|Health, performance, longevity: It's all about ROS-management. The age-diffe- rence that's showing in the contemporary evidence pro/against the negative effects of vitamin C + E on exercise induced adapation actually confirms that.|
|Illustration 1: Reactive oxygen specimen can become a problem at both high and low levels. But don't worry, you can use exercise, your diet and (if necessary!) dietary supplements to manage them.|
|Figure 1: Changes in body composition in response to resistance training (RT), anti-oxidant supplementation (C+E) and resistance training + anti-oxidant supplementation (RT+C+E); no sign. differences in strength gains (Bobeuf. 2011)|
Is fat loss the only benefit of soothing the fire?
In view of the fact that reactive oxygen specimen activate both, UCP1 and UCP2, which are the "switches" for mitochondrial energy wasting and thus powerful (up-)regulator fatty acid oxidation and energy expenditure, this seems strange.
|Illustration 2: The fact that the "energy wasting" uncoupling proteins (UCP1 & 2) are controlled by ROS (Mailloux. 2011) and glutathione is a potential explanation for the beneficial effects of anti-oxidants on exercise induced fat loss.|
|Figure 2: Glucose infusion rates and adiponectin before (white) and after (grey) the exercise +/- vitamin C + E intervention in the Ristow study (Ristow. 2009).|
Now increases in insulin sensitivity do not necessarily translate into fat loss. If you think about the PPAR-gamma activating diabetes drugs, there are actually several examples, where the exact opposite is the case. And with stimulants like caffeine the temporary increase in fatty acid oxidation is paid for by decreases in insulin sensitivity (more free fatty acids in the blood ➯ lower insulin sensitivity, but higher fatty acid oxidation). It's thus a real pity that Ristow et al. didn't measure (or report) the changes in body composition and/or rates of fatty acid oxidation at rest and during exercise.
Pro and contra - it's all about cherry picking your "evidence"
But there is more evidence to support my "baseline inflammation hypothesis" and studies supporting the arguments of both, the advocates and opponents of anti-oxidant supplementation for active, inactive, young and old individuals. And what makes the whole issue even more complicated you can find a "pro" and a "contra" study for almost all claims you can make:
- Vitamin C supplementation impairs recovery in the days after a bout of eccentric exercise despite / due to reduced ROS production (Close. 2006); and acute Vitamin C supplementation does not reduce muscle damage or soreness after prolonged intermittent shuttle-running (Thompson. 2001)
- The acute reduction in muscle performance is reduced after eccentric exercise with previous vitamin C & E supplementation (Shafat. 2004)
- Antioxidant supplementation prevents exercise-induced lipid peroxidation, but not inflammation, in ultramarathon runners (Childs. 2001)
- Antioxidants do not prevent postexercise peroxidation and may delay muscle recovery (Teixeira. 2009)
- Supplementation with CoQ10 (ubiquinone) causes cellular damage during intense exercise (Malm. 1996)
- Supplemental CoQ10 boost peak power increases in young elite athletes (Alf. 2013 | learn more)
- Supplementation with vitamin C and N-acetyl-cysteine increases oxidative stress in humans after an acute muscle injury induced by eccentric exercise (Childs. 2001)
- N-acetylcysteine enhances muscle cysteine and glutathione availability and attenuates fatigue during prolonged exercise in endurance-trained individuals (Medved. 2005)
- Alf, D., Schmidt, M. E., & Siebrecht, S. C. (2013). Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo controlled study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 24.
- Bobeuf, F., et al. "Combined effect of antioxidant supplementation and resistance training on oxidative stress markers, muscle and body composition in an elderly population." The journal of nutrition, health & aging 15.10 (2011): 883-889.
- Bouzid, Mohamed Amine, et al. "Changes in Oxidative Stress Markers and Biological Markers of Muscle Injury with Aging at Rest and in Response to an Exhaustive Exercise." PloS one 9.3 (2014): e90420.
- Childs, A., et al. "Supplementation with vitamin C and N-acetyl-cysteine increases oxidative stress in humans after an acute muscle injury induced by eccentric exercise." Free Radical Biology and Medicine 31.6 (2001): 745-753.
- Close, Graeme L., et al. "Ascorbic acid supplementation does not attenuate post-exercise muscle soreness following muscle-damaging exercise but may delay the recovery process." British journal of nutrition 95.05 (2006): 976-981.
- Gomez-Cabrera, Mari-Carmen, et al. "Oral administration of vitamin C decreases muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and hampers training-induced adaptations in endurance performance." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 87.1 (2008): 142-149.
- Ji, Li Li. "Exercise‐induced modulation of antioxidant defense." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 959.1 (2002): 82-92.
- Mailloux, Ryan J., and Mary-Ellen Harper. "Uncoupling proteins and the control of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production." Free Radical Biology and Medicine 51.6 (2011): 1106-1115.
- Paulsen, G, et al. "Vitamin C and E supplementation hampers cellular adaptation to endurance training in humans: a double-blind randomized control trial." Journal of Physiology (February 2014; accepted manuscript).
- Radak, Zsolt, et al. "Oxygen consumption and usage during physical exercise: the balance between oxidative stress and ROS-dependent adaptive signaling." Antioxidants & redox signaling 18.10 (2013): 1208-1246.
- Ristow, Michael, et al. "Antioxidants prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.21 (2009): 8665-8670.
- Shafat, A., et al. "Effects of dietary supplementation with vitamins C and E on muscle function during and after eccentric contractions in humans." European journal of applied physiology 93.1-2 (2004): 196-202.
- Tarr, Peter. "Nobel laureate James Watson publishes novel hypothesis on curing late-stage cancers." Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory - Press Release. Monday, 07 January 2013.
- Teixeira, VITOR H., et al. "Antioxidants do not prevent postexercise peroxidation and may delay muscle recovery." Med Sci Sports Exerc 41.9 (2009): 1752-1760.
- Thompson, D., et al. "Muscle soreness and damage parameters after prolonged intermittent shuttle-running following acute vitamin C supplementation." International journal of sports medicine 22.01 (2001): 68-75.