available in supplemental form and can only be acquired through animal food sources.

California Gold Nutrition Ferrochel Iron Bisglycinate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/California-Gold-Nutrition-Ferrochel-Iron-Bisglycinate-36-mg-90-Veggie-Capsules/89592
Now Foods Ferrochel Iron Bisglycinate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Iron-18-mg-120-Veg-Capsules/10481


Magnesium

Symptoms of deficiency (although rare) include; mental disorders (apathy, delirium, depression, ADHD, anxiety & insomnia), osteoporosis, impaired bone growth & mineralization, reduced muscular contractions, spasms or cramping, impaired or compromised functioning of the heart & nerves, irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia’s, fatigue or muscle weakness, high blood pressure, impaired Insulin sensitivity and worsening of pre-existing Asthma’s. These conditions are generally classified as hypomagnesemia.

The majority of Magnesium present in the body is bound to proteins or stored in the skeleton. Bone contains about half of the body’s Magnesium as it’s necessary to form bone and teeth and essential for normal nerve and muscle function.

Magnesium also plays an important role in the metabolism of Calcium and Potassium. The amount of magnesium absorption highly depends on how much the body needs; otherwise, Magnesium remains in the intestinal tract and acts as a mild laxative. A straightforward method to assess how much Magnesium your body requires is by slowly increasing supplemental intake until you get loose stool or diarrhea. After which, you simply reduce the dose until you no longer experience these side effects; that’s the optimal amount of dietary & supplemental Magnesium you can take every day!

Magnesium deficiencies can be mistaken for medical conditions related to poor Calcium, Vitamin D, or Vitamin K intake or absorption, resulting in osteoporosis, impaired bone growth & mineralization, or reduced muscular contractions. Magnesium deficiencies can also be mistaken for side-effects otherwise caused by Caffeine, Ephedrine, Clenbuterol, or insufficient Taurine or electrolyte intake, resulting in muscle spasms or cramping.

Magnesium deficiencies can also be mistaken for states of overtraining, fatigue while training or poor dietary or supplemental Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorous, or Vitamin B1 / Thiamin intake. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article.

Moderate magnesium deficiencies can be mistakes for side-effects related to high blood pressure, induced by potent AAS like Nandrolone, Trenbolone, Dianabol, Anadrol, Superdrol, or Halotestin. Chronically high blood pressure is known to induce spontaneous nose bleeds as well as reduced clotting when injured. A blood pressure monitor can quickly pinpoint the cause of abnormal bleeding, whether it’s due to high blood pressure or perhaps a clotting issue due to excessive Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols) intake or insufficient Vitamin K (K1, K2 MK-4 & K2 MK-7) intake.

Many different factors besides Magnesium deficiency can reduce Insulin sensitivity; adequate intake of Magnesium & Chromium eliminates 1 factor when Insulin resistance occurs during the offseason!

If you’re interested in optimizing Insulin sensitivity during the offseason, consider purchasing the Comprehensive Guide to Responsible Insulin use or Offseason Protocols to Prevent Insulin Resistance eBooks on The VigorousSteve.Com Shop.

Overuse of loop-diuretics like Furosemide (Lasix) or Torsemide (Demadex) can significantly deplete serum Magnesium levels besides Sodium, Potassium & Calcium levels. This can result in (temporary) cramping & arrhythmias. Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), Dyazide & Moduretic enable Magnesium re-uptake in the kidneys; these medications are sometimes prescribed in combination with Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs) like Amlodipine (Norvasc) or Bepridil (Vascor) for blood pressure management.  High Magnesium intake & daily HCTZ, Dyazide, Moduretic, or CCBs administrations for blood pressure management might lead to hypermagnesemia or hyponatremia.

Trenbolone has a particular relation to Magnesium deficiency symptoms. It can also induce mental disorders (apathy, depression, aggression, anxiety & insomnia), cramping, arrhythmias, broncho-constriction or asthmatic attacks & high blood pressure. Moderate Trenbolone dosages & sufficient-high Magnesium intake will prevent or reduce many of the known side-effects!

Foods rich in Magnesium: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, spinach, black beans, quinoa, cashew nuts & beet greens.

