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Vitamin E May Lessen Post
Workout Muscle Soreness

Excerpt By E. J. Mundell, Reuter's Health

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters Health) - A dose of vitamin E may ease that stiff ache some of us feel after a bout of exercise, according to the results of a study in healthy men. The study's authors believe the vitamin acts as an antioxidant, mopping up the damaging byproducts of a strenuous workout.

While the very physically fit may not need extra vitamin E after exercise, "if you are one to experience a great deal of soreness and fatigue after a workout--especially those people who do not always exercise habitually--vitamin E might be of benefit to help combat soreness and exercise-induced stress," said lead researcher Dr. Jennifer Sacheck, of Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.

She presented the findings here Tuesday at the annual Experimental Biology 2002 conference.

Exercise is one of the healthiest activities possible, but even exercise has its down side. As the body increases its use of oxygen, byproducts of oxygen metabolism--called free radicals--can do damage to muscle tissue. This damage can result in soreness and fatigue after strenuous exercise.

Sacheck's team knew that vitamin E was a powerful antioxidant, capable of soaking up excess free radicals. In their study, they had two groups of men--young men aged 23 to 35, and older men aged 66 to 78--take either a dummy placebo or a 1000 IU supplement of vitamin E every day for 3 months.

They then compared self-reported rates of post-exercise soreness before and after the 3-month study.

"Muscle damage, oxidative stress and inflammation all still occurred following intense exercise," Sacheck said. "However, these responses (were) blunted in both young and older men" who took vitamin E.

"Young men saw the most benefits" in terms of reductions of soreness and muscle damage, Sacheck added, but older men also benefited.

The Boston researcher said it is harder to assess whether vitamin E might ease soreness in young women as well, because the impact of circulating estrogens could reduce the potency of the antioxidant. But she noted that "following menopause and the loss of the extra estrogen, I would predict that older women would respond similarly to the older men."

Sacheck stressed that the already physically fit probably do not need to take a vitamin E supplement to ward off what little post-workout soreness they might feel. However, "'weekend warrior' types who are not always exercising on a regular basis may receive greater benefits to supplementation," she pointed out.

Sacheck also noted that while her team used a relatively high 1000 IU/day dose for the purposes of their study, the average individual could probably derive the same benefit from lower doses of between 200 to 400 IU vitamin E per day.


Reference Source 89

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