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Old 04-25-2013, 05:45 PM   #1
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Default Benefits of Vitamin C to athletes

Benefits of Vitamin C to athletes

Of particular interest to us as hard training athletes is Vitamin C's role as one of the body's most important anti-oxidants. It protects the body from damage by free radicals and reactive oxygen species that we generate, especially during intense physical exercise.

For hard training athletes, Vitamin C plays an invaluable role in injury prevention and recovery as it is required for the synthesis of collagen, an important structural component of tendons & ligaments.

Vitamin C is also vital for energy production as it is required for the synthesis of carnitine, the amino acid, which is essential for the transport of fatty acids to the cells mitochondria ("engine" of the cell), for conversion to energy.

Of interest to bodybuilders should be Vitamin C's role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which improves mental focus and training intensity as well as its documented role in suppressing the body's production of the catabolic (muscle wasting) hormone cortisol.

Symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency include frequent colds and infections, bleeding or receding gums, nose bleeds, easy bruising, slow wound healing and lack of energy.

Vitamin C for reduced Muscle Soreness
A recent scientific study examined if high-dose vitamin C supplementation before and after intense exercise could reduce oxidative stress and muscle soreness. Researchers randomly assigned healthy men to either a placebo (fake supplement) or vitamin C (3 000 mg per day) treatment group.

Test subjects supplemented for two weeks prior to and four days after performing a high intensity exercise session (multiple eccentric elbow extensions). Whilst muscle soreness increased in both groups, there was significantly reduced muscle soreness in the vitamin C group. Furthermore, vitamin C supplementation demonstrated reduced muscle damage after exercise.

This study clearly suggests that high-dose vitamin C supplementation may be of benefit to serious athletes looking to reduce muscle damage and post training muscle soreness, not forgetting the solid scientific evidence that exists supporting vitamin C supplementations benefits in reducing the common cold and upper respiratory tract infections in physically active individuals.

Vitamin C for Fat Loss
Recently researchers at Arizona State University conducted a study to evaluate the impact of vitamin C status on fat burning during exercise. The results of this study indicated that individuals with marginal vitamin C status burned 25 percent less fat per kilogram bodyweight during a 60-minute treadmill walk as compared to individuals with adequate vitamin C status. Furthermore, fat burning during exercise in the individuals with marginal vitamin c status was enhanced when their blood vitamin C concentrations were improved. The authors concluded, "These preliminary results show that low vitamin C status may reduce fat oxidation [burning] during submaximal exercise and that reduced fat oxidation during exercise was related to fatigue. It's possible that increased fatigue and less reliance on fat as a fuel during activity may influence eventual weight gain. Thus, in addition to emphasizing calorie control and physical activity, attention to specific diet components such as vitamin C may be necessary for effective weight management."
Cutting Edge Research Tip
Considering our modern day diets and based upon our understanding of the biological importance of Vitamin C, an athletes increased requirements for this important anti-oxidant and recent research highlighting additional benefits, I highly recommend that any athlete serious about his/her health, performance and physique look at consuming 1 to 2 of Muscle Science's 1 000 mg Opti-C caplets per day.

1. Hemila H. Vitamin C supplementation and respiratory infections: a systematic review. Mil Med, 2004 Nov;169(11):920-5. Review.
2. Bryer SC, Goldfarb AH. Effect of high dose vitamin C supplementation on muscle soreness, damage, function, and oxidative stress to eccentric exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2006 Jun;16(3):270-80.
3. Johnston C et al. Marginal vitamin C status is associated with reduced fat oxidation during submaximal exercise in young adults. Nutr Metab (Lond), 2006 Aug 31;3:35.

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