Marathon Runners and Vitamin E

Gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea, abdominal pain, and cramping are commonly encountered in long distance running. Clinically, 25 to 40 percent of long distance runners experience abdominal cramps or diarrhoea in association with competitive endurance. This being so, these symptoms may adversely effect performance. Recent studies using animal models have suggested that vitamin E supplementation may prevent these types of symptoms. To examine this, researchers from the University of Texas (2012) sought to determine if pre-race Vitamin E supplementation (1000 IU over the course of 2 weeks leading up to the event) would prevent intestinal injury in humans. Inclusion criteria included no non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs within 24 days of the race or Vitamin or mineral supplements containing Vitamin C or E 30 days prior to the race. In this study, 26 subjects completed the marathon, where finish times ranged between 2 hours 43 minutes and 5 hours 28 minutes. The results of the foregoing study demonstrated that the use of Vitamin E supplementation was associated with decreased frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms, yet did not influence severity. Moreover, Vitamin E played no role in preventing abdominal or muscle injury in long distance runners.

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