Many vitamins and minerals are consumed in high doses for their antioxidant effects. Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium and phenolic compounds are antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce incidence of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Antioxidants help stop the oxidation process, which is part of the aetiology of certain diseases. People therefore believe that consuming more of these antioxidants more means reducing risk of disease further. But, studies have shown that there are optimal intake levels.
"Consuming too high intakes of antioxidant supplements may have detrimental effects on health."
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have researched this in detail and their results conclude that the consumption of food in its natural form is ideal. In nature chemicals are naturally in a biochemical redox system, which is where some nutrients and anutrients act as antioxidants and others act as pro-oxidants, so they balance each other out. If there are too high levels of antioxidants in the blood, from consuming supplements, they can become pro-oxidants in certain circumstances, thereby increasing oxidation and risk of disease. Consuming too high intakes of antioxidant supplements may therefore have detrimental effects on health.
For these reasons orthodox nutritionists and dietitians recommend consuming a healthy balanced diet including foods from each of the food groups, with at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily. In certain circumstances, there may be a case for supplements . But in general a healthy diet should cover all.
Okay, we are concerned with bodybuilding nutrition here, and I can hear you all arguing with me! "We need more than 'normal' people"; "It's better to have too much than too little"; "I need to optimise my performance"; "'Top' bodybuilding nutritionists are adamant that we need supplements"; "I used to feel crap all the time, so I started taking vitamins and minerals, and now I feel great". Remember, you know your own body better than I can ever do, so if you are adamant that taking micronutrient supplements has helped you, then keep on taking them. You can see that my views on this issue are extremely different to other bodybuilding nutrition gurus. But, I've supplied the reasoning and the evidence, so make up your own minds.
Many 'so called' experts, like Bill Phillips, will argue with me, and slate my advice such as mine in his literature. Quote: '...many old-school nutritionists and dietitians will tell you that you can get all these important micronutrients from simply consuming a "balanced diet" (whatever the hell that is).' (Phillips 1997). Well, I hope to have clearly described the concept of a balanced diet in Chapter 2, and eating a wide variety of foods will cover this, as shown by reams of experimental, epidemiological and anecdotal evidence.
You've heard my argument, but let me further it: Yes, bodybuilders can benefit from supplements, but not the vitamin and mineral types. As you will see from Chapters 8 and 9, I do strongly advocate the use of some other supplements including meal replacement powders, and these are significantly fortified with the full array of micronutrients and some of the discovered anutrients . Also, if you feel you need more vitamins and minerals, then why not consume more fruit and vegetables? If you follow these guidelines, unless in certain circumstances, you will be getting ample amounts of all vitamins and minerals - so save your money and spend it on some of the other supplements discussed in Chapter 8.
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Ever since the fitness craze in the 1980’s, we have become a nation increasingly aware of our health and physique. Millions of dollars are spent every year in the quest for a perfect body. Gyms are big business, personal trainers are making a tidy living helping people stay fit, and body building supplements are at an all-time level of performance.