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Vitamins C and E Supplements Interfere With Strength-Training Gains

Brian Turner

Posted on December 31 2016

Bodybuilders often take vitamins C and E supplements to prevent illnesses, such as the common cold, to promote connective tissue repair after intense training, and to protect soft tissue against free radical damage. A study led by Gøran Paulsen from the Norwegian School of Sports Scientists concluded that high doses of vitamins C and E (1,000 milligrams per day for C and 235 milligrams per day for E) interfered with training-induced muscle growth and strength gains. Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that reduce free radicals— highly reactive chemicals produced naturally during metabolism. Excessive levels have been linked to cell damage, suppression of the immune system and premature death. However, these chemicals also promote adaptation to exercise stress. Some oxidative stress is good, while excessive oxidative stress is harmful. Athletes should strive to get vitamins C and E through the diet in foods such as oranges, vegetables and plant oils, and avoid high-dose supplements. (Journal of Physiology, published online October 31, 2014)