A: There is no other vitamin that has as many beneficial effects on the human body as vitamin C. Because our bodies cannot manufacture it, we need to replenish our supplies of vitamin C daily. And because much of our agricultural soil has been depleted of its minerals and vitamins, the foods we buy are not as rich in vitamin C as they once were. As a result, most people don’t get enough vitamin C in their daily diet. Without the requisite amount of vitamin C we cannot adequately combat infections, diseases and colds.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning that it protects the fluids of the body such as blood as well as muscle cells from damage by free radicals. Vitamin C has also been proven to reduce bronchial restriction, ease upper respiratory restrictions and help alleviate the effects of asthma. So, this vitamin is essential for overall good health. But what about it’s extra benefits for bodybuilders? Well, high levels of vitamin C restrict the release of cortisone. We release cortisone when we are under stress and it has the effect of lowering the levels of testosterone in our bodies, and too much cortisone can put us in a catabolic state.
Vitamin C’s effect as a cortisone suppressant, then, is very significant. Vitamin C can also reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery from muscle damage. In addition, it is involved in the formation of collagen. Collagen is the primary constituent of connective tissue and that has got to be a good thing for hard training bodybuilders. As if that’s not enough to get you reaching for your fruit bowl, vitamin C also helps in the absorption of iron. Finally, vitamin C is water soluble, meaning that it diffuses very rapidly in water. Since a muscle cell is mostly water, the more muscular an athlete becomes, the more vitamin C disperses and the lower the concentration of this critical substance becomes in body tissues. So vitamin C requirements are greatly increased for bodybuilders
So, how much vitamin C do we need? For a bodybuilder, between three to five grams twice per day would seem to be ideal. Vitamin C’s half-life is 3 to 4 hours. This means you need to take Vitamin C every 4 to 6 hours to keep your levels elevated. The most important times to take Vitamin C are one hour prior to training and two hours after your workout is completed. When it comes to supplementing with vitamin C, there are a lot of options. Rose hip, ascorbic acid, calcium ascorbate, sodium ascorbate and ascerola are all efficient sources of this vitamin. The best natural sources of vitamin C are fruits like kiwifruit, strawberries, cantaloupes, oranges, lemons and grapefruit. As a final note, do not use chewable vitamin C tablets, as they are likely to wreak havoc on your teeth.
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