Vitamin C and Sport Performance

Vitamin C and Sport Performance

Vitamin C has been used for a long time by athletes in order to improve the performance and reduce the fatigue.

The importance of Vitamin C for athletes

One of the main functions is the hydroxylation of the amino acids proline and lysine in order to produce collagen. This is why it is crucial for the growth and maintenance of the bones, teeth, gums, joints, ligaments, tendons and blood vessels, as well as to heal injuries, wounds and burns.

This is an essential function to prevent injuries (which are so frequent among athletes) from getting worse and to stimulate their healing process naturally. Moreover, it is also an important agent to lower cortisol. If we have high levels of this hormone, it can hinder the recovery or lead to overtraining in the worst cases.

Vitamin C is anti-cortisol

Another one of its important roles for those who practice sports or do physical exercise regularly, is the fact that it is involved in the state of iron. This is due to the fact that the ascorbic acid improves the absorption of this mineral, which is crucial for a proper oxygenation of the tissues.

Benefits of Vitamin C for Athletes

Neutralize the Free Radicals

When we do aerobic exercise, there is a strong charge of oxygen that can alter the redox balance. This will result in the formation of free radicals.

Carnitine Synthesis

Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of carnitine, which is in charge of transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria. These are the best fuel for muscle fibers when we carry out long exercises.

Vitamin C for strength training

Iron Absorption

Vitamin C has been used to counter the risk of anemia, which is quite frequent in fatigue and overtraining syndromes, especially in women. As we said previously, this is due to the fact that it improves the absorption of iron.

Muscle contraction

Muscle Contraction

It can play an important role in the development of strength in the contraction process.

Respiratory-Intestinal System

It has an immuno-stimulating effect to prevent respiratory or gastrointestinal tract infections, which are quite frequent after an intense effort or if we suffer overtraining.

Muscle recovery


It can also be used for the recovery of injuries, since it is present in the wound healing process and in the regeneration of connective tissue.

Vitamin C and Anaerobic Exercise

Intense and long exercises can cause an imbalance between the production mechanisms and defense mechanisms, a process known as oxidative stress. The elements that make up the muscle fiber can be damaged when there are reactive oxygen substances that overcome our ability to neutralize them.

However, despite the possible negative effects, an increase in the production of the free radicals is also an important stimuli to achieve an adaptation to the effort. This is due to the fact that it improves the ability to defend ourselves against the negative effects of exercise.

Aerobic exercise

Vitamin C and preventing any excess of Free Radicals

Vitamin C and Strength Exercise

Weightlifters have lower concentrations of vitamin C when compared to a group of non-athletes. Some reactive oxygen substances are to blame for the muscle damage after exercises with eccentric contractions. That is why taking substances that reduce the amount of free radicals could improve the loss of strength after a high intensity exercise.

For some, the use of antioxidants could be an important factor in order to avoid the damaged caused by the free radicals during strength activities. Using vitamin C supplementation could be a good strategy to reduce the muscle soreness after an intense physical exercise.

Eccentric training

Vitamin C protects athlete against muscle damage and eccentric work

Vitamin C Protects against Colds

Supplementation Strategy

Taking vitamin C to protect ourselves against catching a cold is a good strategy. Even insignificant pathologies like a cold can interfere with our training or the performance of athletes during competitions.

The Diet does not provide enough Vitamin C

Our regular diet may not provide enough vitamin C to the body. Some athletes will need to take an additional supply of this vitamin in order to prevent catching a cold.

Vitamin C for Athletes

The effects of Vitamin C supplementation become more relevant when they are used by specific groups like athletes who compete and who participate in endurance trials. As well as those who are exposed to cold climates in sports like skiing or expeditions, apart from those who undergo a lot of physical stress.

You can purchase the best vitamin C supplements for athletes at the HSN online store.

Vitamin C to prevent colds

Vitamin C to prevent active people from catching colds


  • Vitamin C supplementation can be useful to prevent some health disorders.
  • The antioxidant effect of vitamin C against the free radicals is quite interesting for the general public. However, it is especially important for athletes who carry out aerobic exercises since they undergo a higher risk of oxidation.
  • Its positive effects focus on the aerobic capacity and muscle strength above all, as well as in muscle damage and eccentric exercises. It can be used to treat some symptoms of fatigue and overtraining as well.



  • Levine M, Rumsey SC, Daruwala R, Park JB, Wang Y. Criteria and recommendations for vitamin C intake. JAMA 1999;281(15):1415-23.
  • Rojas Hidalgo E. Vitaminas y acción antioxidante. Pub por Merck, S.A. Madrid, 1996.
  • Bendich A, Cohen M. Ascorbic acid safety: analysis of factors affecting iron absorption. Toxicol Lett 1990; 51:189-201.
  • Hemilä H, Chalker E, D’Souza RRD, Douglas RM, Treacy B. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold (Review). The Cochrane Library 2005; 3:1-43.
  • Carr AC, Frei B. Toward a new recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C based on antioxidant and health effects in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1999; 69:1086-107.
  • Clarkson PM, Thompson HS. Antioxidants: what role do they play in physical activity and health? Am J Clin Nutr 2000; 72:637S-46S.
  • Urso ML, Clarkson PM. Oxidative stress, exercise, and antioxidant supplementation. Toxicology 2003; 189:41-54.
  • Jackson MJ. Free radicals in skin and muscle: damaging agents or signals for adaptation? Proc Nutr Soc 1999;58(3):673-6.
  • Alessio H. Exercise-induced oxidative stress. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1993; 25:218-22.
  • Saxton JM, Donnelly AE, Roper HP. Indices of free radical mediated damage following maximum voluntary eccentric and concentric muscular work. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1994; 68:189-93.
  • Thompson D, Williams C, Garcia-Roves P, McGregor SJ, McArdle F, Jackson MJ. Post-exercise vitamin C supplementation and recovery from demanding exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 2003; 89:393-400.
  • Shafat A, Butler P, Jensen RL, Donnelly AE. Effects of dietary supplementation with vitamins C and E on muscle function during and after eccentric contractions in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 2004; 93:196-202.
  • Thompson D, Bailey DM, Hill J, Hurst T, Powell JR, Williams C. Prolonged vitamin C supplementation and recovery from eccentric exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 2004; 92:133-8

Related Entries

Vitamin C and Sport Performance Review

Preventing Colds - 100%

More Energy and Vitality - 100%

Relief for Stomach Discomfort - 99%

Shorten Muscle Recovery - 100%


HSN Evaluation: 5 /5
Content Protection by
About Paloma Sala
Paloma Sala
Paloma Sala is an athlete in continuous training to give the best of herself, who has been practising and competing in athletics for more than 20 years.
Check Also
Benefits of Vitamin D
9 Benefits of Vitamin D

The “Sunshine Vitamin” is one of the best allies for your health. Nevertheless, there are …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.