L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C): an all-rounder for better metabolism
General information about L-ascorbic acid
L-ascorbic acid is the scientific name for vitamin C, which is one of the water-soluble vitamins.
Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, the body cannot produce and store this vitamin group on its own. Unlike almost all animals and plants that have the ability to produce vitamin C by enzyme degradation itself. Instead, we need to consume it through food sources because we need L-ascorbic acid or vitamin C for our organism.
The name ascorbic acid can be derived from the expression “anti-scorbutic acid”. Scurvy was a widespread seafarer’s disease that occurred primarily when sailors at sea did not eat citrus fruits for long periods of time, resulting in vitamin C deficiency. Ascorbin can therefore be roughly translated as “without scurvy”.
Natural vitamin C is referred to as L-ascorbic acid, where ascorbic acid (alone) indicates an artificial vitamin that must be produced in laboratories and is not naturally occurring. Here, the “L” stands for the specific 3D structure that represents the chemical formula.
L-ascorbic acid/vitamin C: functions and tasks
L-ascorbic acid or vitamin C has many different functions and tasks:
For athletes, it is particularly relevant that vitamin C binds free radicals in the body and prevents oxidative stress (excess of free radicals) can counteract.
If free radicals are not or insufficiently combated, damage such as inflammation can occur and also symptoms of fatigue (especially in muscles).
In addition, L-ascorbic acid plays an important role in metabolism and strengthens the immune system.
In the event of an infection, therefore, people often turn to vitamin C, as a natural occurrence in foods such as lemons, as a dietary supplement or in medications. Lemons have a particularly high vitamin C content, 53 mg in 100 g, and are therefore considered especially suitable.
For athletes, an infection means a break in training and can get in the way of improving performance. It becomes even more critical when an infection occurs shortly before a competition.
Studies in which schoolchildren at a ski camp in the Swiss Alps, a trained military troop in northern Canada, and participants in a 90-km race were among the subjects reached the following conclusion:
Vitamin C supplementation may be beneficial for those who complete an intense session and have frequent problems with upper respiratory infections.
From these three studies, it can be concluded that athletes can significantly reduce the risk of infection by taking L-ascorbic acid regularly and additionally after a competition. These results are particularly interesting for marathon runners and cross-country skiers who engage in intensive and endurance training sessions and competitions.
Vitamin C also plays an essential role in the body’s production of collagen, a type of protein needed by various tissues. Among them skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, bones and cartilage. L-ascorbic acid is also responsible for the process of tissue growth and repair.
How important vitamins are for athletes in general, you can also read in this article read.
L-ascorbic acid/vitamin C in foods
By nature, most fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C:
- Berry fruits
- Brussels sprouts
- Cantaloup melon
- Leafy vegetables
How much vitamin C a day should I take?
Basically, it can be said that the need for vitamins can usually be well covered by a balanced diet with natural foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Nevertheless, factors such as sports exposure and stress should be taken into account. As an athlete, it can be useful, e.g. through the use of natural sports food, to exceed the recommended daily requirement according to the DGE (German Nutrition Society) of 95 (women) to 110 (men) milligrams to 150 to 200 milligrams. to increase.
However, athletes should be careful with high doses of isolated antioxidants as in capsules: Because free radicals are not only bad for the body. In low concentrations, they can be useful because they are responsible for the all-important adaptive processes in response to training.
According to a study by Andrea J. Braakhuis, L-ascorbic acid or vitamin C (provided, for example, by five servings of fruits and vegetables daily) can reduce oxidative stress in small doses of 0.2 to 1 g per day – not exceeding the threshold that impairs optimal exercise adaptation.
A short-term supplemental vitamin C intake – over one to two weeks – of over 200 mg / day may well benefit athletes during periods of increased stress. In contrast, high doses (above 1 g/day) appear to impair exercise-induced adaptations by reducing mitochondrial biogenesis or may alter vascular function.
Other studies, such as those by Balz Frei, Ines Birlouez and Jens Lykkesfeld, confirm the assumption that for athletes up to 200 mg / day of vitamin C can be useful to benefit from the advantages during extra stress.
Both a deficiency and an excess of L-ascorbic acid or vitamin C over a long period of time can have negative consequences:
Deficiency: symptoms and consequences
Excess: symptoms and consequences
How much vitamin C per day is useful should therefore be decided individually and adapted to one’s own needs. No adverse side effects were observed at higher doses over a short period of time. It becomes a matter of concern when megadoses become the order of the day.
So the dosage should always be discussed in advance with a doctor and / or nutrition expert.
As mentioned: As an athlete, you can increase your vitamin C content completely safely by relying on natural sports foods. A high real fruit content, as is common with “MoN Sports”, guarantees you an additional vitamin C supply without possible negative effects.