It’s relatively easy to get adequate amounts of Magnesium from your diet as it’s found in most foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish, all of which are commonly consumed by bodybuilders, strength athletes & fitness enthusiasts. To supply more Magnesium for better controlled eccentric contractions during your workout, consider using Magnesium Citrate, Glycinate, or BisGlycinate supplements, which are the most bioavailable forms of Magnesium.

For more information about adequate Magnesium intake and control your electrolyte balance, read the Managing Electrolytes for Optimal Bodily Functions Article.

KAL Magnesium Glycinate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/KAL-Magnesium-Glycinate-400-400-mg-180-Tablets/18943
Lake Avenue Magnesium BisGlycinate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Lake-Avenue-Nutrition-Magnesium-Bisglycinate-200-mg-Per-Serving-240-Tablets/96279
Now Foods Magnesium Citrate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Magnesium-Citrate-240-Veg-Capsules/78201


Phosphorus

Symptoms of deficiency (although extremely rare) include; osteoporosis, impaired bone growth & mineralization, loss of appetite, anxiety, irritability, fatigue or muscle weakness, and joint stiffness.

Almost 85% of the Phosphorus in the human body is stored in the skeleton, contributing to mineralization alongside Calcium & Magnesium. Similar to Calcium deficiencies, children who don’t consume adequate amounts of Phosphorus may impair growth patterns or tooth development. Vitamin D deficiency also contributes to Phosphorus deficiency.

Phosphorus deficiencies can be mistaken for medical conditions related to insufficient Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, or Vitamin K intake, Resulting in osteoporosis, impaired bone growth & mineralization. Phosphorus deficiencies can also be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training and poor Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) intake. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article.

Foods rich in Phosphorus: beef liver, scallops, sardines, quinoa, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, cod, tuna, salmon & shrimp.

Phosphorus supplements aren’t readily available as deficiencies are rare. Especially when you eat animal meat sources daily, which contain a significant amount of Phosphorus per serving. Bodybuilders, strength athletes & fitness enthusiasts usually consume over 2-3x the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) of 700mg Phosphorus per day, while many athletes consume well over the Upper Tolerable Limit (U/L) of 4,000mg Phosphorus per day, without any adverse side-effects.


Potassium (Kalium)

Symptoms of deficiency (relatively common among novice-intermediate athletes) include; lethargy, fatigue, muscle weakness, spasms or cramping, digestive issues, heart palpitations or arrhythmias, peripheral neuropathy or paresthesia (numbness, prickling, or tingling in hands or feet) & difficulty breathing.

On the opposite side, hyperkalemia can also cause cramping, heart palpitations, or arrhythmias. In severe cases, hyperkalemia can lead to heart attacks & death. Loop-diuretics, especially Furosemide (Lasix), Insulin & Albuterol (Salbutamol) can reduce dangerously high serum Potassium levels in a relatively short time-frame!

Potassium (Kalium) deficiencies can be mistaken for side-effects otherwise caused by Caffeine, Ephedrine, Clenbuterol, or insufficient Taurine or electrolyte intake, resulting in muscle spasms, cramping, or arrhythmias. Potassium (Kalium) deficiencies can also be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training, or poor electrolyte or Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) intake. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article. Alarmingly low blood glucose levels due to overuse of Insulin also results in numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or face.

Overuse of loop-diuretics like Furosemide (Lasix) or Torsemide (Demadex) can significantly deplete serum Potassium levels besides Sodium, Magnesium & Calcium levels. This can result in (temporary) cramping & arrhythmias. Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), Dyazide & Moduretic enable Potassium re-uptake in the kidneys; these medications are sometimes prescribed in combination with Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs) like Amlodipine (Norvasc) or Bepridil (Vascor) for blood pressure management.  High Potassium intake & daily HCTZ, Dyazide, Moduretic, or CCBs administrations for blood pressure management might lead to hyperkalemia or hyponatremia.

Foods rich in Potassium: beet greens, sweet potato, potatoes, quinoa, flax seeds, broccoli, spinach, beef, salmon, pork, tuna, beets, brussels sprouts, banana & low sodium table salt formulations.

For more information about adequate Potassium intake and control your electrolyte balance, read the Managing Electrolytes for Optimal Bodily Functions Article.

The US FDA limits over the counter (OTC) Potassium supplementation to 99mg per tablet. However, iodized low Sodium – Potassium salt formulations are readily available in most countries and contain between 50-99.9% Potassium Chloride and Iodine or Iodide.

