Oxidative stress is indicative of rigorous exercise and refers to the creation of an increased volume of reactive oxygen species, also known as free radicals; this increase is due to the inadequate presence of antioxidants. The free radicals cause damage to cells because their radical movement inside cells destroys them, producing dead cells, this activity can only be inhibited through the regular consumption of antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
The minerals will help to regulate enzyme activity, which will in turn diminish free radical production, whilst the vitamins ‘accept’ the free radicals to remove them from the cellular environment, therefore limiting their potential hazards.
Recent studies have shown that supplementing with single source vitamins alone, such as vitamin E (well known for its antioxidant properties), simply isn’t enough. The reason for this is that consuming just a single antioxidant vitamin may throw the pool of antioxidants out of balance, thereby diminishing the overall defences we have to prevent oxidative stress.
It is therefore very important to regularly consume as broad a spectrum as possible of antioxidants from foods, as well as supplementing with a premium multi-vitamin complex (Matrix Pak for athletes and Pri-Multi, a superior multi-vitamin complex available soon). By doing this, the sensitive balance between the antioxidants can be maintained and at the same time there will be an increased antioxidant presence to provide an overall improved defence.
Nutrient imbalances can also affect the function of the immune system. For example, excess intake of vitamin E can negatively affect the immune system, but at the same time not enough of this vitamin, along with inadequate amounts of other components, such as iron, selenium, zinc, calcium and magnesium can also create immune problems.
All this information points towards the importance of maintaining a balance of all the nutrients, rather than consuming one or two with the hope of inducing a desirable biochemical effect.