Vitamin C Enhances Fat Loss

Blog Entry #103

By Admin –

Vitamin C, other known as Ascorbic acid, is one of the most popular and well-researched vitamins of all due to its many health benefits. We have written before about vitamin C and it improving health when using anabolic steroids, and recently how vitamin C can be used to protect the prostate. Vitamin C is a potent anti-oxidant and will help protect us against; immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, cancers and strokes.

Athletes and bodybuilders do supplement vitamin C for its anti-oxidative effects and also to lower catabolic hormones, such as cortisol.  However, not much is said about the fat loss enhancing effects of vitamin C, but research states it can help burn fat, increase stamina and fat burning capacity.

Vitamin C is needed for proper fat metabolism and is used when the body synthesis’s L-carnitine. L-carnitine is an amino acid used when the body wants to burn fatty acids during times of exercise. With 20% of American adults not getting enough vitamin C, it may explain the reason why obesity is high with many adults finding it hard to shift their excess fat.

Today we’re going to look at a June 2005 study by nutritionist Carol Johnston, on how vitamin C intake helped increase fat metabolism [1].

Johnston told her subjects to consume a low vitamin C diet for four weeks. So that’s low amounts of citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, pineapple and broccoli. At the end of the four weeks Johnston tested their stamina and fat-burning capacity. The subjects were put on a treadmill for 60 minutes and performance recorded.

After the data was collected the subjected were given 500mg vitamin C supplementation per day for another four weeks. Again, the subject’s performance was recorded on the treadmill.

The figure below shows what happened during that hour when the subjects had a vitamin C shortage (depleted) and when this shortage had been replenished (repleted).







The amount of fat the subjects burnt whilst on the treadmill was also recorded, showing an improvement in fat burning when intake of vitamin C was increased.











A second older 1985 study, confirms increasing vitamin C intake burns more fat than a control [2]. Two groups were put on the same weight-loss diet and given either 3g vitamin C or placebo per day. The subjects in the vitamin C group lost 2.5kg in six weeks, whilst the placebo group lost 1kg on the same diet.

The researchers conclude, “The weight loss during the trial was small in both groups but was significantly greater in the ascorbic acid treated group.”

We suggest supplementing vitamin C due to its anti-oxidant effects, both as an athlete, bodybuilder or for general health. Athletes should use vitamin C at 1g pre-workout and 1-2g post-workout to reduce cortisol. Vitamin C is cheap and easily obtainable online or in retailers.


[1]. J Am Coll Nut. 2005 Jun;24(3):158-65.

[2]. Nutr Health. 1985;4(1):25-8.