Start with vitamin C, known as the master nutrient. It’s water-soluble. Several studies have shown that dosages of 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C can significantly reduce muscle soreness and enhance your recovery after a workout. Many sports and exercise physiologists maintain that C’s critical importance is misunderstood and certainly underutilized in the bodybuilding community. That can hinder your ability to achieve a state of anabolic tranquillity.
Vitamin C plays a key role in building collagen, the most abundant connective tissue in your body. Collagen gives your body form and supports other organs as well. It’s essentially the glue that holds your muscles to your skeleton and your skin to your muscles.
Research supports the notion that poor bone strength is related to a loss of collagen in and around the bone matrix. Collagen assists in healing sprained joints, bones, cuts, strains and other injuries. That’s why vitamin C is critical to accelerating your recovery. Furthermore, vitamin C has powerful antioxidant capabilities, protecting muscle cells from damage, that enhance your growth potential. It’s also involved with the construction and distribution of steroid hormones throughout your body.
Like the Great Depression of 1929, when money supplies and the American economy collapsed, natural biological shortages of vitamin C wreak havoc on your muscle tissue. Because it’s one of the most water-soluble nutrients, it quickly dissipates when it enters the body, breaking up and scattering within a watery environment. The more muscular you become, the more water your muscle cells are composed of. Consequently, diminishing levels of that vital anabolic nutrient can occur rapidly. In practical terms, you as a bodybuilder need to replenish your vitamin C several times a day—more than a nonbodybuilder or sedentary person.
The Cortisol Connection
Vitamin C regulates the effects of cortisol, known as the death hormone because of its ability to accelerate muscle wasting and atrophy. Although in stressful situations cortisol helps you meet the stress head on by increasing the levels of fat and sugar in the bloodstream and supplying added fuel to the brain and muscles, it also readily destroys muscle tissue.
Visualize the intense sparks flying as the engineer of a train tries to slow down a speeding locomotive. Compare that to the destruction and tearing of all the muscle tissue you work so hard to attain. When elevated levels of this stuff linger in the body, that’s what’s going on. Paradoxically, you generate tons of cortisol during intense training, so controlling or minimizing its effects should be high on your list.
Elevated cortisol levels cause much more than muscle wasting. They also cause:
1) Decreased testosterone
2) Insulin resistance
3) Increased blood sugar
4) Increased bodyfat
5) Breakdown of muscles, tendons and ligaments
6) Accelerated bone breakdown
7) Shrinkage of brain cells
Because cortisol is your worst nightmare, take your vitamin C every day.