October 17, 2021

New Study Finds Antioxidant Supplements May be Counterproductive

A study from the University of Copenhagen, published in the Journal of Physiology has found that resveratrol supplements in older men may counteract the positive effects of exercise. This popular antioxidant supplement has been touted as a health benefit. This study contradicts other studies that found the supplements improved the cardiovascular benefits of exercise by combating oxidative stress.

Dietary SupplementsThe study followed 27 healthy, physically inactive men over the age of 65. The subjects were randomly assigned to two groups; one taking 250 mgs of resveratrol and the other taking a placebo. All of the men started high intensity exercise training. The scientists found that exercise training led to a 45% greater increase in maximal oxygen uptake in the placebo group, In addition, the interstitial level of vasodilator prostacyclin was lower in the group taking resveratrol. Reservatrol abolished the positive effects of exercise on LDL, TC/HDL ratios and triglyceride concentrations in the blood.

It may be that some oxidant stress may be necessary in our bodies and that too many antioxidants are not helpful. The researchers were surprised at the results of this study, although they added that “the quantities of resveratrol given in our research study are much higher than what could be obtained by intake of natural foods.”

Other studies have found that antioxidant supplements do not provide much protection against cancer or heart disease. In fact, taking beta-carotene may increase the chance of smokers developing lung cancer. ┬áMost randomized, placebo-controlled studies have found little evidence that taking antioxidant supplements provides good protection against chronic diseases. Eating a varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in antioxidants and their “helper molecules” seems to be the best road to good health.

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