Usefulness of high C and E in PIC

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Usefulness of high C and E in PIC

Postby JonH » Tue May 31, 2011 7:55 am

The May 29, 2011 article/e-zine by Dr. Gabe Mirkin ( questions the usefulness vitamin C and E supplementation. Dr. Mirkin sites a study showing that rats given antioxidant vitamin E and alpha lipoic acid prevent the major mitochondrial benefits of athletic endurance training. Dr. Mirkin also says that people who take 1000 mg/day of vitamin C and 400 IU/day of vitamin E do not gain the benefits of increased insulin sensitivity when they exercise. I am a longtime loyal user of Hammer products including Premium Insurance Caps which provides 1000 mg/day vitamin C and 400 IU/day vitamin E per 7 capsule serving. For long hard rides I also often take 3 or more Race Caps Supreme capsules providing 400IU or more vitamin E. So this article makes me wonder if I should cut back or switch to some other multivitamin. Perhaps Steve Born or someone else on the Hammer staff can comment on Dr. Mirkin's argument against taking that much vitamin E and C.
~ Jon Harbert
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Re: Usefulness of high C and E in PIC

Postby steve-born » Tue May 31, 2011 3:38 pm

Hello Jon -

There's just such a wealth of information available that shows the benefits of vitamin C and vitamin E supplementation that I hardly knew where to begin. Seriously, there is just a huge body of work available that discusses the myriad benefits of supplementation with both of these supplements that I was at a loss as to which articles/research would prove to be most beneficial for you, but without writing a full-length novel.

So I took the liberty of forwarding your question (and the link of Dr. Mirkin's) to Dr. Bill Misner. Here was his reply:

Should an athlete take antioxidants as part of a post-exercise training program?

Deficiency determines justified dose. My answer is "Yes," When & IF exercise generates excess free radical accumulation and if food is insufficient in immediate antioxidant-content to neutralize exercise-induced free radicals. IF exercise is not generating excess free radicals (as measured by Malondealdehyde MDA-concentrations), then why overdose antioxidants?

The water soluble vitamins like vitamin C taken in high concentrations are not harmful to humans in my opinion. The fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin E, D, A can have potential harmful side effects to humans taking more than their body can safely metabolize. Dr. Mirkin is correct regarding many of his conclusions. The mineral, Selenium, for example, is toxic if excessive doses are consumed above body needs. After a workout, taking antioxidants such as those formulated in Premium Insurance Caps are not harmful nor excessive taken as directed. My original recommendation for PIC-dosage is and was 7-capsules per day per less than 2-hours exercise, but when exercise exceeds 2-hours, take 7-capsules AM and 7-capsules PM is advised.

Deficiency determines dose. IF you know that your food intake is supplying adequate antioxidants to neutralize exercise-induced free radicals, then you may not need to take Premium Insurance Caps at all. The problem is exactly that... most of us do not know that our food intakes are providing the needed antioxidants to reduce free radicals.

Unless all your calories consumed are whole plant foods (vegetables and fruits), it is unlikely that any fit endurance athlete will resolve free radical excess from food alone. One paper concludes (1):

"It was shown that antioxidant supplementation with vitamin C + E or
a mixed fruit and vegetable juice concentrate can attenuate the rise
in protein oxidation observed after an acute 30-min run at 80%
VO2max. This exercise resulted in no change in plasma MDA or 8-OHdG.
It should be noted that despite the effect of the two antioxidant
treatments on post-exercise protein oxidation, supplementation did
not eliminate the elevation in protein carbonyl values, but rather
reduced this slightly. Furthermore, the antioxidant supplements did
not have any impact on exercise-associated variables (e.g., heart
rate and perceived exertion), although performance variables were
not measured in the present study. Taken together with the MDA and
8-OHdG data, it appears as though antioxidant supplementation within
a population of aerobically trained men and women demonstrates only
modest protection for protein oxidation, with little impact on the
other markers. This is true for both the FV as well as the V
treatment. It is believed that antioxidants other than vitamins C
and E could have provided protection against protein oxidation, but
further research is warranted to determine which phytonutrients were
involved. The finding that supplementation with a fruit and
vegetable juice concentrate can provide protection against
exercise-induced oxidative stress in a similar manner as higher
dosages of vitamins C and E deserves attention."

Bryant et al., (2003) paper concluded similar results (2):
"Seven trained male cyclists (ate 22.3 +/- 2 years) participated in
4 separate supplementation phases. They ingested 2 capsules per day
containing the following treatments: placebo (placebo plus placebo);
vitamin C (1 g per day vitamin C plus placebo); vitamin C and E (1 g
per day vitamin C plus 200 IU per kg vitamin E); and vitamin E (400
IU per kg vitamin E plus placebo). The treatment order (placebo,
vitamin C, vitamin C and E, and vitamin E) was the same for all
subjects. Performance trials consisting of a 60-minute steady state
ride (SSR) and a 30-minute performance ride (PR) on Cybex 100
Metabolic cycles were performed after each trial. Workloads of 70%
of the VO2max were set for the SSR and PR rides, with pedal rate
maintained at 90 rpm (SSR) or self determined (PR). Blood samples (5
ml) were drawn pre- and postexercise and analyzed for malonaldehyde
(MDA) and lactic acid. The results indicate that vitamin E treatment
was more effective than vitamin C alone or vitamin C and E.
Pre-exercise plasma levels of MDA in the vitamin E trial was 39%
below the pre-exercise MDA levels of the placebo: 2.94 +/- 0.54 and
4.81 +/- 0.65 micromol per ml, respectively. Plasma MDA following
exercise in the vitamin E group was also lower than the placebo:
4.32 +/- 0.37 vs 7.89 +/- 1.0 micromol per ml, respectively. Vitamin
C supplementation, on the other hand, elevated both the resting and
exercise plasma levels of MDA. None of the supplemental phases had
any significant effect on performance. In conclusion, the results
indicate that 400 IU/day of vitamin E reduces membrane damage more
effectively than vitamin C but does not enhance performance.
Athletes are encouraged to include antioxidants, such as vitamin E
and C, in their diet to counteract these detrimental effects of
exercise. The data presented here suggests that 400 IU/day of
vitamin E will provide adequate protection but supplementing the
diet with 1 g per day of vitamin C may promote cellular damage.
However neither of these vitamins, either alone or in combination,
will enhance exercise performance."


