No one who trains hard wants to be average, which is why it pays to study up on the latest vitamin C research. The potent water-soluble vitamin is known for supporting the immune system and fighting free radicals to support exercise gains and ward off diseases, but research has added a few benefits to this list. Here are the conclusions of a few recent studies and what they mean for you:
Vitamin C boosts exercise capacity.
One recent study found that vitamin C reduces heart rate. The benefit for those who engage in intense training is that they can maintain greater levels of intensity for longer periods because their hearts aren’t working as hard and their perceived exertion is reduced.
Vitamin C fights fatigue.
Another study found that when office workers were given vitamin C, they felt less fatigued after two hours and after a full day at work. Because training is also a stressor, vitamin C should help you stay on that treadmill longer.
Vitamin C increases nitric-oxide levels.
A Greek study found that when subjects took vitamin C and arginine, they experienced greater nitric-oxide levels than when they took arginine by itself. It appears that the vitamin’s antioxidant effects help protect NO from being broken down by free radicals.
Vitamin C helps burn fat.
Researchers at Arizona State University found that subjects who took vitamin C and ate a low-fat diet that contained very little of the vitamin lost more body fat than those who ate the same diet but didn’t get the extra C. Vitamin C is essential to the creation of carnitine, which helps carry fat out of stores and into the mitochondria of cells so it can be burned for fuel.
Dose: Take 500 to 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C twice a day with food.