Vitamins A and C are among the most underutilized anabolic fire starters. Not only do they assist in igniting a variety of anabolic processes, but they also help make and sustain many of the physiological chemicals needed for what could be referred to as your anabolic equilibrium and/or your anabolic drive.
Vitamin C and the cortisol connection. Known as the master nutrient, vitamin C is water-soluble and not stored in the body. Emerging studies have shown that it can significantly reduce muscle soreness and enhance your recovery time after a workout in doses of 1,000 milligrams.
C also plays a key role in easing the negative effects of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been shown to accelerate muscle wasting. In stressful situations cortisol forces the body to break down muscle to supply extra fuel to cope. Even exercise-induced stress can increase cortisol and destroy muscle tissue. You make tons of cortisol during your intense training, so controlling or minimizing its effects should be a top priority. To add insult to injury, elevated cortisol is also associated with causing the following:
• Decreased testosterone
• Insulin resistance
• Elevated blood sugar
• Increased bodyfat
• The destruction of tendons and ligaments
• Accelerated bone loss
• Shrinkage of brain cells
Simply put, elevated cortisol is not a catabolic fender bender; it’s a multicar pileup!
Bottom line: Take vitamin C every day—as if your potential to stay in a state of anabolic equilibrium depends on it.
C’s other anabolic actions. This vitamin also plays a key role in building collagen, the most abundant connective tissue in the body. Collagen assists in healing joints, dings and other injuries, another reason vitamin C is critical to accelerating recovery.
Furthermore, vitamin C has powerful antioxidant capabilities that can protect your muscles from damage that could inhibit you from reaching your full growth potential. It’s also involved in the production and distribution of steroid hormones throughout the body, a fact that isn’t highly publicized.
Suggested dose: 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams spread throughout the day.
Vitamin A and the testosterone connection. Researchers now know that vitamin A in the testes increases testosterone secretions and a number of anabolic growth factors, including a protein known as steroidogenic acute regulatory protein. It helps transport cholesterol into the mitochondria—the power plants, or energy factories of the cells, where fat is burned.
Vitamin A also works as an aromatizing agent in the testes, reducing the formation of estrogen, and so increasing circulating levels of testosterone.
Suggested dose: 5,000 to 10,000 international units per day