Vitamin E limits oxidative injury in muscle during exercise

Vitamin E supplementation inhibits muscle damage and inflammation after moderate exercise in hypoxia

Santos et al., JHND Early View


Exercise under hypoxic conditions represents an additional stress in relation to exercise in normoxia. Hypoxia induces oxidative stress and inflammation as mediated through tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α release that might be exacerbated through exercise. In addition, vitamin E supplementation might attenuate oxidative stress and inflammation resulting from hypoxia during exercise. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of vitamin E supplementation (250 mg) on inflammatory parameters and cellular damage after exercise under hypoxia simulating an altitude of 4200 m.


Nine volunteers performed three sessions of 60 min of exercise (70% maximal oxygen uptake) interspersed for 1 week under normoxia, hypoxia and hypoxia after vitamin E supplementation 1 h before exercise. Blood was collected before, immediately after and at 1 h after exercise to measure inflammatory parameters and cell damage.


Percentage oxygen saturation of haemoglobin decreased after exercise and recovered 1 h later in the hypoxia + vitamin condition (P < 0.05). Supplementation decreased creatine kinase (CK)-TOTAL, CK-MB and lactate dehydrogenase 1 h after exercise (P < 0.05). The exercise in hypoxia increased interleukin (IL)-6, TNF-α, IL-1ra and IL-10 immediately after exercise (P < 0.05). Supplementation reversed the changes observed after exercise in hypoxia without supplementation (P < 0.05).


We conclude that 250 mg of vitamin E supplementation at 1 h before exercise reduces cell damage markers after exercise in hypoxia and changes the concentration of cytokines, suggesting a possible protective effect against inflammation induced by hypoxia during exercise.

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