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Antioxidants: Help or Hype

In researching this post the information is somewhat controversial.  But I already knew this from previous research I have done on antioxidants for general health and wellness.  The whole idea of antioxidants totally makes sense to me and I am a proponent of using them for general health and more so with exercise, especially those who are engaged in strenuous exercise.  We know that endurance exercise in particular increases oxygen utilization and this can significantly increase the generation of free radical oxygen species.  This oxidative stress is inevitable as a consequence of exercise, especially long duration strenuous exercise.  The generation of free radicals could most likely cause damage to muscles and other tissues, as well as fatigue and delayed recovery.  I see this routinely in my practice as I have a high population of endurance athletes I treat.  I advise them to make sure they have enough antioxidant first through food, but due to the additional stress placed on their bodies as a result of the exercise I find it imperative that they use an antioxidant formula.  This involves a multivitamin and some additional formulation such as DFH Iinflammatone or Nutrametrix OPC-3 as an adjunct.

So what bring me to this conclusion?  Years ago I read an article regarding multivitamin use and telomere length in women.  This was an interesting article because it correlated the specific use of multivitamins with an alteration in the length of telomeres.  As cells divide the length of the telomere decreases.  Eventually as the length decreases it can lead to cell senescence or apoptosis.  This has led many to use telomere length as a marker for biological aging.  As we know biological aging can be negatively affected by an overabundance of free radical oxygen species.  According this study a shorter telomere has been associated with higher mortality and a greater risk of chronic diseases.  The study also showed that the effects of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can alter the erosion of telomeres, and that the use of multivitamins correlated with longer telomere lengths.  Therefore it would be reasonable to conclude that the use of a multivitamin supplement and or a specialized antioxidant formula could preserve the length of telomeres and reduce the affects of oxidative stress, especially during exercise when the production of reactive oxygen species is greater.



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