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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002 May;34(5):798-805.

Contraction-induced muscle damage is unaffected by vitamin E supplementation.

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Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada.



Vitamin E supplementation may confer a protective effect against eccentrically biased exercise-induced muscle damage through stabilization of the cell membrane and possibly via inhibition of free radical formation. Evidence supporting a protective role of vitamin E after contraction-induced muscle injury in humans is, however, inconsistent. The present study sought to determine the effect of vitamin E supplementation on indices of exercise-induced muscle damage and the postexercise inflammatory response after performance of repeated eccentric muscle contractions.


Young healthy men performed a bout of 240 maximal isokinetic eccentric muscle contractions (0.52 rad.s-1) after being supplemented for 30 d with either vitamin E (N = 9; 1200 IU.d-1) or placebo (N = 7; safflower oil).


Measurements of torque (isometric and concentric) decreased (P < 0.05) below preexercise values immediately post- and at 48 h post-exercise. Biopsies taken 24 h postexercise showed a significant increase in the amount of extensive Z-band disruption (P < 0.01); however, neither the torque deficit nor the extent of Z-band disruption were affected by vitamin E. Exercise resulted in increased macrophage cell infiltration (P = 0.05) into muscle, which was also unaffected by vitamin E. Serum CK also increased as a result of the exercise (P < 0.05) with no effect of vitamin E.


We conclude that vitamin E supplementation (30 d at 1200 IU.d-1), which resulted in a 2.8-fold higher serum vitamin E concentration (P < 0.01), had no affect on indices of contraction-induced muscle damage nor inflammation (macrophage infiltration) as a result of eccentrically biased muscle contractions.

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