1. Richard J. Bloomer1, Allan H. Goldfarb2, Michael J. Mckenzie2,
Oxidative Stress Response to Aerobic Exercise: Comparison of
2006 by the American College of Sports Medicine, DOI:
10.1249/01.mss.0000222839.51144.3e, ... 202006.pdf

2. Effects of vitamin E and C supplementation either alone or in
combination on exercise-induced lipid peroxidation in trained
cyclists in J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):792-800.

--- END ---

Going back to a couple sentences that Dr. Misner wrote - "IF you know that your food intake is supplying adequate antioxidants to neutralize exercise-induced free radicals, then you may not need to take Premium Insurance Caps at all. The problem is exactly that... most of us do not know that our food intakes are providing the needed antioxidants to reduce free radicals - I would encourage you to read the article "Supplementation - A necessity for athletes."

This article can be found in our supplementary booklet, ""The Hammer Nutrition Fuels & Supplements - Everything You Need to Know" ( ... 5.15mb.pdf), and I think it makes an excellent case for the use of supplements (including antioxidants) in amounts above and beyond the old standard, the Reference Daily Intake. The article starts on page 32 and provides a lot of useful information, including that from Dr. Shari Lieberman (see the section entitled "The Recommended Daily Allowance: Recommended for what?").

It also includes some research-based information from both Dr. Misner and Dr. Bruce Ames. In the section entitled "Even the best of diets is not enough" the following is written:

Eating whole foods is by far the best way to supply your body with the myriad plant-derived, health-benefiting phytochemicals, but today’s food supply can’t provide all of the basic vitamins and minerals. Our food simply won’t even meet the nutrient needs of average people, let alone athletes. Even more sobering is the ever-increasing body of research that suggests that many people’s diets are insufficient in supplying enough nutrients to prevent a deficiency disease.

Did you get that? Forget about providing enough nutrients to promote optimal health, many people do not eat enough quality food to meet the minimal Reference Daily Intake (RDI) micronutrient requirements for preventing deficiency-related disorders. Misner’s hallmark paper, “Food May Not Provide Sufficient Micronutrients to Avoid Deficiency” (Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients 261:49-52, April 2005, available at
diet_deficiencies.pdf) is but one effort to point out this startling problem.

And Dr. Misner is not the only one who suggests that diet alone does not
provide adequate disease-preventative micronutrients at the current RDI
level. The research of the distinguished nutritional scientist Bruce Ames, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, also presents a hypothesis that implies micronutrient deficiency may eventually deteriorate the quality of whole human cell
health. A portion of Professor Ames’ abstract reads as follows:

Inadequate dietary intakes of vitamins and minerals are widespread, most likely due to excessive consumption of energy-rich, micronutrient-poor, refined food. Inadequate intakes may result in chronic metabolic disruption, including mitochondrial decay. Deficiencies in many micronutrients cause DNA damage, such as chromosome breaks, in cultured human cells or in vivo. Some of these deficiencies also cause mitochondrial decay with oxidant leakage and cellular aging and are associated with late onset diseases such as cancer.

Reference: Ames BN, Low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging through allocation of scarce micronutrients by triage, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2006; 103 (47): 17589-94. (Address: Nutrition and Metabolism Center, Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, CA 94609, USA). ... med_docsum

--- END ---

I have nothing but respect for Dr. Mirkin but in this instance, based on everything we know about supplementation with antioxidants above and beyond the RDI (and I think Dr. Lieberman points this out well), I am in respectful disagreement with some of his conclusions.

One of many, many articles available that discuss the benefits of antioxidant supplementation is from the Life Extension Foundation, which I hope you will find interesting and useful: ... nts_01.htm ... nts_02.htm


Steve Born
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Re: Usefulness of high C and E in PIC

Postby cmc » Tue May 31, 2011 6:36 pm

Hi Jon,

I just read this blog post yesterday, written by a dietician in Australia, that touches on the your question. You might find it interesting as well. ... your-info/

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Re: Usefulness of high C and E in PIC

Postby JonH » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:11 am

Thanks Steve and Dr. Misner for your prompt and thorough reply to my concerns about taking vitamins C and E at the high level in PIC (and RCS). After reading your response and the articles referenced I feel so much better about the protocol that has actually served me so well the last five to six years, taking both Hammer PIC and RCS. I also rely on Hammer fuels and supplements including HEED and Sustained Energy, Endurolytes, Recoverite, Hammer Bars, Whey, Tissue Rejuvenator, Super AO, Endurance Amino, AO Booster and Mito Caps. After decades of riding, I attribute much of my continuing improvement (at age 47) to Hammer! I am in the best shape of my life and have even had some fun and success at road racing (this is my first year).
~ Jon Harbert
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Location: Decatur (Atlanta area), GA USA

Re: Usefulness of high C and E in PIC

Postby Mitch_S » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:20 pm


Great link!

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