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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017 Jun;117(6):1073-1084. doi: 10.1007/s00421-017-3588-y. Epub 2017 Apr 5.

High doses of vitamin C plus E reduce strength training-induced improvements in areal bone mineral density in elderly men.

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Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.
Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.
Department of Endocrinology, St Olav's University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway.
Department of Public Health, Sport and Nutrition, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway.
Department of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.
Norwegian Olympic Sport Center, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Rheumatology, Hospital of Southern Norway Trust, Kristiansand, Norway.
Department of Neuroscience, Division of Rheumatology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.



Resistance training is beneficial for maintaining bone mass. We aimed to investigate the skeletal effects of high doses of antioxidants [vitamin C + E (α-tocopherol)] supplementation during 12-week supervised strength training in healthy, elderly men METHODS: Design: double-blinded randomized placebo-controlled study. Participants followed a supervised, undulating periodic exercise program with weekly adjusted load: 3 sessions/week and 3-15 repetitions maximum (RM) sets/exercise. The control group (CG, n = 17, 67 ± 5 years) received placebo and the antioxidant group (AO, n = 16, 70 ± 7 years) 1000 mg vitamin C + 235 mg vitamin E, daily. Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) at whole body, lumbar spine (L1-L4), total hip, and femoral neck were measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and muscle strength by 1RM. Serum analyses of bone-related factors and adipokines were performed.


In the CG, total hip aBMD increased by 1.0% (CI: 0.3-1.7) versus pretest and lumbar spine aBMD increased by 0.9% (CI: -0.2 to 2.0) compared to the AO. In the CG, there was an increase in serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1 [+27.3% (CI: -0.3 to 54.9)] and leptin [+31.2% (CI: 9.8-52.6)) versus pretest, and a decrease in sclerostin [-9.9% (CI: 4.4-15.3)] versus pretest and versus AO. Serum bone formation markers P1NP and osteocalcin increased in both groups, while the bone resorption marker CTX-1 remained unchanged.


High doses of antioxidant supplementations may constrain the favorable skeletal benefits of 12 weeks of resistance exercise in healthy elderly men.


Bone mineral density; Elderly men; Strength training; Vitamin C + E

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