T Nation

Vitamins Found to Curb Exercise Benefits?


could really use an expert's view on this:


Well first off the article was written by a writer and not a scientist, anything like that shouldn't be taken at face value. looking at it from the scientific research side anything that gives such unexpected results must be tested again to say anything conclusively.

then again if there is any worry just throw out the vitamins and grab some fruits and veggies or some Superfood, which will do more then the vitamins anyway.


There was not even an attempt to test outcome as to whether the exercise yielded better, worse, or the same results -- in terms of any goal anyone exercises for.


....limited subjects....39 total...small group....also there are alot more vitamins/minerals than c and e....those are the ones they used....see how shit gets all contorted? c and e are commonly used to address free radicals...yeah....something for free holms.....they are a result of intense exercise....but the study is regarding insulin resistance....so...if you dont any insulin issues (diabetic)....then i wouldnt concern myself...nail the free radicals....i mean afterall they are FREE holms.

of...if that doenst work for you stop exercising and keep taking c & e. heh.


I think this is what i'll do. exercise was fun while it lasted. so long T-Nation.


I noticed that too. they tested indicators, not results.


There is nothing wrong with the way the study was designed imo. here's the abstract. Scary:

PS this news was in the thread "Exercise & the Antioxidant Network" yesterday :stuck_out_tongue: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/diet_performance_nutrition_supplements/exercise_the_antioxidant_network



Were you even weight training for the purpose of increasing insulin sensitivity in the first place?

Second, do you know that their idea of weight training corresponded to your idea of weight training?

Do you know what their training protocol was?

Might it be that actually training like a man might place much more demands on the system than their training protocol?

Do you know that they did weight training at all?

Do you know if they provided Vitamin E in a proper form, or in an idiotic way such as dl-alpha tocopherol?

Lacking these, as bare minimums, it's unwarranted to call this "scary."

From the practical standpoint, Vitamins E and C have been around a long time. Most weight trainers already get at least this much Vitamin E from supplements. Many take this much Vitamin C. Where are the problems, if they actually have scary effects? How scary can it be, that no one notices it?


I think there's research (and even a few products, like x-factor) are based on the idea that pro-oxidant activities are anabolic...and some recent news indicates pro-oxidant activity is important for insulin sensitivity, which is the topic of this thread. So for antioxidants - I think it's ok to say you can get too much of a good thing.

For most nutrients that fall in that category ("too much of a good thing"), the bodybuilding community is pretty good about providing control theories. Take high GI carbs: probably a good idea in the perioworkout period, probably not a good idea elsewhere. Nobody is saying to ingest zero, and nobody is saying to ingest them all the time. Instead, there's a control theory about when to take them and when not. You can debate it, but it's a good starting point.

Bill writes, "Scary? Were you even weight training for the purpose of increasing insulin sensitivity in the first place?" Well, I think it would be highly odd that ANY exercise protocol would not increase insulin sensitivity in untrained healthy individuals. In this sense, I'd think it's like a measure of fitness. It's like saying, "WE took healthy untrained individuals, trained them, and their fitness level didn't increase." Yes, that would be a puzzle.

The scientists are not idiots. I think an idea like "take as many vitamins and antioxidants as you can" is probably the idea that doesn't work.

I think the best thing we can do is think of "when and how and how much" to take antioxidants, realizing now that while there are great benefits to antioxidants, there are downsides too.


Hmm, then why jump to conclusions far beyond what they stated their conclusions to be? Their conclusion was "may preclude" not "does preclude."

The "may" means that they don't think this proves a general argument, it simply means that the particular evidence allows that it may be the case.

Also, who said they were idiots?

The objections raised were to extrapolations being made on this board. And nowhere was it said that the extrapolations were idiocy, but rather simply going further than what was shown.

But turning arguments into things people did not say, and then showing those things to be ridiculous, is always a good technique. Kudos.

Well, again turn it into something nobody was saying and then there you have it...


Yes, among other things

Yes. See below.

What's the reason somebody should be taking antioxidants when they exercise? supposedly to reduce the free radicals, right?


Training seemed as much as if not more than what many people do. It consisted of 4 weeks, 5 sessions per week (20 sessions total) and was supervised and consisted of:

Cario: 20 min of biking or running,
Weights: 45 min of circuit training, and 20 min periods for warming up and cooling down

Seems like an adequate training protocol to medeiate an increase in parameters of fitness, including insulin sensitivity and antioxidant defense.

The results of the study showed:

Unsupplemented group - increases in the tested parameters of fitness

Supplemented group - no increases in the tested parameters of fitness

Vit. E: d-alpha tocopherol 400 iu was used
Vit. C: ascorbic acid 500 mg

Well there you have it.


Btw, full study available for free here: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/05/11/0903485106.full.pdf+html?sid=de19a468-4204-40da-be1a-89e9225eb786


1) I'm surprised but don't deny that your purpose for training, or one of the main purposes, is increased insulin sensitivity. I venture to say that's not the purpose for most here.

