Exercise Stress: The Effects of Antioxidants

Antioxidants may have significant benefits to athletes. Exercise is a form of stress, and the detrimental effects of exercise, at least in the short term, may be a significant increase in the generation of free radicals and oxidative stress. This oxidative stress may in turn have other physiological effects that include hormonal changes. Studies have investigated the effects of antioxidants in exercising athletes. For example in one study, researchers administered an antioxidant supplement, comprising 600 mg α-tocopherol, 1000 mg ascorbic acid and 32 mg β-carotene to healthy adults and then exposed them to their habitual training. The supplement caused significant increases in levels of α-tocopherol and β-carotene in the athletes, and this was associated with a significant reduction in oxidative stress. In addition, the anabolic to catabolic ratio of the athletes improved suggesting that the supplements had significantly improved the muscle building properties of the athletes.  

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Schröder, H., Navarro, E., Mora, J., Galiano, D. and Tramullas, A. 2001. Effects of α-tocopherol, β-carotene and ascorbic acid on oxidative, hormonal and enzymatic exercise stress markers in habitual training activity of professional basketball players. European Journal of Nutrition. 40(4): 178-184

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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