The pain that results from starting a new exercise program is often enough to make people give it up. According to recent research, vitamin C may help make the transition to regular exercise more less painful.
Researchers at the University of Taths in the UK conducted a study into the possible benefits of vitamin C on recovery from unaccustomed exercise. Sixteen male participants were given either a placebo or 200 mg of vitamin C twice each day for two weeks. After the trial period, the participants were asked to perform a demanding 90-minute exercise test. The researchers found that those participants taking vitamin C had modest reduction in muscle soreness and improved muscle function over the placebo group.
In another study into exercise pain, researchers found that vitamin C can help with intermittent claudication—pain in the calf, thigh or buttock during exercise which is only relieved with rest. Intermittent claudication is caused by loss of oxygen to the muscles as a result of narrowed or blocked arteries.
At the University of Naples, Italy, researchers conducted a test to see if vitamin C could reduce the occurrence of intermittent claudication. Participants were asked to do exercise tests, with half of them taking vitamin C and the other half taking a placebo saline supplement. They found that those participants taking vitamin C had improved test results. The researchers concluded their findings provide a basis for further trials into vitamin C and other antioxidants for those with intermittent claudication.
Sources: Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2001 Dec;11(4):466-81; Atherosclerosis 2002 Dec;165(2):277-83; www.walkfarther.com