Are vitamin C supplements bad for muscle growth?

vitamin C supplements for muscle growth

Vitamin C is necessary for athletes, as it helps muscles to recover faster and get stronger! On the contrary, regular vitamin C supplementation may inhibit muscle growth! So, bodybuilders and other athletes should depend on dietary sources.

Recommended daily intake for vitamin C

Most adults need only 90 mg of vitamin C daily. Only lactating women (120 mg) and smokers (125 mg) need more. Most noteworthy, food can provide all the vitamin C you need.[1]

Do athletes need a higher dosage of vitamin C?

Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant properties. Consuming foods high in antioxidants is good for you, as antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the body. Without antioxidants, free radicals can cause oxidative stress which is a common reason for chronic inflammation and disease!

Athletes need more vitamin C, as intense exercise produces more free radicals! Therefore, consuming lots of foods high in vitamin C is beneficial for athletic performance and building muscle mass. Vitamin C helps muscles to recover faster and also fights fatigue! Hence, athletes can do more often intense workouts.

A daily dose of 90 mg isn’t enough for athletes. Athletes should consume at least 200-250 mg of vitamin C daily, as they have higher antioxidant needs, due to exercise-induced free radicals.

According to a study, published on the International Journal of Sports Medicine, athletes of all sports have higher needs for vitamin C. Highly trained runners, soccer players, wrestlers, and basketball players performed great, consuming up to 250 mg of vitamin C per day. Certainly, vitamin C supplementation beyond 250 mg isn’t necessary.[2]

Above all, athletes should take their vitamin C from food, not supplements.

Does collagen help you build muscle?

Adequate amounts of vitamin C are also vital for natural collagen synthesis. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It’s approximately 30% of the body’s protein content.

Furthermore, collagen is found in connective and soft tissue. So, athletes should eat foods that boost natural synthesis of collagen from the body. Besides vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, and copper are also necessary for collagen synthesis. More here.

Moreover, collagen peptide supplementation is beneficial for bodybuilding. Collagen intake can improve body composition by increasing fat-free mass, muscle strength, and the loss in fat mass.[3] Therefore, eating foods that boost natural collagen synthesis may also help athletes build muscle mass.

Vitamin C helps your muscles recover faster

Intense exercise produces free radicals. Athletes should follow a diet rich in antioxidants, in order, to neutralize them. Free radicals produced during exercise may increase muscle fatigue and diminish athletic performance.[4]

Vitamin C and vitamin E are two well-known powerful antioxidants. All athletes and physical active people should consume foods high in vitamin C and E to help them recover faster after intense workouts.

But, athletes better avoid taking vitamin C from supplements. Especially if someone wants to build muscle mass…

Do vitamin C supplements inhibit muscle gain?

Vitamin C supplements may be bad for building muscle mass, though. Supplements provide a huge antioxidant content, neutralizing most exercise-induced free radicals. According to a 2020 study, published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, moderate amounts of free radicals are beneficial for increasing strength gain and improving muscle contractile activity.[5]

Most noteworthy, taking vitamin C from supplements maybe inhibit muscle hypertrophy and protein synthesis. It seems that free radicals produced during exercise are important regulators of muscle growth! Therefore, high-dose antioxidant supplementation, such as vitamin C or E may be bad for building muscle mass.

Should bodybuilders take vitamin C from food?

Although, daily vitamin C dosages of 1,000 mg are pretty safe, bodybuilders and other athletes should avoid taking vitamin C supplements regularly. The main source of vitamin C should be food.

Vitamin C from food neutralizes some free radicals produced from exercise before get dangerous. On the contrary, vitamin C from supplements has a huge antioxidant content, neutralizing most of them, preventing muscle strength and growth.

Therefore, athletes should consume lots of foods high in vitamin C, throughout the day, in order, to build muscle mass and boost athletic performance. Small regular dosages of vitamin C is the best way to help your muscles recover faster and increase muscle strength and gain.

According to a study, published in the American College of Sports Medicine, 200 mg of vitamin C daily, consumed from vegetables and fruits may be enough to reduce oxidative stress from exercise, without impairing muscle growth and athletic performance.[6]

Orange, lemon, strawberries, papaya, mango, pineapple, grapefruit, kiwi, kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, peppers, tomato, and many more foods are particularly high in vitamin C. See the whole list here.