Vitamin C Lowers Cortisol After a Workout
Cortisol is one of the “stress chemicals” secreted by the adrenal glands. A complex and often misunderstood hormone, cortisol is involved in myriad functions of the body such as hunger signals, digestion, blood pressure regulation, sleep/wake patterns and ability to cope with stress. It’s main job is to manage your glucose and store the excess in the liver for later use.
Muscle Building or Muscle Break-Down?
Despite its positive functions, cortisol can be damaging if levels stay elevated too long. Chronically elevated cortisol is related to catabolism, the processes by which tissues in the body are broken down. Ideally your cortisol levels will fall to normal range soon after a workout, but some of us stay sky-high long after the workout has ended. Vitamin C can help lower cortisol after the workout, offsetting it’s detrimental effects. Remember, your muscles aren’t build during a workout, but after the workout when your body is given a chance to rest and rejuvenate.
How Much Do I Take?
Recent studies, summarized in this article, show that taking vitamin C pre- or post-workout can minimize the catabolic stress response and speed recovery. Take 1000-3000mg (1-3g) of vitamin C in divided doses throughout the day, making sure to take 1000mg just before or just after your workout.
Vitamin C has other effects beyond the immune boosting powers most attributed to it. It has “hormone like effects” which means that it acts as a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another. Animal studies also show that Vitamin C may have testosterone raising effects in humans which can be a good thing for building more muscle.
To Your Best Muscle Health!
Cassandra Mick, CNE
Read more about Cassandra’s approach to nutrition or schedule a free Nutriton Strategy Session at www.eatwellpdx.com