Free radicals are unstable oxygen atoms created in the body from natural processes and environmental toxins such as smoke. These reactive molecules target protein bonds, DNA, and polyunsaturated fatty acids within your cells. Free radicals set off chain reactions that completely destroy healthy cells in your body. Free radical damage leads to many health problems later in life. In the more immediate future, free radicals damage your cells, thus impair athletic performance. Antioxidants are the body's defense against these cell-damaging radicals. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, removing them from circulation. Be sure to consume a fair share of antioxidants. Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E all help to produce antioxidant enzymes that neutralize free radicals.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are great to take following strenuous exercise. They are valuable antioxidants that reduce soreness and enhance muscular recovery. Be sure to consume adequate amounts of magnesium and zinc. Once again, be careful not to take excessive amounts of these minerals. Your complete multivitamin and mineral should be one that has adequate levels of all major nutrients. It is safe to take these 2 times per day. Browse through your local pharmacy for those multivitamins that are designed for athletes and performance.