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Vitamin E Helps with Cell Health After Exercise

By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, February 17, 2009, abstracted from “Alpha-tocopherol supplementation prevents the exercise-induced reduction of serum paraoxonase 1/arylesterase activities in healthy individuals” in the February 2009 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Exercise, even as little as 10 minutes at a time (1), has been shown to help increase certain markers of health and help reduce risks of other chronic diseases that include type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, depression, and colon and breast cancer (2). But both strenuous exercise and prolonged periods of exercise may lead to an increase in free radicals which cause irreversible damage to your cells (3) and, over time, may increase your risk for injury and chronic disease (4).

As a result, supplementation has been looked at as a way to help prevent the adverse effects of both strenuous and prolonged bouts of exercise. Research has found that taking a multivitamin (5) as well as L-Carnitine (6) and Quercetin (7) can help keep the body from breaking down from excess free radical production. Now a new study (8) has found that vitamin E may also help.

In the study, 10 healthy male basketball players with an average age of 18 underwent a 90-minute workout two to three times per week. The workout consisted of warm-up and stretching (10 minutes), light running and basketball drills (30 minutes), and heavy training that included simulated full- or half-court basketball games (40 min), and a cool down phase (10 minutes). Each player provided blood samples before warm-up after the heavy training for 30 days with no supplementation. They then did the workouts for another 30 days but supplemented with 200 mg of vitamin E (as alpha-tocopherol) per day.

The researchers found that one particular enzyme, called PON 1/Aryl, decreased by more than 50% in the placebo group after the heavy workout compared to when they supplemented with vitamin E. The importance of the PON 1/Aryl enzyme is that its decreased activity has been associated with increased free radical production and resulting in increased cell damage (9). This result “indicates an increase in antioxidant action” of vitamin E, thereby helping decrease free radical production.

What’s more, two markers of muscle damage, creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), were 244% and 161% higher in the placebo group compared to the vitamin E group, respectively, showing that vitamin E helps protect muscle cells against free radical damage.

For the researchers, “[Vitamin E as alpha-tocopherol] supplementation may result in protection of the enzyme PON 1/Aryl…from free radical production.”

Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at mailto:PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his web site at www.CompleteChiropracticHealthcare.com

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