Natural Factors Potassium Citrate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Natural-Factors-Potassium-Citrate-99-mg-90-Tablets/2627

Now Foods Potassium Gluconate on iHerb:
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Sodium (Natrium)

Symptoms of deficiency (although rare) include; reduced muscular contractions & impaired / compromised functioning of the heart & nerves, fatigue, weakness, lethargy, impaired athletic performance & endurance, low blood volume & low blood pressure, muscle spasms, twitching or cramping, edema & irritability. These conditions are generally classified as hyponatremia; severe cases may result in nausea, vomiting, confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures & coma.

Hyponatremia can be caused by inadequate or restricted dietary Sodium intake, excessive sweating during activity, severe food poisoning resulting in vomiting, diarrhea & dehydration, overhydration, certain heart, kidney, or liver diseases, antidepressant & pain medications, adrenal gland disorders or hypothyroidism. Ecstasy (MDMA), a popular party-drug, might cause the user to overhydrate with water while losing large amounts of Sodium through sweating while dancing for hours at a time. Leading to hyponatremia & hyperthermia (high body temperature), which progresses into loss of consciousness if left neglected.

Overuse of diuretics can significantly deplete serum Sodium levels besides Potassium, Calcium & Magnesium levels, resulting in (temporary) cramping & arrhythmias. Spironolactone (Aldactone), Furosemide (Lasix), Torsemide (Demadex), Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), Dyazide & Moduretic all promote Sodium excretion and might cause hyponatremia if abused.

Sodium (Natrium) deficiencies can be mistaken for side-effects otherwise caused by Caffeine, Ephedrine, Clenbuterol, or insufficient Taurine or electrolyte intake, resulting in muscle spasms or cramping as well as arrhythmias. Sodium (Natrium) deficiencies can also be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training, or poor electrolyte, or Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) intake. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article.

Hyponatremia or Hypernatremia can even be mistaken for elevated serum Estradiol levels through improper use of Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs), contributing to edema and perhaps irritability. Alarmingly low blood pressure due to overuse of diuretics or blood pressure medication can also result in dizziness, confusion, or loss of consciousness.

Foods rich in Sodium: pickles, bone broth, canned sardines & mackerel, cheese, whey & casein protein powder, and salt formulations.

For more information about adequate Sodium intake and control your electrolyte balance, read the Managing Electrolytes for Optimal Bodily Functions Article.

Fine-Grain Himalaya Pink Salt on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/earth-circle-organics-himalayan-salt-crystals-fine-grain-16-oz-454-g/50219

Celtic Sea Salt on iHerb:
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Zinc

Symptoms of deficiency (although rare) include; impaired immune function, impaired regulation of Sex-Hormones, fertility & libido, hair loss, reduced wound healing, decreased sense of smell & taste as well as the decline of cognition.

Zinc is distributed in trace amounts among all cells of the body, making it difficult to detect Zinc deficiencies through blood work. Since Zinc is recycled in the kidneys, a Zinc content hair analysis is a more accurate method to assess Zinc deficiencies.

Zinc & Copper use the same transporters for absorption; over-consumption or over-supplementation of Zinc or Copper can cause the other mineral’s deficiency. If the individual is deficient in both Zinc & Copper, then these mineral transporters are impaired or malfunctioning, leading to reduced absorption in the intestinal tract.

Zinc is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, creation of new cells & DNA, and several healing processes, whether that’s healing from wounds, injuries, or intense workouts. Adequate Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Selenium & Zinc intake is particularly important when using Growth Hormone, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), or Insulin, as these PEDs promote cell proliferation, where DNA-synthesis requires additional Selenium & Zinc for cell formation & division, and the rapid formation of new skin cells and accelerated hair & nail growth, need more Vitamin B7 (Biotin) & Zinc than usual.

Zinc deficiencies can be mistaken for high or low serum Estradiol levels and high Prolactin levels, which can also negatively affect libido or cause erectile dysfunction. Improper use of AAS and Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) or fertility medications like HCG or HMG, alters the balance between Sex-Hormones & Neuro-Steroids. Prolonged periods of caloric restriction also worsen libido & sex-drive; cognition might also reduce over time. Sufficient Zinc intake might be able to reduce or mitigate some of these symptoms while using PEDs in a caloric deficit!

