Vitamin E may help ease muscle aches after a tough workout, a recent study suggests. Researchers believe that the antioxidant vitamin E, mops up the damaging by-products created by a strenuous workout.
As the body increases its use of oxygen, byproducts of oxygen metabolism, called free radicals, can do damage to muscle tissue. This damage can result in soreness and fatigue after strenuous exercise. Oxidative stress may also increase with age.
Those who are already physically fit probably do not need to take a vitamin E supplement to ward off what little post-workout soreness they might feel. However, infrequent tough exercisers, may receive greater benefits to using a vitamin supplement.
In both young and older men who took vitamin E, muscle damage, oxidative stress and inflammation all still occurred following intense exercise.
However, these effects were blunted. Young men saw the most benefits in terms of reduced muscle soreness and damage, but older men also benefited.
Whether women can get the same benefit is not clear, since circulating estrogens could reduce the potency of the antioxidant.
However, following menopause and the loss of extra estrogen, it can be predicted that older women would respond similarly to older men.