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Don't count on vitamin C to boost your exercise performance

e a decrease in oxidative stress with large doses of vitamin C, but this decrease didn't improve aerobic abilities either for younger or older subjects."

The study, "Ascorbic acid does not affect the age-associated reduction in maximal cardiac output and oxygen consumption in healthy adults," was conducted by Christopher Bell, John M. Carson, Nathaniel W. Motte and Douglas R. Seals from the Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Going into the experiment, the researchers had good reason to expect positive results. It's well known that MAC and MCO decline with age. Moreover, it's thought that this "age-associated decline in MAC may be partially mediated by the development of oxidative stress that can suppress beta-adrenergic receptor responsiveness and consequently reduce MCO." Although the exact physiological cause of this suppression isn't known, "increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) may be involved," they thought.

Furthermore, physiological or non-diseased aging "in adult humans is associated with increased oxidative stress as a result of increased production of ROS, a reduction in antioxidant defenses, or both. Recent evidence suggests that increased ROS tonically suppresses myocardial beta-adrenergic receptor responsiveness in middle-aged and older adult humans, as this can be reversed by acute intra-coronary administration of the powerful antioxidant ascorbic acid."

However in the current experiment, Bell et al. found that after a month of ingesting 500 mg daily of vitamin C or getting infused with acute amounts just before exercise, the blood results were surprisingly uniform between ages and sexes. Indeed, the only major difference found throughout the experiment was that "irrespective of age, MAC, MCO and heart stroke volume were greater in men compared with women; however there were no sex-differences or age-sex interactions pertaining to the response of any of these variables to administra
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6-Jan-2005


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