European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 89, Issue 3–4, pp 393–400 | Cite as

Post-exercise vitamin C supplementation and recovery from demanding exercise

  • D. ThompsonEmail author
  • C. Williams
  • P. Garcia-Roves
  • S. J. McGregor
  • F. McArdle
  • M. J. Jackson
Original Article


The aim of this study was to investigate whether post-exercise vitamin C supplementation influences recovery from an unaccustomed bout of exercise. Sixteen male subjects were allocated to either a placebo (P; n=8) or vitamin C (VC) group (n=8). Subjects performed a prolonged (90-min) intermittent shuttle-running test, and supplementation began after the cessation of exercise. Immediately after exercise the VC group consumed 200 mg of VC dissolved in a 500 ml drink, whereas the subjects in the P group consumed the drink alone. Later on the same day and then in the morning and evening of the following 2 days, subjects consumed additional identical drinks. Plasma VC concentrations in the VC group increased above those in the P group 1 h after exercise and remained above P values for the 3 days after exercise. Nevertheless, post-exercise VC supplementation was not associated with improved recovery. Post-exercise serum creatine kinase activities and myoglobin concentrations were unaffected by supplementation. Muscle soreness and the recovery of muscle function in the leg flexors and extensors were not different in VC and P groups. Furthermore, although plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 and malondialdehyde increased following exercise, there was no difference between VC and P groups. These results suggest that either free radicals are not involved in delaying the recovery process following a bout of unaccustomed exercise, or that the consumption of VC wholly after exercise is unable to deliver this antioxidant to the appropriate sites with sufficient expediency to improve recovery.


Muscle soreness Muscle damage Free radicals Antioxidant Ascorbic acid 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of SmithKline Beecham, UK. The work described in this paper complies with the current laws of the UK.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Thompson
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. Williams
    • 2
  • P. Garcia-Roves
    • 2
  • S. J. McGregor
    • 2
  • F. McArdle
    • 3
  • M. J. Jackson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sport and Exercise ScienceUniversity of BathBathUK
  2. 2.Human Muscle Metabolism Research GroupLoughborough UniversityLoughborough UK
  3. 3.Muscle Research Centre, Department of MedicineUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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