A new study found that subjects placed on a bulking diet (i.e., 300 calories surplus with adequate protein) and antioxidants had reduced upper body muscle growth. Both the control and antioxidant groups gained fat mass, but the antioxidant group reduced visceral adipose tissue (fat that lines the internal organs).
SUMMARY OF HIGH DOSE ANTIOXIDANTS ARTICLE
A new study found that subjects placed on a bulking diet (i.e., 300 calories surplus with adequate protein) and high dose antioxidants had reduced upper body muscle growth.
Both the control and antioxidant groups gained fat mass, but the antioxidant group reduced visceral adipose tissue (fat that lines the internal organs).
DOUBLE-DOSING FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTS
Antioxidants are any compound that prevents unstable molecules (i.e., free radicals) from damaging DNA, cell membranes, and other parts of the cell membrane. Anti-oxidants are needed for health and wellness, but like all things, athletes tend to go overboard by using high doses of antioxidant supplements.
A previous study found that over 50% of elite endurance and male collegiate athletes consumed doses of antioxidant supplements that were higher than the recommended daily allowance (RDA). (Rodriguez et al., 2009) Antioxidants have been advocated to reduce exercise-mediated cell damage, muscle soreness, and fatigue. (Muñoz Marín et al., 2018)
Are Mega Dosing Vitamins Beneficial
We live in an age where everything is said to cause cell damage, which has given rise to the many ads for Mega Greens and other powder green powders rich in fruits, vegetables, probiotics, and other antioxidant vitamins.
Many people do not realize that free radicals are necessary signaling molecules for training adaptations to occur, and blocking free radicals can prevent beneficial training adaptations. (Gomez-Cabrera et al., 2012; Morales-Alamo & Calbet, 2016) A certain amount of free radicals are necessary for your body to adapt to exercise stress and improve performance.
HIGH-DOSE ANTIOXIDANTS BLUNT MUSCLE GROWTH
Many athletes think that doubling up on anti-oxidants improves health (i.e., resistance to illness and disease) and physical performance. These assumptions are, however, generally not supported in the scientific literature. According to the latest research, taking too many antioxidants can hinder muscle gains.
Here are a few studies to suggest that sometimes there is too much of a good thing with antioxidants:
• One study reported that mega-dosages of vitamin C attenuated hypertrophy of muscles in rats. Although the placebo group and vitamin C-treated rats experienced muscle fiber growth, the vitamin C group experienced around 11% less muscle growth! The use of anti-oxidants also correlated with reduced protein synthesis. The diminished muscle growth appeared related to reduced anabolic signaling pathways, which occurred in the Vitamin C overload group.(Makanae et al., 2013)
• A study showed that combining Vitamin C and E with resistance exercises resulted in reduced muscle growth. The supplement contained 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 235 mg of vitamin E. The antioxidant supplementation blunted anabolic cellular responses to resistance exercise and hindered strength outcomes following training. While the antioxidant supplement did not significantly blunt muscle hypertrophy following the ten weeks of training, bicep-curl strength was lower in the group supplementing with the antioxidants compared to the control group.(Paulsen et al., 2014)
• In another study, young men were provided either a vitamin C (1 gram per day) and E supplement (400 IU per day) or a placebo during 10 weeks of resistance training performed three times per week. Similarly, this high dosage of vitamins C and E curbed certain muscular adaptations to strength training. In this case, the group receiving the vitamins had less gains in muscle size compared to the group given the placebo. (Dutra et al., 2019)
•In a study, older adults were provided either a vitamin C and E supplement (1000 mg of vitamin C and 400 IUs of vitamin E) or a placebo during 12 weeks of resistance training performed three times per week. Similarly, this high dosage of vitamins C and E curbed certain muscular adaptations to strength training. In this case, the group receiving the vitamins had less gains in muscle size compared to the group given the placebo. Maximal strength measures were not different between groups. (Bjørnsen et al., 2016) in Sum, high dose antioxidants can reduce muscle growth.