As recently as just a decade ago, it was considered right and proper to add vitamin and mineral supplements to most nutritional plans. The use of anti-oxidants like vitamin C or vitamin E made sense. As the body ages it creates free radicals. These byproducts seemed to be causing destruction at the cellular level.
Consequently, if there were compounds introducing too much deleterious oxygen, one considered removing these free radicals. Thus the push to introduce anti-oxidants into the consumers field of vision. Today, several studies now seem to suggest the use of vitamin C supplements or E, and others may in fact reduce the positive effects of exercise on the body.
To be certain, none of the recent reports indicate that regular ingestion of small doses of anti-oxidants is specifically harmful to the body. However, when combined with a regular exercise regimen, it seems the removal of free radicals actually reverses some of the reason why people exercise.
One set of findings indicates that while free radicals do hasten the death of cells in the body, apparently they perform dual roles. Without these substances cells seem to have a more difficult time repairing themselves. Exercise causes damage to the cells and the availability of free radicals at that time provides a means of conveying cells the ability to fix themselves. Exactly how this works is yet unknown.
What is known, as a result of some studies is the more effective the anti-oxidant therapy is, the lower the number of cell friendly free radicals. Thus the positive effects of exercise are reduced by taking vitamins like C or E.
Another challenging finding deals with insulin resistance. It seems that along with fighting off free radicals, anti-oxidants also cause the body to lower its insulin resistance, a much touted symptom associated with performing exercise. Participants who exercised regularly and did not use additional forms of anti-oxidants had higher levels of insulin resistance.
Health practitioners, doctors, and exercise enthusiasts will all tell you in order to feel better, have more energy, etc., one should actively engage in a health and fitness regime by either going to the Gym, using a home Gym or frequenting exercise classes. Apparently there is scientific reasons why this is so. The physical stress which exercise creates in the body is counteracted with the manufacture of mitochondria, or energy producing factories.
The number of mitochondria in ones body directly affects fatigue and endurance. As fate would have it, for whatever reason, vitamin C reduces the amount of mitochondria in the body. Again, this directly contradicts the desired effects one hopes to produce by participating in exercise.
Even some of the older studies whose results have been reinterpreted based upon new findings show that Vitamin C and exercise may not necessarily go hand in hand. One such report compared regularly athletic individuals to otherwise sedentary participants. The results of engaging both groups in the same levels of exercise and physical stress showed no increase in the participants bodies requirements for anti-oxidants like vitamin C.
It might be wise to consider whether increasing ones intake of vitamin and mineral supplements specifically marketed for anti-oxidant purposes is the best choice to add to an exercise plan. If true, and most of the studies seem to point towards similar conclusions, ingestion of extra anti-oxidant vitamins may require additional levels of exercise in order to gain the desired results that exercise alone might provide.