Sportsperson’s body consumes a vast amount of oxygen during different workouts. It uses oxygen to release energy from metabolic fuels, mainly glucose and fat, and power muscle activity. But oxygen has a downside. As a very unstable molecule, it has a tendency to generate free radicals. As per studies, sportspersons involved in strength and endurance training tend to produce more free radicals than individuals.
Let’s try to understand what free radicals are?
Highly reactive in nature, Free radicals target your tissues, DNA and polyunsaturated fatty acids within your cell membranes. This leads to a chain reaction which ultimately results in cellular destruction. As a result, they are responsible for aches, pain, fatigue, aging, prolonged recovery and for causing diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, immune system deficiencies, stroke and other degenerative diseases.
In addition to prevention of nutrient deficiency disorders, a group of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes called antioxidants have been identified that protect your body from such chemical damages.
Antioxidants are scavengers of free radicals. In simple terms, antioxidants protect your cells against free radicals, which cause damage and may play a role in diseases such as heart disease and cancer. When the free radicals outnumber the antioxidants, it leads to a state, which might cause such diseases.
Several factors and lifestyle habits to promote excessive free radical formation:
Viral or bacterial infections
Excessive intake of zinc, copper, iron or magnesium
Too little oxygen in the body
Excessive oxygen in the body
Tissue damage due to excessive workout
Different antioxidants benefit different parts of the body:
There is a broad range of antioxidants found in nature, and various antioxidants provide benefits to different parts of the body. For example, Beta-carotene is highly beneficial for good vision and eye health. Lycopene is beneficial for helping in maintaining prostate health. Flavonoids are good for a healthy heart and Astaxanthin followed by Beta-carotene combined with vitamin E has been shown to be one of the most powerful antioxidant combinations for helping protect the skin from reactive species of oxygen. Apart from skin care, it is beneficial in boosting immunity as well. Please note that all these antioxidants should be taken under supervision only.
Should You Take Antioxidant Supplements?
Antioxidants play a very important role during the survival of all living beings. Though the human body has the capability of developing its own antioxidants, however, dietary intake of antioxidants is important for optimal health depending upon your lifestyle and workout patterns. At the same time, excessive intake of isolated antioxidants can have toxic effects. Therefore, you should avoid high-dose antioxidant supplementation and better take an expert advice before taking any dosage. Here are key benefits:
Protects your heart
Good for eye health
May boost your brain function
May decrease oxidative stress
Vitamin C and E help in speedy recovery
Good for hair growth
Keeps your skin healthy
Improves immune system
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