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Vitamin E may reduce muscle soreness

By Kat Carney
CNN Headline News

vitamin E
A 2002 study found vitamin E helps reduce symptoms of muscle soreness, inflammation and muscle weakness.

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Vitamin E

(CNN) -- If a weekend workout has you hobbling around the office Monday, you might want to reach for the bottle -- one of vitamin E that is.

Vitamin E may help ease muscle soreness from a rigorous workout, according to a 2002 study.

The vitamin acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radicals generated during a workout. The chemical buildup may cause soreness in the muscles.

There are two basic types of muscle soreness -- one is acute and usually happens during or immediately after exercise. The other is delayed and occurs about 12 hours after a workout.

Acute soreness may be an expression of simple fatigue, probably the result of a buildup of chemical byproducts from exercise. Usually rest will help alleviate the initial discomfort.

But for those folks who wait until the weekend to work out rigorously, they may experience what's called delayed soreness. It's a normal response to overexertion and part of a process that leads to greater strength once the muscles recover.

In the study cited previously, vitamin E was shown to help reduce symptoms of muscle soreness, inflammation and muscle weakness. Participants used doses of 1,000 IU daily, but lower doses of about 200 to 400 IU may give exercisers the same benefits.

The researchers said that the physically fit may not need vitamin E after exercise. But most participants who took vitamin E reported lesser symptoms of muscle soreness and inflammation, researchers found.

One way to avoid muscle soreness is to stretch before a workout and cool down properly afterward.

The vitamin might be helpful for the "weekend warrior" types who don't always exercise on a regular basis.

Further studies need to be done on muscle soreness and vitamin E in women. The benefits on sore muscles are hard to predict in women, the study's author said.

One way to avoid muscle soreness is to make sure there's enough time to stretch before a workout and cool down properly afterward.

Also, gradually increasing the intensity of a workout will help decrease muscle soreness.

But consult a doctor if you still experience unusual pain over a longer period of time or if the pain persists.

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