2) I don't know how you know what their training protocol was like: the article gave far too bare-bones a description. You're the only one to even use the word "weights": they stated only 45 minutes of "circuit training." Who knows what was done. How you know that their idea of weight training -- if it was even a weights circuit, more likely it was machines -- was anything like what we would consider serious weight training.

3) Yes, you did find out how they supplied Vitamin E: in a wrong way. No food provides Vitamin E as nothing but alpha-tocopherol and neither should any Vitamin E supplement.

I don't know that that had anything to do with the outcome, but the findings certainly should not be extended to antioxidants in general, but only to their particular poor choice; and not to exercise in general, but to whatever it was that they did, which is still unclear.


I would have designed the study much differently myself. There's not really a debate about the limitations of the study, or the design flaws. There will be more studies coming out soon to refute or support this, so until that time I guess we'll be left guessing.


PS Don't make me get all Bill Roberts on you for adding the word "main" in front of "purpose" in point one above. Not to be an ass, but I did not say it was a main purpose. I said that it was one purpose among other purposes.


Please re-read: I wrote purpose or one of the main purposes. Not "the" main purpose.

If it was not a main purpose, but a trivial or very secondary purpose then why do you find it "scary" that under their conditions, it wasn't met?

Anyway, I didn't write what you accuse me of in the last post. Nowhere did I write main purpose in the singular, as you had it that I did, but rather "one of the main purposes" which is not what you represented.


I was taking vit C after training in an attempt to reduce cortisol, I think this study is sufficient to stop me doing that until I hear otherwise.


Well, if you want to extrapolate findings to conditions different than what was actually looked at, that's your business.

However it's extremely bad science to assume research shows things that in fact were not shown, e.g., that conditions quite different than what were tested would yield the same outcomes.

It's also extremely bad science to assume that changes in given measured parameters must or probably have overall effects you fear from them, lacking proof that that must be the case.

However, if you want to do all that and completely ignore that weightlifters have been using Vitamin C for decades with no noticeable downside, that's your business entirely.

I do find it particularly odd though that you now fear taking it POST-workout, when the effect in question has to do with supplementation providing anti-oxidant effect DURING workout. But again, it's your prerogative.


Quasi: You can't justifiably extrapolate the findings from the study to the condition you refer to (desire to keep cortisol in check)

Bill Roberts: Did the study really say when the supplementation was provided? I didn't see when the timing of the supplementation was listed. The study seems to conclude that "daily ingestion of the commonly
used antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E.. blocks many of the beneficial effects of exercise
on metabolism." (at the end of the first paragraph in the dicussion section)


, perhaps those decades of effort could have culminated in greater results had the mechanisms been understood at the time. Personally I think we owe it to ourselves and the generations of lifters that follow us to fully understand this subject. "Interestingly, low and physiological levels of reactive oxygen species are required for normal force production in skeletal muscle, but high levels of reactive oxygen species promote contractile dysfunction resulting in muscle weakness and fatigue." Per the article "Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress: Cellular Mechanisms and Impact on Muscle Force Production" at http://physrev.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/88/4/1243 So there is a need for some level of ROS. How does 500mg of supplemental vitamin C affect the level of ROS in the body? This is something that needs to be investigated. How do supplemental antioxidants in any form (vitamin A, C and E, ALA, CoQ10, Resveratrol, etc.) affect the potimal level of ROS in the body? While this is unclear, we do know that exercise increases oxidative stress in the body. Additionally, a study comparing a diet low in antioxidants vs a diet enriched in antioxidants found that in the short term, maximal muscle effort was the same between the two diets, but at a cost of increased oxidative stress post-exercise when on a reduced antioxidant diet, per "The effects of short-term antioxidant supplementation on oxidative stress and flight performance in adult budgerigars Melopsittacus undulatus" at http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/abstract/211/17/2859

The latter study concludes with and coincides with the point I'm trying to make: "Further work is necessary to fully understand the effects of antioxidants and oxidative stress on exercise performance in the longer term."


They tested under twice per day dosing conditions.

The person I responded to was concerned about dosing only AFTER the workout.

It is most likely the case that twice per day dosing includes a dosing that occurs before the workout. It certainly is not known that there is no dose at a time of the same day prior to the workout.

But hey, you want to come to conclusions about conditions different than tested, you just do that. It's your prerogative.

But it would be mistaken to tell others that it was shown to be so for anything beyond which was actually shown.

And your choice of quotes is unusual, as what it really says is quite different than what it seems you and others have been saying. The authors of the study say further work is needed to fully understand, but you and others conclude that this is scary, that not even post-workout Vitamin C should be taken now that this study has been done, etc.

The authors don't go so far as y'all do. And for good reason.