Protective effect of vitamin E on exercise-induced oxidative damage in young and older adults

M. Meydani, W. J. Evans, G. Handelman, L. Biddle, R. A. Fielding, S. N. Meydani, J. Burrill, M. A. Fiatarone, J. B. Blumberg, J. G. Cannon

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247 Scopus citations


The protective effect of vitamin E supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative damage was tested in 21 male volunteers. Nine young (22-29 yr) and 12 older (55-74 yr) sedentary male subjects participated in a double-blind protocol and received either 800 IU dl-α-tocopherol or a placebo daily. After 48 days, vitamin E supplementation significantly increased α- tocopherol in plasma and skeletal muscle. Subjects then performed a bout of eccentric exercise at 75% of their maximum heart rate by running down an inclined treadmill for 45 min. All vitamin E-supplemented subjects excreted less (P < 0.05) urinary thiobarbituric acid adducts after the exercise bout than placebo subjects at 12 days postexercise (35 and 18% above baseline in young and old supplemented groups, respectively, vs. 60 and 80% in young and old placebo groups, respectively). After exercise, the initial difference in α-tocopherol concentration of muscle between young placebo and vitamin E- supplemented groups was diminished and muscle lipid conjugated dienes tended to increase (P = 0.09) in placebo subjects. Placebo subjects had a significant decrease in major fatty acids of muscle biopsy taken immediately after exercise. When normalized for the hemoconcentration effects of exercise, the plasma concentration of vitamins E and C and uric acid showed no significant change. The alterations in fatty acid composition, vitamin E, and lipid conjugated dienes in muscle and in urinary lipid peroxides in controls after eccentric exercise are consistent with the concept that vitamin E provides protection against exercise-induced oxidative injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R992-R998
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 33-5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • age
  • exercise
  • lipid peroxidation
  • muscle
  • vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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