By Chad Nicholls, Executive Editor
Most of you have grown accustom to reading my advice and theories on hardcore bodybuilding. So this week’s blog article may surprise some of you. Let’s face it, there’s nothing “hardcore” about Vitamins…….but this proves that some of the most valuable supplements can be found in the “simplest” places.
Supplementing the diet with basic, essential vitamins and minerals is very important for anyone wanting to achieve optimal health or top athletic performance. Those who work with me already know I place immense value on a solid vitamin, mineral and herbal protocol all year round – not just pre contest; however, if I could recommend one vitamin that ranks an A+ in all areas of health, wellbeing, athletic performance, and preventative medicine, Vitamin C makes the grade.
Vitamin C – One Instance Where More Is Better!
Many vitamins have strict limitations on dosing due to adverse reactions that can occur from “overdosing”, but because humans don’t possess the enzymes necessary for vitamin C production, they must acquire Vitamin C through diet and vitamin supplementation. Furthermore, Vitamin C has an extremely short half-life – meaning it’s in and out of the system quickly. With this in mind, it’s important to keep a constant level in the body. Multiple doses of Vitamin C, taken throughout the day, and making certain that your diet contains foods rich in Vitamin C are great ways to maintain C levels.
How much Vitamin C should be taken daily? The recommended dosage handed down by the USDA is 90mg daily for an adult male and 75mg daily for an adult female, but since this vitamin is quick out of the system and since the body doesn’t produce vitamin C on its own, it’s a good guess that those engaging in regular physical activities as well as performance athletes would require much more than the recommended daily allowance. I am a staunch believer in more is better with vitamin C. With my clients I gauge dosage depending on their personal needs through their lifestyle, stress levels and daily activity levels. For healthy individuals I like to see an approximate dose of 500mg twice a day (on the low end) – however, for an individual who works and partakes in strenuous physical activity or when stress levels are elevated and strength of the immune system come into play I feel it is important to take Vitamin C three times daily and anywhere from 500 mg three times daily up to 1,000mg three times daily. That may sound like an enormous amount to take of one vitamin, but when you look at all the benefits of vitamin C over the few adverse effects, more is better. Personally, I take 2,000mg of vitamin C three times daily. Because my schedule keeps me up very late at night, I take 2,000mg every 8 hours.
Vitamin C is touted as one of the safest vitamins in terms of side effects and adverse effects. Some of the worst reported side effects of taking too much vitamin C are stomach discomfort, stomach cramping, and the possibility of diarrhea. However, you should always consult with your doctor (regarding vitamin C or ANY type of vitamin or supplement) to see if you have any underlying conditions or issues that would cause you to limit your daily vitamin C intake.
A GROCERY LIST OF POSITIVE BENEFITS:
I view Vitamin C as an overall “wonder” supplement as it shows great diversity in its applications in all areas of health and well being – even though its notoriety comes from its benefits to the immune system and in staving off the common cold, its list of benefits has grown tremendously over the years:
*Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is a potent antioxidant with increasingly diverse uses in health promotion and disease prevention. It boosts production of the protein Collagen which not only keeps skin supple and youthful, but also assists with wound healing, maintaining healthy cartilage and bones, and also assists in muscle repair after working out.
*Vitamin C helps to shorten the duration of common colds and helps to strengthen the immune system.
*It helps to prevent negative blood vessel changes, plaque buildup and hardening of the arteries that can lead to strokes, heart attacks and other vascular diseases. Vitamin C additionally helps maintain healthy arteries and arterial walls. For men this is very important as the arterial lining is what pumps out nitric oxide and is essential for heart health, healthy blood flow and blood pressure and can reduce erectile dysfunction.
*Vitamin C supplements reduce cellular damage caused by free radicals – environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals. By eliminating free radicals in the body it decreases inflammation and cell damage that can lead to malignant cells that cause cancerous tumors. It’s been shown that by injecting high doses of Vitamin C or taking high doses of Vitamin C intravenously, cancer cells can be destroyed while healthy cells are saved and in some, tumor growth was even slowed. I truly believe that high levels of intravenous Vitamin C can stop the cancer process. It may not cure it – but I have seen, first hand, how it stops cancer in its tracks!
*Individuals with sufficient Vitamin C levels are able to burn more fat during exercise than those with depleted Vitamin C levels. As well, those with increased Vitamin C levels are also able to shorten recovery time post workout over individuals with depleted Vitamin C levels.
*Vitamin C is very effective, when taken in large quantities, at reducing stress and cortisol. Decreased cortisol levels and eliminating stress are very important for peak athletic performance and especially important in body building when prepping for a competition. I regularly will increase an athletes’ Vitamin C dosing during contest prep because of cortisol issues.
*When taking Vitamin C either in food or supplement form, along with Iron, it helps increase iron absorption which is very important for individuals who are anemic or those with a slow functioning thyroid. Many individuals with a slow functioning thyroid also have low iron and low Vitamin C levels.
Whether you are an elite athlete or health advocate, this super vitamin’s abilities are a positive asset to all who add it to their daily nutritional program. Sometimes solutions in their simplest form are the best – so don’t leave vitamin C out of your daily regimen.
Related Story: The Brain-Gut Connection (it’s real). – By Dr. Kalman