The Athlete-Antioxidant Debate

Posted by on 3/25/2015 to Health Tips
Some studies have been conducted to determine whether taking vitamin C and E supplements can help prevent what is known as lipid oxidization, a biological process that results in free radicals. Free radicals are positively charged chemicals in our bodies that rob electrons from our healthy cells. They are often formed while the body consumes oxygen during intense exercise.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in most citrus fruits and can also be taken as a dietary supplement. It has been widely accepted as a preventative measure against colds and flu, and more recently, research has shown to possess effective anti-inflammatory properties as well. The aronia berry, also known as the “superberry” contains high levels of both vitamin C and E, and is also a good source of iron and beta-carotene.

While vitamin C and E are great for preventing cellular breakdown, it is debatable whether they help increase athletic performance, prevent muscle fatigue or cell damage. In a study that tested the effects of vitamin C and E on lipid oxidation in ultra-marathon runners, those who took vitamin E supplements for six weeks had lower levels of lipid oxidation at the end of a 50K race than those who did not. But there was no significant difference for those runners who supplemented with vitamin C.

During a race, marathon runners have high levels of whole body oxygen consumption at the cellular level and tend to exhibit symptoms similar to heart attacks, strokes, and other medical conditions. A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while supplementing with vitamin E and C showed while there was no significant difference in levels of high-performance athletes, lower levels of lipid oxidation occurred during normal exercise.

Most high-performance athletes are on special diets and have very specific dietary needs. If you’re just looking to go for a run to stay healthy, reduce your lipid oxidation levels by adding foods high in antioxidants like the aronia berry to your diet.