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Vitamin C and E supplementation may hinder strength training

Vitamin C and E supplementation alters protein signalling after a strength training session, but not muscle growth during 10 weeks of training.

Study under review: Vitamin C and E supplementation alters protein signalling after a strength training session, but not muscle growth during 10 weeks of training

Introduction

Antioxidants are often touted as miracle cure-all compounds, and two of the most commonly supplemented antioxidants, vitamins C and E, are included in a wide array of supplements and multivitamins. Vitamin C supplementation is especially common during the cold season, although evidence suggests this kind of supplementation is mostly beneficial for special populations, like people engaging in extreme physical exercise[1]. However, there is a growing body of evidence showing that vitamin C and E supplementation can negatively affect performance in competitive and recreational athletes alike.

Much of the previous research on antioxidant supplementation and performance involved some type of endurance exercise, where results have suggested that antioxidants may actually negate some of the healthy adaptations to training[2]. Training stresses muscles at a cellular level, involving pathways that utilize free radicals, and bigger and stronger muscles are partially a result of this stress. Because the exact effects of antioxidant supplementation on weight training are largely unknown, a recent trial sought to assess the effects of vitamin C and E supplementation on strength training adaptations in young, healthy individuals.

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The big picture

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Other Articles in Issue #02 (December 2014)