T Nation

Vitamin C


I keep reading, and I found a bunch of contradicting (at least according to my interpretation) opinions about vitamin C. I am on a fat loss phase (30 lb down, 10ish to go), and I want to understand if my vit C supplementation is in the right direction. I take 1g every night, assuming it will combat the cortisol produced during the sleep fast.

The two opinions I hear are:
1. If you do not take vitamin C after training hard, cortisol levels skyrocket, you will break down muscle and put on bellyfat. A few trainers (CT etc) recommend a couple of grams PWO. A few say antioxidants affect insulin response, take a few grams but not peri workout. So, before sleeping seemed like the right time.

  1. The Intermittent Fasting camp - Cortisol is unfairly vilified, you need it to break down any tissue - fat or muscle. Fucking around with cortisol may cause you to not lose fat. In fact, the IF theory relies on the elevated cortisol levels from fasting to break down fat.

I realize that vitamin C has a bunch of other benefits such as immune system support etc. And also heard about people warning about "rebound scurvy" on the T-Nation forums.

So, to wind it up, if I can just keep doing what I am and make more progress by taking/not taking one small pill, I want to know about it.

What do you guys suggest?



1) Can be combated with pre-workout nutrition

2) Is correct. Cortisol is very important and ONLY becomes a problem when chronically elevated. Cortisol release from exercise will not harm you in any way, shape or form so long as it doesn't stay elevated for long periods of time (and i'm talking about weeks here, not just simply a few hours). Again, this can be reduced with pre-workout nutrition.

Also, vit c lowers cortisol only mildly. if you want a compound that does the job better, fish oil or phosphatidylserine are better.


CT has modified his recommendations recently. I believe (last I read -- about 3 months ago maybe) that his stance is to NOT take Vit C around the workout time. Many ppl still do take vit C periworkout, but there is no good reason to do this IMHO based on reviewing the science -- even though science is not the same thing as real world results, this is area has been studied extensively and many studies have been performed with weight trained individuals. Perhaps vit C is appropriate in some applications, but IMO, not in the majority.


Do you really think vitamin C is your problem?


Did you even read my post? I never said there was a problem. It was a discussion.


So, when do you take your vitamin C? And how much?
Thanks for the info.


Dude you're 156 lbs, what are you worrying about something so minuscule as vitamin c? Especially when (you said yourself) the data is contradicting. You'll never notice a difference.


From http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/the_top_10_post_workout_nutrition_myths (Related to vitamin C and recovery)

From http://www.precisionnutrition.com/postworkout-antioxidants (Insulin sensitivity)

On a personal note, I take 500 mg daily (no particular time frame) mostly based off of recommendations from this website: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/


From what I gathered vitamin C can screw up your training if you take it post workout or if you take too much. I think it's a case where you want to avoid extremes. I've also read too much calcium is bad but the right amount helps with fat loss.


I personally don't take any vitamin C as a standalone product. I get some in my multi though. I don't really worry about it beyond that.


Some years Dr. Whitaker gave away a pamphlet with subscribtion renewals that was about having good sex forever. One of the things he said was that men eating grease(french fries, chips, grease sponges) and said that Vitamin C, 3 grams a day would help keep arteries, veins and theose important capillaries that get blood to your penis opan and working. Well I have been taking 3 grms a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner for 15 or so years. At a recent study of my neck arteries there was ZERO BLOCKAGE. I do not need a double blind study. 3 grams of C a day is just plain smart.


You're 100% sure that vitamin C is responsible for your lack of atherosclerosis based on that pamphlet, no further investigations required?

People who tout idiocy with confidence make me all kinds of upset.