We have all heard about Vitamin C (A water-soluble vitamin also known as Ascorbic Acid) playing an important role in boosting our immune system by stimulating white blood cell formation, and it’s true. It does! Active people are continuously calling on their immune systems to assist in recovery in between training sessions, during stressful situations and when the flu bug starts circulating the work place. Although, Vitamin C helps with all those things it also has so many other benefits, especially relating to athletic performance that you might not know about! Your body does not naturally produce Vitamin C, making it vital we acquire it though our diet or supplementation.
Here are some of the often-unmentioned benefits of Vitamin C:
Absorption of Iron:
Iron is incredibly important for athletes, it aids in oxygen uptake into muscles and assists in recovery by helping the body with the production of protein and hormones, which in turn builds strength. It plays an important role in our cognitive function, immune system support, preventing anemia and supports growth and development.
Iron exists in two forms within the body: Heme and Non-Heme. Both are derived from food although the source varies. Heme iron is found only in meat, seafood, and poultry, we acquire it from animal proteins only and it is more easily absorbed by the body.
Non-Heme iron (also available in meat) is the only source available in plant proteins, such as: grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, seeds. It is less easily absorbed and can be linked to iron deficiencies, fortunately, Vitamin C is here to help. It has been shown to increase absorption of Non-Heme iron and help oxygen bind to hemoglobin, a process that is crucial for athletes.
Antioxidants (Vitamin C is one) are made available in two different ways. Some can be produced in the body, while others must come from our diet. Their role in the body is to act as security guards, neutralizing Free Radicals (by-products of Oxidative stress) and keeping you healthy, injury free and ready to perform.
Oxidative stress is the imbalance that can occur when your system is subjected to excessive exercise, environmental toxic overload, poor dietary and lifestyle choices or other things that are generally bad for you. The result of this stress are the free radicals mentioned above. Both, Antioxidants and Free Radicals, are present in the body at all times, it’s a natural phenomenon and something we go through every day. The goal is to increase antioxidants (the security guard cells) to combat the damage from Free Radicals.
It is important to note that even though exercise is healthy, it still contributes to oxidative stress. This means active people, like the ones reading this, have to intake more antioxidants in their diet and through supplementation then the average person. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants we are aware of and is highly effective at combatting these Free Radicals.
Repair and Regenerate Tissue:
Vitamin C is a major contributor to collagen formation- the body’s biggest building protein. Collagen is the base for our connective tissue (ligaments, tendons etc.) and skin, nails, hair, teeth etc., it also helps to keep our bones and muscles intact. When you push your muscles beyond their natural limits Collagen is called upon to help repair and regenerate. Vitamin C is essential for creating skin and scar tissues, it also helps with blood vessel creation after an injury and assists in wound healing.
Knowing what we do about the benefits of Vitamin C it’s important we consume it on a regular basis. Foods such as: strawberries, red pepper, kiwi, orange, grapefruit, broccoli, kale, mango and Brussel sprouts all contain high amounts. Because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, try to consume it raw or steamed to avoid losing water in cooking process and of course additional supplementation is beneficial.
So, go grab a bottle of BioSteel’s NEW Vitamin C Chewables!