Intense exercise is a physiologic stress that involves both a mechanical and biochemical response in muscle, tendon, and ligaments. The mechanical stress involves physical disruption or damage to cell membranes and normal cell structures adversely affecting cell function. There is also an associated biochemical stress response that involves generation of free radicals (oxidative stress) that triggers an inflammatory cascade. To facilitate optimal tissue repair and enhance recovery from intense exercise, a key concept is to protect cell membranes and mitigate the oxidative stress and inflammatory response to exercise. A powerful combination of supplements to achieve this is gamma tocopherol and DHA. Gamma tocopherol is a potent but uncommon supplemental form of vitamin E with unique properties beneficial for recovery from exercise. Alpha tocopherol is the vitamin E form routinely used in clinical intervention trials and dietary supplements because of its well established antioxidant effects. In addition to antioxidant activity, gamma tocopherol also has reactive nitrogen scavenging ability and anti-inflammatory effects and therefore represents a more therapeutically effective form of vitamin E. DHA is a long chain Omega-3 fat that is one of the fish oils. DHA intake has been associated with widespread health-promoting effects, especially heart disease and diabetes. Omega 3 fats reduce inflammation and therefore have therapeutic applications in a number of diseases that are associated with pro-inflammatory mechanisms such as rheumatoid arthritis and other joint-related diseases. Since DHA is highly unsaturated (6 double bonds), it is very prone to degradation by reactive oxygen species. There is synergy between these agents on biological markers of inflammation and oxidative stress due to the protection of DHA from reactive oxygen species-mediated degradation by concurrently administered gamma-tocopherol, affording the DHA greater net anti-inflammatory effect per unit dose administered. The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of these two synergistic supplements has great application as a safe and effective recovery formulation.
Himmelfarb J, Phinney S, Ikizler TA, Kane J, McMonagle E, Miller G. Gamma-tocopherol and docosahexaenoic acid decrease inflammation in dialysis patients. J Ren Nutr. 2007 Sep;17(5):296-304.