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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 707941, 11 pages
Review Article

Does Vitamin C and E Supplementation Impair the Favorable Adaptations of Regular Exercise?

1Department of Physical Education and Sports Science at Serres, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 62110 Serres, Greece
2Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87109, USA
3Centre for Physiological Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Harrachgasse 21/II, 8010 Graz, Austria
4Department of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA

Received 1 April 2012; Revised 18 June 2012; Accepted 20 June 2012

Academic Editor: Felipe Dal-Pizzol

Copyright © 2012 Michalis G. Nikolaidis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The detrimental outcomes associated with unregulated and excessive production of free radicals remains a physiological concern that has implications to health, medicine and performance. Available evidence suggests that physiological adaptations to exercise training can enhance the body’s ability to quench free radicals and circumstantial evidence exists to suggest that key vitamins and nutrients may provide additional support to mitigate the untoward effects associated with increased free radical production. However, controversy has risen regarding the potential outcomes associated with vitamins C and E, two popular antioxidant nutrients. Recent evidence has been put forth suggesting that exogenous administration of these antioxidants may be harmful to performance making interpretations regarding the efficacy of antioxidants challenging. The available studies that employed both animal and human models provided conflicting outcomes regarding the efficacy of vitamin C and E supplementation, at least partly due to methodological differences in assessing oxidative stress and training adaptations. Based on the contradictory evidence regarding the effects of higher intakes of vitamin C and/or E on exercise performance and redox homeostasis, a permanent intake of non-physiological dosages of vitamin C and/or E cannot be recommended to healthy, exercising individuals.