...well then, I think my work on this planet is done! :)
Oh yes... I still have to maintain this blog. And for today's study, I'll talk about a new scientific review that confirms what I wrote in my book: that antioxidants can--in some situations--do more harm than good. If you haven't yet read my book, it's because antioxidants mop up those free-radicals, which are actually incredibly important to our body. For subscribers, you may remember THIS post from about 1.5 years ago where I discuss a study on worms that showed free-radicals can extend lifespan. This new study is along the same line of thought, and also blends into the Exercise Paradox (also discussed in my book).
Previously in 2009, researchers from the US and Germany published a controversial study that said antioxidants may blunt the benefits of exercise. One of those researchers, who is a co-author of this recently released review, told an industry publication during an interview, “The evidence presented in this review suggests that antioxidants have the potential to suppress some exercise training adaptations, and provides little evidence to suggest any positive effects, therefore [we] tend to reject the use of such supplements during training.”
While researching for the review, the two authors narrowed down sources to “studies that have utilized supplements whose primary function is ROS or RNS prevention” (ROS = reactive oxygen species; RNS = reactive nitrogen species). Due to this they didn’t use any studies involving polyphenols and flavonoids with anti-oxidant properties (like resveratrol or EGCG).
The results of their research concludethat taking supplements such as vitamins C and E may hamper the normal skeletal muscle adaptation process. Although these compounds do have their benefits--such as aiding recovery, muscle damage, and reducing fatigue--the negative affects (e.g., reducing angiogenesis, insulin sensitivity, cellular defenses, hypertrophy, and mitochondrial biogenesis) far outweigh the good.
The authors go on to state, that exercise itself is an antioxidant , doing so by regulating endogenous antioxidant defense, and the natural antioxidant effect of exercise is “likely to be one of the mechanisms underlying the health-promoting benefits of regular exercise.”
However, when it comes to antioxidant supplementation, tests have revealed there is no effect on the incidence of disease in humans , sometimes even increasing the chances of disease. “The answer may relate to the types of antioxidants supplemented, which are normally generalized, non-target scavengers of all ROS such as vitamin C and E,” they wrote. I also wrote in my book that although antioxidants can have specific benefits in certain diseased states, in general antioxidants are not the panacea that we once thought they were.
We also know that these antioxidant supplements may help improve performance in physically demanding situations (like a competition), it's just that it hampers and blocks progress and adaptation during training. The researchers also mention this in their review, which would indicate antioxidants DO have a place in an athlete's cupboard, but it's important to understand when and in what situations to administer those supplements.
The researchers state that this “does not preclude the use of antioxidant supplements during competition where performance is the priority and adaptive responses are irrelevant.” The authors cited a 2011 study that noticed how, in general, reports of antioxidants improving performance happened in studies that employed “fatiguing-type exercise and supplementation either immediately before or during exercise, while the adverse effect of antioxidants on performance are more commonly associated with longer duration (several days or longer) supplementation protocols.”
Both researchers conclude that because antioxidant supplementation’s effect on skeletal muscle adaptation is still equivocal, they cannot recommend supplementation to be part of a training program.
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Source: Do antioxidant supplements interfere with skeletal muscle adaptation to exercise training?
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