When we exercise, we are essentially damaging our cells and “rusting from within,” which means our cells are being oxidized. Not good. Free radicals form and damage our mitochondria and can lead to cellular aging. Oxidative stress can also cause a loss of muscle power and sports performance can be compromised.
Oxidative stress has several causes, some of which include all types of exercise, Advil and even creatine supplementation.
Combat free radicals and oxidative stress with antioxidants. Phytonutrients (plant-based nutrition) have been proven to work best in this battle. Adults should be consuming 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day and athletes as much as 16-18 servings! Supplementing isn’t as effective as eating real food, although some research has suggested that beta-alanine supplements are useful for fighting against free radicals (http://breakingmuscle.com/military-first-responders/beta-alanine-improves-tactical-skills-in-special-forces-operators).
Moral of the story: supplement less and eats lots of fruits and vegetables. Your cells will remain healthier for longer. Performance, recovery and soft tissue health will benefit as well.
David Phillips MD – Oxidative Stress and Athletic Performance