Fight against vitamin E deficiency
Regular physical activity automatically increases micronutrient requirements. Indeed, the intense effort leads to the increase in the production of free radicals which will destroy the antioxidant vitamins. Exercise also leads to increased loss of micronutrients through the urinary tract and sweat.
For example, intense sports training causes a drop in thiamine level and accelerates the destruction of our vitamin E reserves by 20% (1).
In addition, the absorption of micronutrients can be temporarily reduced by temporary digestive disorders that affect some athletes after exercise.
People on a calorie-restrictive diet may also be deficient because of reduced vitamin intake from the diet.
Athletes therefore have every advantage in regularly supplementing themselves with vitamins in order to compensate for these phenomena.
Vitamin E and recovery
For an athlete who trains regularly, improving his recovery capacities is essential for long-term progress. Several studies have highlighted the positive effects of vitamin supplementation, especially vitamin E, on muscle recovery after training.
A group of well-trained runners received vitamin B, C, and E supplementation for 21 days prior to an event (2). Twenty-four hours after this run, muscle recovery is better thanks to the vitamins. On the other hand, the placebo group will need an additional 24 hours to recover. Research has also shown that the intake of antioxidant vitamins like vitamins A and E after intense physical exertion is also very important for muscle recovery (3). In three weeks, taking vitamins increases strength gains (+ 9.7% versus 6.3% with placebo) thanks to an acceleration in recovery between two workouts (4).
The positive actions of vitamin E also allow the athlete to improve his health.
In a study on vitamin supplementation, runners training 7.5 hours per week received vitamin C and E supplementation for one month. Total vitamin C intake was 277 mg versus 162 mg for the placebo group. For vitamin E, the group on antioxidants had an intake of 60 mg against 15 mg for the placebo group.
The main effect of antioxidants has been to raise the levels of vitamin E and C in neutrophils (immune cells). These results explain how antioxidant vitamins support the immune system, whose effectiveness is sometimes reduced after exercise (5).
By strengthening the antioxidant defenses of athletes, vitamin supplementation protects the physical integrity of athletes (6).
In another study, endurance athletes took a daily supplement of 152 mg of vitamin C + 50 mg of vitamin E for a month. This supplementation program helped protect the immune cells, which are normally destroyed by free radicals generated during exercise (7).
Protection of the brain and nervous system
A study has highlighted the effect of tocotrienols in palm oil on animal health. The conclusions are as follows: Palm oil rich in tocotrienols improved cognitive performance with attenuation of oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and apoptosis in animal models. In cellular studies, tocotrienols exerted prophylactic neuroprotective effects. (8)