Vitamin C & Muscle: Is Vitamin C Consumption Linked to Muscle Gains?

Vitamin C and Muscle

Nutrition is half of the formula for success in the gym

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Vitamin C is receiving a lot of attention lately because certain studies have shown performance enhancement or body-composition changes following doses greater than the recommended daily allowance, or USRDA. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by vitamin C's familiarity however. It's another case of a little is good, but more is not.

Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize winner, advocated taking great amounts of vitamin C for its antioxidant and immune-boosting properties. Since the time of Pauling's work we've discovered that there's an infinite number of phytochemicals, or plant compounds, that have antioxidant properties.

The USRDA for vitamin C is fairly low, 60 milligrams. That's the minimum amount to prevent deficiency. There are guidelines coming out that recommend optimal dosing and various doses for different age and activity levels. Those groupings of best doses of vitamins and minerals are relatively new and haven't yet undergone an extensive review. k's important to remember that vitamins, minerals and other supplements may be toxic at megadoses.

Excess vitamin C may lead to problems such as diarrhea and kidney stones. Six grams per day may not be toxic in a healthy individual, but it's a greater amount than the recommended dose, even for active athletes. The United States Olympic Committee recommends 250 to 1,000 milligrams daily as a supplement. Unless you're competing beyond the level of the Olympic athletes, I assume that would be adequate for you as well. Additionally, studies have shown that vitamin C is best absorbed in doses of 250 to 500 milligrams. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so the body can excrete excess amounts, at least to a certain point.

I suggest you decrease your vitamin C intake to 2,000 milligrams or less daily, taken in four doses-500 milligrams four times a day. Of course, if you have any specific health questions or issues that relate to a medical condition, you should consult your personal physician. You may also consider one of the fruit-and-vegetable concentrates that are available if you're worried about the remainder of the antioxidant profile. A good product to use is a product called Juice Plus.




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