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Int J Sports Med. 2002 Jan;23(1):10-5.

Effect of Vitamin C and E supplementation on biochemical and ultrastructural indices of muscle damage after a 21 km run.

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Department of Human Movement and Exercise Science, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia.


This study investigated whether 4 weeks of daily supplementation with 500 or 1000 mg of Vitamin C and 500 or 1000 IU of Vitamin E could modify biochemical and ultrastructural indices of muscle damage following a 21 km run. Fifteen experienced male distance runners were divided into two groups (vitamin or placebo) and received supplementation for four weeks before completing the first 21 km run in as fast a time as possible. A four-week "washout" period followed before the subjects crossed over and received the alternate supplement for the next four weeks. They then completed a second 21 km run. Before, immediately after and 24 h after each run venous blood samples were taken and analysed for serum creatine kinase, myoglobin, malondialdehyde and vitamin C and E (before-samples only) concentrations. A subgroup of six subjects also had muscle biopsy (gastrocnemius) samples taken 24 h before and 24 h after each 21 km run, which were later analysed by electron microscopy. The two dosages of supplementation produced similar results, so a single vitamin group was formed for further analysis of results. Significant increases (p < 0.05) in creatine kinase and myoglobin, but not in malondialdehyde, were found post-run in both groups. However, no significant differences were found between the vitamin and placebo groups for creatine kinase, myoglobin and malondialdehyde concentrations recorded after the 21 km runs. A qualitative ultrastructural examination of pre-run muscle samples revealed changes consistent with endurance training, but little further change was seen after the 21 km run in either the vitamin or placebo groups. It was concluded that vitamin C and E supplementation (500 or 1000 mg or IU per day) for four weeks does not reduce either biochemical or ultrastructural indices of muscle damage in experienced runners after a half marathon.

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