How Much Vitamin C?
I was hoping to post a new workout today, but I have sustained an injury in my arm, so I need to rest it today. So I’ll be back tomorrow all being well with a new challenge
After talking the other day about my views on protein supplements, I thought about what else I supplement in my diet. Vitamin C is a recent addition and, like everything, there are many differing views, opinions and research leading to an even more difficult decision as to whether or not to supplement. And even more debate as to how much to supplement.
Unfortunately, humans are among a small number of mammals who cannot make their own Vitamin C and therefore have to rely on absorbing it from food.
So what to we need Vit C for? Vit C acts as an antioxidant and is reported to be necessary for some 300 metabolic functions. It is vital for tissue growth and repair as it is needed for the synthesis of collagen, adrenal gland function, and it even assists in insulin control thus aiding the metabolism of carbohydrates. It is also documented to help prevent cancer and protect against infection.
According to the Food Standards Agency here in the UK, it is recommended that 40mg per day is all the average adult needs to prevent diseases associated with Vitamin C deficiency. The Food and Drug Administration in the USA recommend 60mg per day.
In contrast however, 2-time Nobel Prize Winner Dr Linus Pauling, who spent his life researching the effects of Vitamin C, suggested that taking up to 10,000mg of Vit C per day may help prevent cancer and may even help the body fight existing cancer cells. In addition to this, although excess Vit C is excreted in the urine, a proportion is converted into other oxidation substances, which actually show greater anti-cancer properties that Vit C itself. This process only seems to occur when there is a significant surplus of Vit C, which usually happens when you take 2000mg or more.
In 2003 the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism reported that exercise can cause an increase in circulating Vitamin C after exercise, but a decline below pre-exercise levels in the days following. However, the jury is out as to whether increasing Vitamin C intake makes any difference in the recovery from heavy training. As the solid evidence indicates that vitamin C is necessary for tissue growth and repair and vital for collagen synthesis, then in my eyes it would make sense that increasing vitamin c intake when training will aid recovery. Not only that but Vitamin C is also needed in the uptake of iron from the diet. As far as exercise goes, athletes and those training regularly require more iron to make more red blood cells to cope with the extra oxygen demands from intensive physical activity. Therefore it would make sense to supplement Vitamin C for this reason alone.
In my view, I think the benefits of supplementing Vitamin C outweigh the possible negative side effects it can have. I think you need to decide yourself how much vitamin C your body needs, by allowing it to reach saturation (when you start to get bowel symptoms). I personally take 2-4g per day and feel better for it!