by Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.
An excellent review of the literature on free radical production, exercise and the use of antioxidants by Jefferey McBride, M.S., suggests that high-intensity exercise such as weight training can result in the production of free radicals. In addition, it appears that at a minimum, these free radicals can cause significant disruption to muscle cell membranes. This may indicate that, especially in the early phases of a new and unfamiliar exercise program, antioxidant supplementation is necessary to combat excessive free radical-mediated tissue damage.
This is further supported in his review by investigations reporting the effectiveness of antioxidant supplementation on decreasing free radical-mediated tissue damage with intense exercise. He points out that vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta carotene have been identified as potent antioxidants. He recommends that high doses of antioxidants before an unfamiliar exercise bout may combat the body's natural excessive free radical production response when exercising intensely or when undertaking a new sport or activity.