Moderate Zinc deficiencies can be mistaken for Androgenetic Alopecia, worsened by the use of DHT-derivates like Masteron, Primobolan, Anavar, Winstrol & Proviron. However, Zinc deficiencies can also be mistaken for insufficient dietary or supplemental Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), or Calcium intake. While adequate Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Calcium & Zinc intake can’t really prevent hair loss induced by DHT-derivates in individuals who are prone to Androgenetic Alopecia, it can preserve hair and promote hair re-growth when these compounds are discontinued.

Zinc also plays an essential role in the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Testes-Axis (HPTA) & Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal-Axis (HPAA), increases sensitivity to Leutizinig Hormone (LH) & Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), and manages Leydig cell function & maintains healthy spermatogenesis. Adequate Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Vitamin D3, Magnesium & Zinc intake is very important before, during & after Post-Cycle Therapy (PCT).

Bodybuilders, strength athletes & fitness enthusiasts generally get sufficient amounts of Zinc from their diet and a generic multi-vitamin formulation. Supplementation is usually only required for drug-free athletes, athletes using peptides that promote cell proliferation, or during PCT.

Foods rich in Zinc: beef & beef liver, lamb, turkey, shrimp, quinoa, chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils & cashew nuts.

California Gold Nutrition Zinc Picolinate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/california-gold-nutrition-zinc-picolinate-50-mg-120-veggie-capsules/91976

Now Foods Zinc Glycinate on iHerb:
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Copper

Symptoms of deficiency (although rare and difficult to accurately diagnose) include; impaired immune system, low body temperature or increased perception of cold, skin disorders (bruising, inflammation or pale skin & sores), muscle soreness unrelated to strenuous exercise, anemia, pancytopenia, or ataxia as well as fatigue or lethargy. Copper deficiency can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to many other conditions & deficiencies. Testing total serum Copper concentrations alongside other mineral & vitamin serum tests might be required to assess which micro-nutrient deficiency is causing the symptoms.

Copper & Zinc use the same transporters for absorption; over-consumption or over-supplementation of Copper or Zinc can cause the other mineral’s deficiency. If the individual is deficient in both Copper & Zinc, then these mineral transporters are impaired or malfunctioning, leading to reduced absorption in the intestinal tract.

12 Cupro-enzymes of the body are highly dependent on Copper to function correctly. Tyrosinase produces Melanin, which is present in skin cells as well as hair. Copper deficiencies can affect a person’s hair color, leading to premature graying. Unlike the case with Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Calcium & Zinc deficiencies, Copper deficiencies have not been linked to hair loss or symptoms of Androgenetic Alopecia!

Copper deficiencies can be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article. Copper deficiencies can also be mistaken for impaired thyroid function due to use of thyroid medication or inadequate dietary or supplemental Iodine, Selenium & Vitamin k intake, blood loss or insufficient dietary or supplemental Vitamin B12 & Iron intake, tiredness & impaired recovery due to prolonged caloric restriction as well as other micronutrient deficiencies.

Foods rich in Copper: beef liver, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, most beans, lentils & walnuts.

Thorne Research Copper Bisglycinate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/thorne-research-copper-bisglycinate-60-capsules/52665

Solgar Copper Chelate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/solgar-chelated-copper-100-tablets/41330


Manganese

Symptoms of deficiency (although rare) include; osteoporosis, impaired bone growth & mineralization, low fertility or infertility, impaired wound healing, impaired glucose tolerance & abnormal metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, fats & cholesterol. Manganese is a catalyst in many different enzymatic reactions in the body and allows for specific chemical formations to occur. Insufficient manganese levels impair the functioning of these enzymes, which can cause a diversity of symptoms or side-effects, often more commonly mistakes for other micro-nutrient deficiencies.

Iron-rich foods or supplements have been shown to lower Manganese absorption, while elevated Phosphorus & Calcium may also decrease manganese retention. High Manganese intake can have a neuro-toxic effect, resulting in psychological disturbances and impaired motor functions.

Manganese deficiencies can be mistaken for insufficient dietary or supplemental Calcium, Magnesium, or Vitamin K1, K2 MK-4 & K2 MK-7 intake, resulting in bone disorders. Manganese deficiencies can also be mistaken for inadequate dietary or supplemental Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Zinc & Selenium intake, which also negatively impact fertility. Infertility or difficulty conceiving is a common side-effect when using any AAS that downregulates the HPTA. However, adequate micro-nutrient intake is often not sufficient to improve fertility when potent AAS are being used. Restricted protein & collagen intake is also associated with reduced wound healing, although this is very unlikely with bodybuilders, strength athletes, or fitness enthusiasts.

