Supplements Made Simple - Vitamin E

What is it- and does a runner need it?


Posted: 5 June 2000
by Liz Applegate

This is adapted from the book, Eat Smart, Play Hard, by RW USA Nutrition Editor Liz Applegate.

Many researchers believe that the powerful antioxidant properties of vitamin E protect us from the age-related aspects of ailments such as heart disease and cancer. Studies also show that vitamin E supplementation – often at the level of about 400 IU a day – may help protect you from the oxidative damage caused by endurance exercise. This free radical–induced damage is what, in part, causes muscle stiffness and soreness.

I’d love to say that you can get all of the E you need from foods, but that’s very difficult to do, especially since 400 IU is more than 1,000 percent of the DV.

My recommendation: Look for a vitamin E supplement that contains no more than 400 IU. Take your supplement with a meal, since your body needs a small amount of fat to break it down. If you’d rather not take a supplement, then the best food sources are almonds and wheat germ; 1 ounce of wheat germ provides 50 percent of your DV. Fortified breakfast cereals are also good choices because they normally contain about 25 percent of the DV.


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