Researchers from Tufts University in Boston say a dose of vitamin E may ease muscle aches and pains that some of us feel after a workout.
They believe the vitamin acts as an antioxidant, mopping up the damaging oxygen byproducts of a strenuous workout. 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.
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.
In the study, men aged 23 to 35 and older men aged 66 to 78 took 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 but these responses were blunted in both young and older men who took vitamin E. According to the report, young men saw the most benefits in terms of reductions of soreness and muscle damage.
The researchers say 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.
While this study 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 of vitamin E per day.
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