Navigation Links
Antioxidants aren't always good for you and can impair muscle function, study shows

Antioxidants increasingly have been praised for their benefits against disease and aging, but recent studies at Kansas State University show that they also can cause harm.

Researchers in K-State's Cardiorespiratory Exercise Laboratory have been studying how to improve oxygen delivery to the skeletal muscle during physical activity by using antioxidants, which are nutrients in foods that can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to the body. Their findings show that sometimes antioxidants can impair muscle function.

"Antioxidant is one of those buzz words right now," said Steven Copp, a doctoral student in anatomy and physiology from Manhattan and a researcher in the lab. "Walking around grocery stores you see things advertised that are loaded with antioxidants. I think what a lot of people don't realize is that the antioxidant and pro-oxidant balance is really delicate. One of the things we've seen in our research is that you can't just give a larger dose of antioxidants and presume that there will be some sort of beneficial effect. In fact, you can actually make a problem worse."

David C. Poole and Timothy I. Musch, K-State professors from both the departments of kinesiology and anatomy and physiology, direct the Cardiorespiratory Exercise Laboratory, located in the College of Veterinary Medicine complex. Researchers in the lab study the physiology of physical activity in health and disease through animal models. Copp and Daniel Hirai, an anatomy and physiology doctoral student from Manhattan working in the lab, have conducted various studies associated with how muscles control blood flow and the effects of different doses and types of antioxidants.

Abnormalities in the circulatory system, such as those that result from aging or a disease like chronic heart failure, can impair oxygen delivery to the skeletal muscle and increase fatigability during physical activity, Copp said. The researchers are studying the effects antioxidants could have in the process.

"If you have a person trying to recover from a heart attack and you put them in cardiac rehab, when they walk on a treadmill they might say it's difficult," Poole said. "Their muscles get sore and stiff. We try to understand why the blood cells aren't flowing properly and why they can't get oxygen to the muscles, as happens in healthy individuals."

Copp said there is a potential for antioxidants to reverse or partially reverse some of those changes that result from aging or disease. However, K-State's studies have shown that some of the oxidants in our body, such as hydrogen peroxide, are helpful to increase blood flow.

"We're now learning that if antioxidant therapy takes away hydrogen peroxide or other naturally occurring vasodilators, which are compounds that help open blood vessels you impair the body's ability to deliver oxygen to the muscle so that it doesn't work properly," Poole said.

Poole said antioxidants are largely thought to produce better health, but their studies have shown that antioxidants can actually suppress key signaling mechanisms that are necessary for muscle to function effectively.

"It's really a cautionary note that before we start recommending people get more antioxidants, we need to understand more about how they function in physiological systems and circumstances like exercise," Poole said.

Hirai said the researchers will continue to explore antioxidants and the effects of exercise training. Their studies are looking at how these can help individuals combat the decreased mobility and muscle function that comes with advancing age and diseases like heart failure.

"The research we do here is very mechanistic in nature, and down the road our aim is to take our findings and make recommendations for diseased and aging populations," Copp said.


Contact: David C. Poole
Kansas State University

Related biology news :

1. Clemson chemists discover new way antioxidants fight debilitating diseases
2. Antioxidants could provide all-purpose radiation protection
3. Research shows Brazilian acai berry antioxidants absorbed by human body
4. Purple tomatoes: The richness of antioxidants against tumors
5. Forget the antioxidants? McGill researchers cast doubt on role of free radicals in aging
6. Antioxidants in Midwestern black raspberries influenced by production site
7. Scientists discover influenzas Achilles heel: Antioxidants
8. Many parents at-risk for cancer disclose genetic test results to children
9. Fever causing headaches for Aussie parents
10. Handbook helps parents deal with childhood infections
11. Family ties that bind: Maternal grandparents are more involved in the lives of their grandchildren
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015 Today, LifeBEAM , a ... 2XU, a global leader in technical performance sports ... with advanced bio-sensing technology. The hat will allow ... key biometrics to improve overall training performance. As ... will bring together the most advanced technology, extensive ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... October 27, 2015 Munich, ... Gaze Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile ... Glasses , so that they can be quantitatively ... Munich, Germany , October 28-29, 2015. ... data from mobile eye tracking videos created with ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... adds Biometrics Market Shares, Strategies ... well as Emerging Biometrics Technologies: Global ... its collection of IT and Telecommunications ... --> . ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ROSEVILLE, Minn. , Dec. 1, 2015  The ... the recipient of the 2015 Tekne Award in the ... th at the Minneapolis ... who have played a significant role in developing new ... people living around the world. Clostridium difficile ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... specializing in scientifically backed, age-defying products, is featured as the cover story ... exponential success and unrivaled opportunities that Nerium provides. Success from Home magazine ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Matthew “Tex” VerMilyea, PhD, HCLD, has joined Texas ... oversee all IVF lab procedures as well as continue his research efforts into the ... miles to Auckland, New Zealand to bring home a High Complexity Clinical Laboratory Director ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... announced the opening of a new core patient care hub with the opening of ... are part of GSCG’s expansion efforts in Latin America. , Both the Arica and ... from around the world. , The clinics will be headed by Victor Perez, M.D. and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: