Who should take vitamin supplements?
A sedentary person may not need extra vitamin supplements if he or she eats well-calculated, healthy and small meals. But, the meals should provide all macro nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat) and micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals), based on his or her calorific requirement and lifestyle. However, it’s totally a different story for sportspersons and bodybuilders.
According to researcher Jose Antonio, PhD, persons who train hard need extra Vitamin C and E. Scientists at the University of Turku, Finland, had 17 endurance athletes perform maximal run, running as fast as possible for 10.5 km. Using specific blood tests, they measured the stress caused by generation of free radicals (oxidative stress). Excess free radicals can damage cells and lead to heart disease and cancer. The scientists repeated the test twice — without giving Vitamin C supplement and after giving 2 gm of Vitamin C supplement. The test subjects who took the supplement showed 11 per cent decrease in oxidative stress. This proved that supplemental Vitamin C was necessary for quick recovery.
Taking Vitamin C before weight training was also helpful in reducing post-workout soreness in the muscle.
Another study conducted with Dutch cyclists, studied the effects of regular intake of 500 mg of Vitamin C and 100 mg of Vitamin E for 15 weeks on lung function in response to ozone exposure. The test subjects who took the supplements showed a decrease in “forced vital capacity” (amount of air a person can expel maximally after breathing in fully) of 42 ml vs. a decrease of 125 ml in the placebo group.
Researchers concluded that Reference Daily Intake values of 60 mg of Vitamin C and 20 mg (30 IU) of Vitamin E were insufficient for persons who were into hard physical training. Sportspersons, including bodybuilders, would need between 500 and 2,000 mg of Vitamin C every day (split and taken along with 4 or 5 small meals) and about 400 IU of Vitamin E taken with post-workout meal.
_ C. Lakshmi Kumar