Taking vitamin C and E supplements hinders the functioning of muscle cells, says a study published in the Journal of Physiology. The study says that the supplements hamper the way the muscles react to exercises.
Dr Gøran Paulsen, who led the study at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, said that though the study recognised one particular trend, more research was required.
Dr Paulsen said, "Our results show vitamin C and E supplements blunted the endurance training-induced increase of mitochondrial proteins, which are needed to improve muscular endurance."
Each muscle cell comprises lots of mitochondria which provide energy to these cells. But the study revealed that not many extra mitochondria were produced on consumption of these pills. The extra mitochondria that are produced help deal with the increasing demands of the muscle.
Mike Gleeson, a professor of exercise biochemistry at Loughborough University, said mitochondria could not act as the deciding factor in such cases and what mattered more was the speed at which the heart and lungs managed to provide oxygen to the muscle.
An 11-week endurance trial found that when the participants were given either 1,000m of vitamin C and 235mg vitamin E or a sugar pill, no difference was detected in their performance. But blood samples and tissue biopsies hinted at changes in muscles.
Prof Gleeson told the BBC, "The bottom line is studies show changes in the ability to adapt to exercise could be impaired by high-dose vitamins, but until there are studies showing them affecting athletic performance people shouldn't be worried."