Foods rich in manganese: quinoa, chia seeds, flax seeds, oats, rye, brown rice, spinach, pineapple & pumpkin seeds.

Source Naturals Manganese Chelate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/Source-Naturals-Manganese-10-mg-250-Tablets/1278

Thorne Research Manganese Bisglycinate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/thorne-research-manganese-bisglycinate-60-capsules/55063


Selenium

Symptoms of deficiency (although rare) include; impaired metabolism, low fertility or infertility, and reduced potential for hyperplasia due to impaired DNA-synthesis. The amount of Selenium in food sources is primarily determined by the quality and Selenium content of the soil plants grow in, which can further affect the Selenium content of animal food sources as they consume the plants that grow in Selenium rich or deficient soil. Rainfall, evaporation & pH levels and the use of particular fertilizers all affect Selenium concentration in soil. This makes Selenium deficiency more common in certain parts of the world. In most parts of Europe, China, New Zealand & Australia, the soil is considerably more deficient in Selenium than in the United States. There appears to be a wide variation in Selenium content in the soil of the Middle-East & Africa. Scientists have predicted that the effects of climate change will gradually decrease the soil’s Selenium concentrations in many parts of the world.

Selenium plays an integral part in the endocrine, immune & cardiovascular system. The thyroid gland has the highest concentration of Selenium of all the organs in the body, and the testicles also contain relatively high amounts of Selenium.

Selenium deficiencies can be mistaken for insufficient dietary or supplemental Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Zinc & Manganese intake, which also negatively impact fertility. Infertility or difficulty conceiving is a common side-effect when using potent AAS. However, adequate micro-nutrient intake is often insufficient to improve fertility when potent AAS are also being used. Adequate Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene), Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherols & Tocotrienols), Zinc, Manganese & Selenium intake is essential before, during & after Post-Cycle Therapy (PCT).

Impaired metabolism & thyroid output can also be a side-effect of prolonged Growth Hormone use, effectively increasing T4 to T3 conversion until serum T4 levels eventually deplete. Insufficient dietary intake of Iodine, Selenium, or Vitamin K, chronic restricted caloric intake during a cutting phase or contest prep, further compounds with increased caloric expenditure by performing hours of cardio daily. All these cases tremendously impact metabolism negatively!

Adequate Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Selenium & Zinc intake is particularly important when using Growth Hormone, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), or Insulin, as these PEDs promote cell proliferation, where DNA-synthesis requires additional Selenium & Zinc for cell formation & division, and the rapid formation of new skin cells and accelerated hair & nail growth, need more Vitamin B7 (Biotin) & Zinc than usual.

Glutathione Peroxidase also requires Selenium to function correctly; serum Glutathione Peroxidase concentrations gradually decline due to a Selenium deficiency. Given the kidney, liver & heart health protective effects of Glutathione, which is especially important while using PEDs, adequate Selenium intake & supplemental N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), reduced oral Glutathione or injectable Glutathione use is advised!

Foods rich in Selenium: brazil nuts, cheese, flax seeds, tuna, shrimp, sardines, salmon, turkey, cod, pork, chicken & beef.

California Gold Nutrition Selenium (Yeast Free) on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/california-gold-nutrition-selenium-yeast-free-200-mcg-180-veggie-capsules/90416

Now Foods Selenium on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/now-foods-selenium-100-mcg-250-tablets/813


Fluoride

Symptoms of deficiency (although rare) mostly encompass tooth decay. Fluoride isn’t found in many food sources; some governments add Fluoride to the public water supply under the premise it reduces tooth decay & cavities. Similarly, many countries mandate their local food & beverage companies to add either Iodine or Iodide to table salt to prevent Goiter or impaired metabolism and add additional vitamins & minerals as fortification of popular food items.

Fluoxetine is the main Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) of the antidepressant Prozac. Fluoxetine contains Fluoride, leading to conspiracy theories about governments aiming to suppress emotion & control the masses by adding Fluoride to drinking water. Canada, North & South America, Australia, China, most parts of Europe & Africa have Fluoridated tap water, although not every country has drinkable tap water. Some countries don’t add Fluoride artificially as the groundwater supply already contains some level of Fluoride, which isn’t filtered out.

