There has been recent debate in the scientific literature regarding the impact of antioxidant vitamins (like vitamin E) on muscular performance and growth. However, one thing is for certain, deficiencies in vitamin E lead to significant health and performance consequences.
A most recent article published in Free Radical Biology & Medicine provides convincing evidence that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin E in skeletal muscle is absolutely necessary for muscle repair and recovery. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, and since the membranes of muscle cells are primarily comprised of fats, then vitamin E is readily taken up by muscle cell membranes and protects them from free-radicals—this protective environment enables enhanced muscle repair and recovery. The researchers point out that low vitamin E levels, as observed in the elderly, lead to “frailty syndrome” which is characterized by loss of muscle strength.
ACTION POINT: During episodes of heavy training, your vitamin E needs may increase. As a general rule, in an effort to keep your skeletal muscle vitamin E topped up, we recommend taking a single 400iu dose of natural vitamin E (in the form of d-alpha-tocopheryl) with your breakfast every morning.
Labazi M, McNeil AK, Kurtz T, Lee TC, Pegg RB, Angeli JP, Conrad M, McNeil PL. The antioxidant requirement for plasma membrane repair in skeletal muscle. Free Radic Biol Med. 2015 Apr 3;84:246-253.