Exercise is healthy, but can also stress the body. Four new studies show how nutrients helped athletes heal from strenuous exercise.
In a coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) study, 18 highly trained athletes took 300 mg of CoQ10 per day or a placebo for 20 days and on six of those days trained strenuously for five and a half hours. Researchers drew blood before, during and after the study and found that on the 3rd and 5th days, all the athletes had signs of muscle wear-and-tear and inflammation, but the CoQ10 group had significantly lower levels than the placebo group.
In a green tea study, 14 healthy men, aged 19 to 30, drank a cup of green tea (with 2 grams of green tea leaves) or water three times per day during seven days of weight training exercise and then performed a bench press exercise test. Researchers found that compared to placebo, signs of inflammation were 64 percent lower in the green tea group, and glutathione—which protects cells from oxidative damage—was 37 percent higher. Doctors noted that the athletes ate an unbalanced diet with too little vitamin E and carotenoids.
In a running study, 36 very fit physical education students, average age 22, took 400 mg of vitamin E, 1,000 mg of vitamin C, these two vitamins together or a placebo per day for three weeks. In sprint and duration running tests, all three supplement groups significantly improved oxygen capacity (aerobic power) compared to placebo.
In a marathon study, 17 athletes took a low-dose combination of supplements, including 150 mg of vitamin C, 24 mg of vitamin E and 4.8 mg of beta-carotene per day or a placebo, before and during a 6-day, 151-mile foot race in the Sahara Desert. Researchers drew blood before, during and after the race and found that during the run, signs of cell damage were lower in the supplement group than in the placebo group. After three weeks of taking supplements, the supplement group had significantly higher blood levels of vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin A (retinol) compared to placebo.