Vitamin C and its benefits regarding Body Composition.
Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid or L- ascorbate is a well-known conventional vitamin that most resort to when fighting off ill health.
Despite being renowned for its influence on immune function attributed to its pleiotropic functions, of relation to its ability to donate electrons, it is far more versatile a vitamin than most are aware, possessing numerous additional benefits of no relation to the above mentioned, particularly for those who undergo intense training and are looking to improve the composition of their body.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, meaning it is also able to reduce the damage to cells caused by free radicals and toxic chemicals.
Being a soluble vitamin, the body can expel any excess amounts consumed through urine within approximately 24 hours and therefore it is one of the safest vitamins to consume.
Vitamin C can also be used for managing stress levels, attributed to its effect on adrenal health, of subsequent relation to the amount of cortisol secreted when the body is subject to environmental factors it is either not accustomed to or not necessarily fond of. Considering that many fibrous foods are also rich in vitamin C (broccoli, capsicum and kiwi fruit) it is worth noting that there exists a correlation between the supplementation of Vitamin C and regular bowel habits.
Research has shown that too little Vitamin C has been found to correlate with increased body fat and waist measurements (Arizona, 2006). This particular study reported that the amount of Vitamin C in the blood stream has direct relation to fat oxidization during times of both exercise and rest. Such a study highlights that Vitamin C is essential for the biosynthesis of Carnitine which aids the transportation of fat molecules to the mitochondria of the cell.
Controlled cortisol levels are of paramount importance to any athlete. Research shows that those who received a dosage of 3 grams per day of Vitamin C experienced lower cortisol levels than those who did not ( Peters, Anderson and Theron, 2001). Further to this research, another study was conducted using 120 subjects.
Each subject was given an extremely stressful task to preform including public speaking and maths problems. Half of the subjects were given 1000mg of Vitamin C and the other half were administered a placebo. Such a study found that those who were given the Vitamin C had lower cortisol levels and lower blood pressure compared to those who did not receive the vitamin. (Psychology Today, 2003)
As more research comes to light regarding the benefits of Vitamin C and its potential role in blood pressure reduction, it is to be understood that it may also have diuretic qualities in larger doses. Despite Vitamin C being a water-soluble vitamin and therefore is not stored in the body it is important to be mindful that too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea and digestive stress.
The Take home:
*Vitamin C can be taken as a daily supplement as obtaining the required amounts necessary via food sources is not always a viable option especially for those on a restrictive caloric meal plan.
*Vitamin C has been shown to assist in overall health, immune strength and lower cortisol levels
*Vitamin C has been found to keep testosterone levels higher by decreasing cortisol levels
*Nutrient dense foods that are rich in Vitamin C include: Pineapple, Strawberries, Broccoli and tomatoes.