Should you take vitamin C after exercise?
Have you ever been exercising, just finishing a jog on a crisp fall day admiring the leaves perhaps, when you get a sore throat or a cough? Even if you don’t have asthma, it can feel like your throat is shrinking, making it difficult and uncomfortable to breathe. This may be a result of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, and new research has found that our old friend, vitamin C, may be just the thing to reduce its effects.
A new type of nutrient timing?
Olumia Life recommends taking only a limited number of proven supplements to aid in your diet and workouts, such as fish oil, for example. Taking fish oil may be important for most every day, or at least when your meals lack the omega-3 fatty acids you need, but multivitamins are not nearly what the adverts would have you believe. With a healthy diet, you really don’t need all that stuff.
Other supplements, like whey protein, can be used anytime and can also be used before or after workouts to help you improve your performance and results. Vitamin C is often thought of as a pill you might want to take every day, but a study by researchers in Finland has found that vitamin C supplements are really something to take just after a workout, not as a substitute for the healthy foods that contain it.
Vitamin C and exhalation
Scientists at the University of Helsinki conducted a meta-analysis of other studies to come to various conclusions about what taking vitamin C after a workout can do for exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Their work was published in the journal of Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.
FEV1 stands for “forced expiratory volume in 1 second.” In regular English, it means how much you can exhale in one second after fully breathing in. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction inhibits this score, meaning we can’t breathe out as much air as we want. By comparing the FEV1 of subjects taking vitamin C after workouts to those who didn’t, scientists could see if the vitamin has any effect.
They found that vitamin C taken after physical activity was able to lower the severity, length and likelihood of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction by as much as 50%.
Why vitamin C?
Vitamin C has a wide array of functions in our bodies. It’s an essential nutrient after all. In this case, the possible reasons why vitamin C helps after workouts may be it role in producing various compounds in the body that inhibit breathing problems.
This isn’t a set-in-stone application of vitamin C, though. It’s a new discovery, so exactly whether you should try it is up to you. Since a little extra vitamin C isn’t going to hurt you, it’s cheap and convenient, it’s worth trying if you experience any trouble breathing after working out. In these studies, subjects took between .5 and 2 grams of vitamin C.
According to Harri Hemila, MD, PhD, a member of the study, “…it seems reasonable for physically active people to test whether vitamin C is beneficial on an individual basis, if they have documented exercise-induced bronchoconstriction or suffer from respiratory symptoms such as cough or sore throat after taking vigorous exercise.”
Originally published at olumialife.com on January 15, 2015.