Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

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

Date:
January 28, 2010
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
Antioxidants increasingly have been praised for their benefits against disease and aging, but recent studies show that they also can cause harm. Researchers have been studying how to improve oxygen delivery to the skeletal muscle during physical activity by using antioxidants. Their findings show that sometimes antioxidants can impair muscle function.

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.

The researchers have published their recent findings in several journals, including the Journal of Applied Physiology, Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, Microvascular Research, The American Journal of Physiology and Experimental Physiology.

The Cardiorespiratory Exercise Laboratory has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association and intramural awards from the College of Veterinary Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Antioxidants aren't always good for you and can impair muscle function, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126111957.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2010, January 28). Antioxidants aren't always good for you and can impair muscle function, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126111957.htm
Kansas State University. "Antioxidants aren't always good for you and can impair muscle function, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126111957.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins