As bodybuilders we have a tendency to pay too much attention to the macronutrients – proteins, carbs, and fats – while ignoring the important roles that micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals play in not only optimizing our health, but our physiques as well. One of the most powerful and cost effective tools that we can add to our daily supplement regimen is vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. Dr. Linus Pauling the only person in history to win two unshared Nobel Prize’s (Chemistry and Peace), believed that vitamin C played a crucial role in helping to increase our longevity and quality of life as we age.
Just because you’re not a pirate and don’t need to worry about coming down with scurvy (the vitamin C defiency disease) doesn’t mean that you should dismiss the wide range of benefits that vitamin C can have on your physique.
- Carnitine Synthesis – Vitamin C plays a key role in the synthesis of l-carnitine. L-carnitine transports fatty acids to the mitochondria to be metabolized, thus increasing energy output and helping to burn body fat.
- Collagen Formation – Vitamin C is essential to collagen formation. Collagen is the most abundant protein made in our bodies and is the primary component of all our connective tissue.
- Antioxidant Function – Vitamin C acts as a potent antioxidant in the body and has the ability to accept and give away electrons in an effort to neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals.
- Iron Absorption – Vitamin C helps increase the absorption of iron. Iron is critical to the proper formation of red blood cells which transport oxygen in the blood to the rest of the cells in the body.
- Immune Boosting – Vitamin C plays a key role in the formation of certain white blood cells known as leukocytes. Leukocytes eliminate unknown substances, cellular waste, and signal the immune system when foreign bacteria enter the system.
Although the current RDI for vitamin C is 90-2,000mgs daily, doses as high as 100x’s those amounts have been used in intravenous therapy for treatment of various conditions by orthomolecular practitioners. Typical supplemental doses range from 1,000-5,000mgs daily.