Ep. 11 – Dedication to Education

Are vitamin supplements robbing all your gains? In previous weeks, we’ve looked at ways to ENHANCE your training adaptation so you can become bigger, stronger, fitter and faster. I.e. something that will make your training sessions MORE effective.
This week, we’re looking at one thing that will BLUNT your training adaptation. I.e. something hat will make your training sessions LESS effective. In recent years, it’s been suggested for athletes to consume high dose antioxidants; specifically vitamin C and E which will help manage inflammation post training or competition. You’re probably familiar with this right?
This makes a lot of sense, intense exercise increases oxidative stress and the production of free radicals, otherwise known as ROS (reactive oxygen species). Since these free radicals damage the body, it was recommended to take antioxidants to combat this. Not too fast champ. We actually need some exercise induced oxidative stress. This ‘stress’ is a DRIVER for adaptation. It’s suggested that if you reduce the stress, you’ll reduce how well you adapt and repair damaged muscle from a training session or competition. The idea is to ENHANCE the adaptive process, not BLUNT it.
For example, supplementing >1g of vitamin C may blunt your training adaptation whilst consuming lower amounts (~250mg) through fruit and veggies does not. One thing to note; The research does show mixed findings and this isn’t conclusive just yet. I.e, some studies show that antioxidant supplements are not worth taking due to the above, while some say that they don’t interfere at all which may be down to a couple of reasons.
The main one being the starting antioxidant status of the person. In other words, if you eat a ton of fruit and veggies in your diet, then adding in a high dose supplement may lead to very high antioxidant levels and blunt certain signaling pathways responsible for adaptation. Where people who have poorer quality diets (low fruit and veg) may have a lower starting antioxidant status, therefore the addition of a high dose supplement will bring it up to a ‘normal’ level and not actually interfere with anything.
Not to sound like the boring crank here – but eat your fruit and veggies first and you won’t have to worry about any of the above! Simple, right? To throw some curiosity your way; ADAPTATION is not the same as RECOVERY – but this is a topic for another time.

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