A new study found women who supplemented with 1000 mg of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) prior to a 30 minute moderate-intensity cycling session showed increases in antioxidant capacity after their exercise.
19 women between the ages of 22 and 25 participated in this research. The participants in this study were sedentary for a least one year (did not participant in any regular exercise programs) to overcome any study bias that suggested “antioxidant supplementation only improved performance when endogenous levels are already depleted, and after reaching normal concentrations, no further benefit is seen”. This conclusion was reached in a 2007 study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Participants ingested one capsule of 1000 mg of Ascorbic Acid or a placebo for one exercise day. Participants then went through a one week “wash-out” period before they returned to the lab took a different capsule, performed the same exercise and blood analysis protocol. Blood samples were taken right before and right after exercise. Additionally another blood sample was taken 30 minutes after exercise to determine muscle damage, oxidative stress, glucose, total protein and plasma albumin markers.
Researchers found Superoxide Dismutase activity, a marker of stress in the body was elevated after exercise in participants who supplemented with the placebo but were suppressed in participants who supplemented the Vitamin C capsules. Researchers concluded that supplementation with Vitamin C prior to exercise improved antioxidant power.
A few limitations in the study design were seen, for example participants exercised in a fasted state and hence it was more difficult to extrapolate results seen to normal conditions when athletes were not fasting.
Further studies are needed to completely understand how Vitamin C interacts with other molecules.
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