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Vitamin E Protects Muscle From Damage During Training

Exercise is associated with a lot of oxidative stress that can lead to suboptimal adaptations to training if not appropriately counter-balanced. The body has several defense mechanisms to deal with the reactive oxygen species that are generated during exercise. However, these internal defenses can be overwhelmed during intense exercise and lead to illness or at least less than optimal adaptations. Certain nutrients such as vitamin E are natural antioxidants, yet it remains unclear whether taking higher amounts of vitamin E offers any protection from exercise-induced oxidative stress. Greek researchers decided to test the effects of vitamin E supplementation (200 mg/day as alpha tocopherol) in athletes training intensely. Blood was obtained before and after one month to determine the effects on markers of oxidative stress. Vitamin E supplementation was associated with significantly greater antioxidant capacity in the blood. Similarly, vitamin E resulted in reduced levels of circulating markers of muscle damage, as well as markers of DNA oxidation. The findings provide promising evidence that vitamin E supplementation at reasonable levels protects the muscle from the damaging effects of free radicals.

Tsakiris S, Parthimos T, Tsakiris T, Parthimos N, Schulpis KH. Alpha-Tocopherol supplementation reduces the elevated 8-hydroxy-2 deoxyguanosine blood levels induced by training in basketball players. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2006;44(8):1004-8.