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Vitamin C May Reduce Heart Rate and Fatigue When Exercising

Exercise is essential for your health, but working out can be exhausting if you are overweight. A recent study suggests that supplementation with vitamin C may decrease your heart rate and feelings of exertion while exercising.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Arizona State University. Their findings were published online ahead of print on June 7, 2012, in the journal Nutrition.

Twenty individuals with an average age of 35 and an average BMI of 34.4 kg/m2 (which is considered obese) consumed either 500 mg of vitamin C or a placebo daily for 4 weeks. All of the participants were placed on the same calorie-restricted diet.

All of the participants walked on a treadmill for 60 minutes at an intensity of 50% predicted maximal oxygen consumption at week 0 and at week 4. Heart rate, respiratory exchange ratio and Ratings of Perceived Exertion were recorded during the sessions.

Both groups lost 9 pounds and had the same rate of respiration while exercising. However, during the final exercise session, the vitamin C intervention group had an average 11 fewer heart beats per minute compared to the first session. The placebo group had only 3 fewer beats per minute.

The intervention group also had a 10% decrease in the Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE), while the placebo group had a 1% increase. Heart rate is a contributing factor to perceived effort, so the drop in heart beat rate in the vitamin C group could account for the decrease in perceived exertion.

Vitamin C isn't just good for your heart. Previous studies have linked it to immune system function, heart health and improved mood. It can be found in high levels in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens. If you’re having a hard time integrating more of those foods into your diet, consider a high quality supplement.

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