A study conducted by University of Jena in Germany, found that taking antioxidant supplements like vitamin C and E can interfere with the benefits of exercising.
Most popular theory behind effect on exercise on body function is that exercise helps the muscle cells to metabolize.
How? Basically, glucose consists of carbon atoms, which combine with oxygen and release energy. Some of the highly energetic oxygen atoms do not combine with carbon and hence escape. These highly reactive oxygen atoms or compounds are known to damage body tissues. glucose.
How does body take care of the reactive oxygen compounds?
Body has its own defense mechanism and it produces anti-oxidants to fight against the reactive oxygen compounds. And, doing exercise daily can increase oxygen utilization from 10 to 20 times over the resting state. Increase in the generation of free radicals (reactive oxygen compounds), enhances the antioxidant defense system and protects body against exercise induced free radical damage. However, body may not produce sufficient anti-oxidants to fully counteract the amount of free radicals present after exercise.
Why do I need supplements like vitamin C and E?
As we knew till now that antioxidant supplements like vitamin C and E have potential health-promoting properties that reduces the risk of diabetes and cancer. So, these vitamins can help in counteracting the free radicals produced by exercise.
What does the new finding say about supplements like vitamin C and E?
As per new research, preventing diabetes through exercise, which is recommended by all physicians, might be harder when exercisers also take antioxidant supplements like vitamins C and E.
The research was conducted on a limited population of 40 persons. These persons were asked to exercise for 85 minutes a day, five days a week, for four...
weeks. Half of them were asked to take 1000 milligrams of vitamin C and 400 international units of vitamin E per day.
After 4 weeks, researchers found that persons who took vitamin C and E supplements, showed no change in their free radical levels, no activation of the body’s natural defense mechanism against oxidative damage and no improvement in insulin sensitivity.
Whereas those who did not take these supplements , showed increased levels of free radical oxidative stress, activation of the body’s natural defense mechanism against oxidative damage and significant increase in Insulin sensitivity.
The reason, according to researchers that the reactive oxygen compounds inevitable byproducts of exercise, have a natural beneficial effect on body and the consumption of vitamins destroys the reactive oxygen, thereby wipe out body’s natural response to exercise.
Does that mean the supplements like vitamin C and E are bad for me?
Dr. Sarah Aldred, a lecturer in exercise biochemistry at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham, said: “This study doesn’t mean that antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E are bad for us, it just means that sometimes we need to consider whether taking supplements is actually beneficial.
Dr. C. Ronald Kahn of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, a co-author of the report said reactive oxygen is beneficial in small doses, because it touches off the body’s natural defense system, but harmful in higher doses. This would mean, like everything else, excess is bad and consumption of vitamin C and vitamin E in limited quantity can actually help.
What are limitations of the new finding?
Now there is a little complication that antioxidants, which are a necessary component for good health, no one knows how much quantity is actually needed after exercise to have beneficial effect? Another question around the research is why study does not apply to fruits and vegetables, as claimed by Dr. Ristow, a nutritionist at the University of Jena, even though they are high in antioxidants. Probably because, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”.