European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 92, Issue 1–2, pp 133–138 | Cite as

Prolonged vitamin C supplementation and recovery from eccentric exercise

  • D. ThompsonEmail author
  • D. M. Bailey
  • J. Hill
  • T. Hurst
  • J. R. Powell
  • C. Williams
Original Article


We have previously shown that vitamin C supplementation affects recovery from an unaccustomed bout of demanding exercise, with the most pronounced effect being that on plasma interleukin-6 concentration. However, because of the proposed role of interleukin-6 in the regulation of metabolism, it was unclear whether this represented a reduced response to muscle damage or some form of interaction with the metabolic demands of the activity. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of the same form of supplementation on a bout of exercise that initiated similar muscle damage but had a low metabolic cost. Fourteen male subjects were allocated to either a placebo (P) or a vitamin C (VC) group. The VC group consumed 200 mg of ascorbic acid twice a day for 14 days prior to a bout of exercise and for the 3 days after exercise. The P group consumed identical capsules that contained 200 mg lactose. Subjects performed 30 min of downhill running at a gradient of −18% and recovery was monitored for up to 3 days after exercise. Plasma VC concentrations in the VC group increased following supplementation. Nevertheless, downhill running provoked a similar increase in circulating markers of muscle damage (creatine kinase activity and myoglobin concentration) and muscle soreness in P and VC groups. Similarly, although downhill running increased plasma interleukin-6, there was no effect from VC supplementation. These results suggest that vitamin C supplementation does not affect interleukin-6 concentrations following eccentric exercise that has a low metabolic component.


Muscle damage Muscle soreness Antioxidant Ascorbic acid Interleukin-6 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Thompson
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. M. Bailey
    • 2
  • J. Hill
    • 2
  • T. Hurst
    • 3
  • J. R. Powell
    • 3
  • C. Williams
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sport and Exercise ScienceUniversity of BathBath UK
  2. 2.Human Muscle Metabolism Research GroupLoughborough UniversityLoughborough UK
  3. 3.Colworth LaboratoryUnilever ResearchBedford UK

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