Not surprisingly, most athletes are unaware how important vitamin C intake is to performance. Some can get away with poor diets and supplementation for awhile (see NBA Super Star Derrick Rose’s weird eating habits). Lucky for Chicago Bulls fans, he has hired a personal trainer, chef, and is taking that next step to remain a superstar into his late 30’s. A simple search online for athletes’ dietary habits brings up a love for Big Macs, Skittles, Swedish Fish, and beer. Many of the top athletes who consume regular supplements, including vitamin C, and maintain healthy eating patterns, perform at a high level far past their primes. Below are a few examples of athletes who train just as hard in the kitchen as they do on the field or court.
- Steve Nash – NBA SuperStar
- Kobe Bryant – NBA SuperStar
- Joe Namath – NFL Hall of Famer
- Tony Gonzales – NFL Tight End
- Billie Jean King – Tennis Player
- Robert Parish – NBA Hall of Famer
How valuable is proper vitamin C supplementation to athletes?
Here are five reasons you should include high dose vitamin C in your regular supplementation schedule.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant, protecting muscle cells from free radical damage, thus enhancing recovery and growth.
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) is also involved with amino acid metabolism, especially the formation of Collagen. Collagen is the primary constituent of connective tissue, the stuff that holds your bones and muscles together. This may not seem important, but as you lift heavier weights, the stress you put on your structure becomes tremendous and risk of injury dramatically increases.
- Vitamin C helps in the absorption of Iron. Iron is necessary to help Oxygen bind to hemoglobin in blood. Without adequate oxygen transportation in blood, muscles are robbed of precious oxygen and performance is greatly reduced.
- Ascorbic acid also assists in the formation and release of steroid hormones, including the anabolic hormone testosterone.
- Vitamin C is perhaps the most water soluble vitamin there is. In other words, it diffuses very rapidly in water. Since a muscle cell is mostly water, the more muscular an athlete becomes, the more vitamin C disperses and the lower the concentration of this critical substance becomes in body tissues. So vitamin C requirements are greatly increased for athletes.