The supplement industry is booming, with more people than ever before popping a pill each day promising that their products with make you ‘healthy and happy’, ‘improve your life’ or keep you ‘active and energised’.
But what effect do these high doses have on our athletic performance?
Research shows that consumption of high dose antioxidant supplements (such as multivitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E) can actually have a negative effect on our sports performance. A recent study examined the effect of vitamin C on training efficiency. Findings showed that supplementation of vitamin C significantly hindered endurance capacity, through reduced expression of key transcription factors involved in mitochondrial biogenesis. In lay terms, this means that they way our bodies adapt to exercise is limited at a cellular level.
Another, more recent study found vitamin E acted in a similar way as vitamin C, by blunting adaptations of the mitochondrial proteins that would usually be seen through exercise, meaning the body is unable to make changes on a cellular level, that would result in improved performance in the longer term.
When these nutrients are consumed as part of a healthy diet, these negatives are not seen.
What does this mean? Well, it's simple really; instead of relying on a tablet for your daily intake of nutrients, ensure your intake of fruits and vegetables is adequate for obtaining the nutrients you need.
Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you’d like our help in managing diet-related health issues.