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Anti-Oxidants Might be Counterproductive for Athletes

Science new reports in For athletes, antioxidant pills may not help performance; Some supplements can blunt the positive effects of exercise training:

...the American College of Sports Medicine estimates that around half of elite athletes take vitamins in hopes of keeping their bodies fit and boosting endurance.

... It’s that American mentality,” says Jay Williams, a professor in the department of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. “If some is good, more is better.”

Except when it might be worse. In a scientific reboot, many newer, more rigorous studies are contradicting decades of previous thinking, finding little support for — if not outright harm from — antioxidant supplements for athletes. Although antioxidants obtained from food appear to do a body good, the colossal doses in supplements may disrupt a cell’s built-in system for coping with oxidative stress. And it appears that muscles under exertion may need a certain level of oxidative beating to adapt and strengthen over time. If the recent research holds up, it means one of the very things athletes commonly do to help their bodies could not only waste money but may even undermine the benefit from those hours of dedication.

Be sure to read the entire article. At best, the research suggest little harm; at worst it suggests a substantial negative.

A healthy diet surely needs little supplementation. Special cases for special reasons always exist, but it makes little sense that carefully chosen foods are somehow inadequate, especially since the body is adaptable an frugal when necessary.


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