When Fluoride intake is insufficient during the formation of permanent adult teeth during the early stages of puberty, the teeth become porous and are subject to decay, plaque, or discoloration. Fluoride in the saliva is able to prevent tooth decay to a certain extend, which highly depends on the Fluoride concentration of the saliva; limiting acidic foods & basic oral hygiene reduces or prevents further demineralization of the teeth.

Fluoride deficiencies can be mistaken for inadequate dietary or supplemental Calcium intake or cavities & decay due to poor dental hygiene.

Foods rich in Fluoride: raisins, tea, bananas & spinach.


Iodine

symptoms of deficiency include; impaired metabolism & reduced thyroid hormone levels, low heart rate, fatigue, lethargy, weakness or reduced recovery from workouts, and impaired wound healing.

Hypothyroidism can lead to Goiter (swelling of the thyroid gland), hair loss, low body temperature, increased perception of cold, dry & flaky skin, complications during pregnancy, body weight gain, learning difficulties & heavy or irregular periods.

Besides being relatively common in seafood, Iodine isn’t found in many food sources; many countries mandate their local food & beverage companies to add either Iodine or Iodide to table salt to prevent Goiter or impaired metabolism. Similarly, some governments add Fluoride to the public water supply under the premise it reduces tooth decay & cavities and add additional vitamins & minerals as fortification of popular food items.

Impaired metabolism & Thyroid output can also be a side-effect of prolonged Growth Hormone use, effectively increasing T4 to T3 conversion until serum T4 levels eventually deplete. Insufficient dietary intake of Iodine, Selenium, or Vitamin K, chronic restricted caloric intake during a cutting phase or contest prep, further compounds with increased caloric expenditure by performing hours of cardio daily. All these cases tremendously impact metabolism negatively!

Iodine deficiencies can be mistaken for insufficient dietary or supplemental Copper intake, resulting in reduced body temperature or increased cold perception. Iodine deficiencies can also be mistaken for states of overtraining or fatigue while training and poor dietary or supplemental Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), or Phosphorus intake. Adequate intake allows athletes to train at maximum capacity until real overtraining occurs, and a deload or week of rest is required. For more information about progressive overload & deloading, read the Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples Article.

Foods rich in Iodine: dried sea vegetables (kelp, wakame, arame & algae), scallops, cod, yogurt, shrimp, sardines, salmon, tuna, whole eggs, beef liver, milk & iodized table salt formulations.

Heritage Store Nascent Iodine Colloidal on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/heritage-store-nascent-iodine-colloidal-1-fl-oz-30-ml/85846

Life Extension Sea Iodine Complex on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/life-extension-sea-iodine-1-000-mcg-60-vegetarian-capsules/55644


Chromium

Symptoms of deficiency (although rare) include; impaired glucose tolerance, reduced Insulin sensitivity, peripheral neuropathy or paresthesia (numbness, prickling, or tingling in hands or feet) & confusion, or impaired coordination.

Consuming large doses of Chromium (over 1,000mcg) daily were proven to be toxic to the kidneys. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Chromium is 35mcg per day, while most Glucose Disposal Agents (GDAs) supplements contain 200-300mcg Chromium per serving. Although the Tolerable Upper Limit (U/L) for Chromium currently hasn’t been set by the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. However, some researchers suggest that 1,000mcg per day should be considered the Tolerable Upper Limit (U/L). Studies have shown that excessive doses of Chromium may actually worsen Insulin sensitivity.

Many different factors besides Chromium deficiency can cause impaired glucose tolerance & reduced Insulin sensitivity. Sufficient Magnesium & Chromium intake eliminates 1 factor when Insulin resistance occurs during the offseason! While Chromium contributes to glucose homeostasis, it is not a supplement that lowers glucose below the established healthy reference ranges. Alarmingly low blood glucose levels are often due to overuse of Insulin, insufficient dietary or supplemental Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), Calcium or Potassium intake, which can also result in numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or face.

Foods rich in Chromium: whole eggs, beef liver, broccoli, barley & oats.

Now Foods GTF Chromium on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/now-foods-gtf-chromium-200-mcg-250-tablets/624

Now Foods Chromium Picolinate on iHerb:
https://www.iherb.com/pr/now-foods-chromium-picolinate-200-mcg-250-veg-capsules/508


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