Vitamin C is beneficial for bodybuilding, as it plays a key role in muscle growth. It helps athletes recover faster after intense workouts. The recommended daily dose of vitamin C for building muscle mass is only 200-250 mg a day. Higher dosages from supplements may impair muscle growth.
Recommended daily intake
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for most adults is only 90 mg. Only lactating women (120 mg) and smokers (125 mg) need higher dosages. Food can provide all the vitamin C you need.
Athletes need higher dosages of vitamin C
Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant properties. Consuming foods high in antioxidants is good for you, as they neutralize free radicals in the body. Without antioxidants, free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which is a common reason of chronic inflammation and disease!
Athletes need more vitamin C, as intense exercise produces more free radicals! Consuming foods high in vitamin C is beneficial for athletic performance and building muscle mass. Vitamin C helps muscles to recover faster and fight fatigue! Hence, athletes can perform intense workouts more often.
The recommended daily dose of 90 mg may not be enough for athletes, though. Athletes should consume 200-250 mg of vitamin C a day, as they have higher antioxidant needs, due to exercise-induced free radicals.
According to a study, published in 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, when took up to 250 mg of vitamin C per day. Keep in mind that vitamin C supplementation beyond 250 mg isn’t necessary.
Vitamin C for muscle growth
Most noteworthy, vitamin C is vital for the natural synthesis of collagen. 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 the natural synthesis of collagen by the body. Vitamin A, zinc, and copper are necessary for collagen synthesis, as well.
Vitamin C for faster recovery
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.
Vitamin C builds muscle mass at night
Moreover, vitamin C is necessary for a good night’s sleep. It’s absolutely vital for bodybuilders and other athletes who train for increased muscle growth and strength to sleep at night. Actually, muscle tissue gets bigger when we sleep.
Too much vitamin C may be bad for muscle growth
Although, adequate amounts of vitamin C are necessary for muscle growth, athletes should avoid taking too much vitamin C from dietary supplements.
Vitamin C supplements provide a huge antioxidant content, neutralizing most exercise-induced free radicals. However, according to a 2020 study, published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, moderate amounts of free radicals are beneficial for increasing strength and improving muscle contractile activity.
It seems that free radicals produced during exercise are important regulators of muscle growth! Therefore, extremely high doses of vitamin C from supplements may be bad for bodybuilding.
High dosages of vitamin C from supplements are considered pretty safe, though.
How much vitamin C per day is ideal for bodybuilding?
According to a study, published in the American College of Sports Medicine, 200 mg of vitamin C a day, consumed from vegetables and fruits may be enough for athletes to reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress, without impairing muscle growth and athletic performance.
Athletes can get more than enough vitamin C by following a plant-based diet. Orange, lemon, strawberries, papaya, mango, pineapple, grapefruit, kiwi, kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, peppers, tomato, and many other foods are excellent dietary sources of vitamin C.