When we exercise we metabolize glucose and when this happens reactive oxygen molecules escape and attack all other cells around them. These reactive oxygen compounds damage the bodies tissues. Oxidative damage increases as we age.
Yet our wonderous body has its own defense system and when it doesn't do enough antioxidant, which stop reactive oxygen compounds, may seem like an excellent solution.
Perhaps not according to researchers at the University of Jena in Germany. They tested this idea by giving half of a group young men,who were exercising, moderate doses of vitamins C and E. When they measured sensitivity to oxidative damage they found that the vitamin takers were in worse shape than the group who did not.
It appears the activation of the body’s natural defense mechanism against oxidative damage did not respond.
The reason they suggest is that the vitamins short-circuit the body’s natural response to exercise.
Researchers suggest, “If you exercise to promote health, you shouldn’t take large amounts of antioxidants,” and "that antioxidants in general cause certain effects that inhibit otherwise positive effects of exercise, dieting and other interventions.” The findings appear in this week’s issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The advice does not apply to fruits and vegetables, researchers say; even though they are high in antioxidants, the many other substances they contain presumably outweigh any negative effect.