Effect of vitamin C supplements on physical performance

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2012 Jul-Aug;11(4):180-4. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31825e19cd.


Vitamin C is an essential component of the diet and may reduce the adverse effects of exercise-induced reactive oxygen species, including muscle damage, immune dysfunction, and fatigue. However, reactive oxygen species may mediate beneficial training adaptations that vitamin C attenuates; indeed, from a total of 12 studies, vitamin C in doses >1 g·d(-1) impaired sport performance substantially in four of four studies, possibly by reducing mitochondrial biogenesis, while a further four studies demonstrated impairments that were not statistically significant. Doses of ∼0.2 g·d(-1) of vitamin C consumed through five or more servings of fruit and vegetables may be sufficient to reduce oxidative stress and provide other health benefits without impairing training adaptations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*


  • Ascorbic Acid