Overweight People Need Extra Antioxidants for Exercise

Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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Overweight People Need Extra Antioxidants for Exercise
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Overweight people are routinely told to exercise more. However, a study in overweight adolescent girls1 shows that exercise increases free radical stress due to the inefficient utilization of extra oxygen during the exercise process. This means that exercise in the presence of a lack of antioxidants will increase tissue damage and consequent inflammation, resulting in a poor response to exercise that is unlikely to produce fitness or weight loss. It is likely that this finding applies to anyone who is overweight.

Your cells use oxygen to ignite burning calories to produce energy. Humans have highly advanced energy producing systems, yet there is a trade-off. This means that a certain number of free radicals are always produced as you make energy. In health, these free radicals are trapped by antioxidants so that no damage occurs. When you exercise you are increasing oxygen use by cells and increasing energy production – a test drive of your system. If you have enough antioxidants, then you trap the extra free radicals that are naturally produced during exercise.

In this study, the researchers thoroughly evaluated a wide range of parameters, including insulin resistance, leptin, adiponectin, inflammatory markers, and markers of oxidative stress (free radical problems). Overweight girls had a higher baseline of abnormalities with fats, increased inflammation, and mildly elevated oxidative stress markers.

The researchers had hypothesized that the baseline problems with fats and insulin would be magnified by the exercise and thereby increase oxidative stress. To their surprise they discovered that overweight girls had higher oxygen demand, and this extra use of oxygen in their inefficient systems—not insulin resistance or fat-related problems—was the source of the free radical stress during exhausting exercise.

Coenzyme Q10 is vital nutrient for the final stages of oxygen utilization within cells. Antioxidants in general help build up cellular glutathione, the backbone antioxidant that protects cells. My article, "Byron's Running Tips," is a program of extra antioxidants to maximize exercise results. This information is of special importance to any person who is overweight and trying to get in shape. You must have extra antioxidants to compensate for the lack of oxygen-utilization fitness in your body. This will significantly help you get a better response to exercise.

This information is especially important to any overweight person who tends to get hot too easily. This could be a general uncomfortable feeling of hotness, sweating too easily, and/or intolerance of heat. Such symptoms indicate that your body is already trying to dispose of extra calories as heat, a form of metabolic uncoupling that also increases oxidative stress. Generally, such a baseline of heat can also be brought down with extra antioxidants – and in doing so, improve health and metabolism.

You need oxygen to live. You need to be able to efficiently use oxygen for increased energy demands. These functions are vital to having a healthy life. You need antioxidants to keep oxygen working in a healthy way. This is especially true for any person who is overweight and trying to exercise to help improve their fitness and weight loss.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Exercise Stress and Obesity  International Journal of Obesity  H Youssef, C Groussard, J Pincemail, E Moussa3, C Jacob, S Lemoine, M Zind3, J-O Defraigne, J Cillard1, P Delamarche and A Gratas-Delamarche.

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