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Tomato-based carotenoids reduce muscle damage, oxidative stress and improve recovery

Recovering quickly from strenuous exercise helps people optimize an active lifestyle.

In this study, 20 male and female runners, ages 22 to 54, took a placebo or an 11 mg combination of the tomato-based carotenoids lycopene, phytoene, and phytofluene, with dinner for four weeks before taking a two-hour, high intensity running test designed to damage muscles. After the test, carotenoid levels were 73 percent higher for those taking carotenoids.

While both the placebo and carotenoid groups saw similar levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, and muscle soreness, signs of muscle injury were lower for the carotenoid group. To determine this, doctors measured myoglobin, a protein that signals muscle injury, and found lower myoglobin levels in the carotenoid group.

Doctors said the modest dose and short duration of the study suggest that carotenoids and tomato phytonutrients can help optimize muscle recovery after exercise.

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