Breathe Better with This Workout-Friendly Vitamin

For many of us looking to stay fit, exercise-induced asthma can be both an annoyance and a deterrent. It can make breathing difficult, and may even lead to wheezing, coughing, and bronchoconstriction. Thankfully, there’s a simple way to keep those symptoms at bay — and you’ll find it right in your vitamin aisle.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered that vitamin C can significantly reduce bronchoconstriction caused by exercise. But that’s not all — this essential nutrient has a host of health benefits that make it a necessary part of any daily wellness routine.

Vitamin C and Exercise-Induced Asthma

In the University of Helsinki study, the researchers carried out a meta-analysis of three randomized, placebo-controlled trials that examined the effect of vitamin C on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. Each of the trials found that this powerful antioxidant improved forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), a measurement of lung function. In fact, the pooled estimate of vitamin C’s effect on FEV1 indicated a 48% reduction in the decline caused by exercise.

So, how does vitamin C help improve breathing during exercise? It’s thought that the antioxidant properties of the vitamin help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the airways, which in turn helps open up the breathing passages.

Other Health Benefits of Vitamin C

While vitamin C’s ability to alleviate exercise-induced bronchoconstriction is certainly impressive, this essential nutrient contributes in many other ways to overall well-being:

  1. Boosts immunity: Vitamin C is known for its immune-boosting properties. It helps strengthen the body’s natural defenses by encouraging the production of white blood cells, which play a crucial role in fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria.

  2. Promotes healthy skin and tissue repair: As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect skin cells from damage caused by free radicals and UV radiation. By stimulating collagen production, it also keeps our skin, bones, and connective tissues healthy and strong.

  3. Supports heart health: Several studies have shown an association between high vitamin C intake and a lower risk of heart disease. The nutrient helps lower blood pressure, protect arterial walls, and reduce inflammation, which are all key factors in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.

  4. Improves iron absorption: Vitamin C boosts iron absorption in the body, particularly plant-based iron sources, which can be less readily absorbed. This can be particularly important for vegetarians and vegans who may have a harder time getting enough iron from their diets.

How to Get More Vitamin C

Now that you know the many benefits of vitamin C, you may be wondering how to incorporate more of it into your daily routine. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re getting enough:

  • Eat a colorful diet: Fruits and vegetables are the most potent sources of vitamin C. Prioritize colorful options like oranges, kiwifruit, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli to ensure you’re getting a daily dose of this essential nutrient.
  • Take a supplement: If you’re worried about not getting enough vitamin C through your diet alone, consider a daily supplement. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adult men is 90 mg per day, while for adult women it’s 75 mg. Keep in mind that these values are just the minimum to avoid deficiencies, so more may be needed to fully experience the health benefits — just don’t exceed the Upper Tolerable Intake Level of 2,000 mg per day, as high doses can cause digestive issues.

  • **Support your body during times of stress: ** During times of stress or illness, your body may require more vitamin C to help support your immune system. Consider increasing your daily intake during these times to help your body stay healthy and resilient.

Vitamin C is a powerhouse nutrient with a wide range of health benefits, from breathing support to immune system enhancement and more. By incorporating more of this essential nutrient into your diet, you’ll not only help improve your exercise experience but also ensure overall well-being. So the next time you hit the gym, make sure you’re stocked up on this vital vitamin.