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Antioxidants Not Helpful! (?)


Phoenix Rising Founder
This is such an interesting subject. Cardiac researchers basically given up on antioxidants in heart disease - a disease characterized by oxidative stress. Several large studies have found that using simple formulations of antioxidants are not helpful and may even worsen the heart disease.

There's been some speculation that those findings were due to throwing relatively high levels of a few antioxidants into a very complex system. Nevertheless my understanding is that heart researchers are now focused on building up the cellular membranes through fatty acid supplementation rather then trying to protect them using antioxidants. Now this study with a more complex antioxidant regime found that they did inhibit the oxidative stresses occurring after exercise and may have even made things worse! (It's a bizarre world). It makes me wonder if you're just better off getting your antioxidants in your diet or through food supplements.

Antioxidants Do Not Prevent Postexercise Peroxidation and May Delay Muscle Recovery.

PURPOSE:: This study aimed to determine the effects of 4 wk of antioxidants (AOX) supplementation on exercise-induced lipid peroxidation, muscle damage, and inflammation in kayakers

METHODS:: Subjects (n = 20) were randomly assigned to receive a placebo (PLA) or an AOX capsule (AOX; 272 mg of alpha-tocopherol, 400 mg of vitamin C, 30 mg of beta-carotene, 2 mg of lutein, 400 mug of selenium, 30 mg of zinc, and 600 mg of magnesium). Blood samples were collected at rest and 15 min after a 1000-m kayak race, both before and after the supplementation period,

The key finding seems to be that creatine kinase - a marker of muscle damage - decreased more quickly in the group that was not taking antioxidants.

Elevation of CK is an indication of damage to muscle. It is therefore indicative of injury, rhabdomyolysis, myocardial infarction, muscular dystrophy, myositis, myocarditis, malignant hyperthermia and neuroleptic malignant syndrome

RESULTS:: With supplementation, plasma alpha-tocopherol (P = 0.003) and beta-carotene (P = 0.007) augmented significantly in the AOX group. IL-6 (exercise, P = 0.039), TBARS (exercise, P < 0.001), and uric acid (exercise, P = 0.032) increased significantly in response to the exercise regardless of treatment group. Cortisol level raised more from pre- to postsupplementation period in the PLA group (time x supplementation, P = 0.002). Although TAS declined after exercise before intervention, it increased above preexercise values after the 4-wk period in the AOX group (supplementation x time x exercise, P = 0.034). CK increased after exercise in both groups (exercise effect, P < 0.001) and decreased from week 0 to week 4 more markedly in the PLA group (supplementation x time, P = 0.049).

CONCLUSIONS:: AOX supplementation does not offer protection against exercise-induced lipid peroxidation and inflammation and may hinder the recovery of muscle damage.