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The effects of vitamin C and E on exercise-induced physiological adaptations: a systematic review and Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Lookup NU author(s): Tom Clifford, Dr Owen JeffriesORCiD, Professor Emma Stevenson, Dr Kelly Bowden DaviesORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Taylor & Francis Inc. , 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials examining the effect of vitamin C and/or E on exercise-induced training adaptations. Medline, Embase and SPORTDiscus databases were searched for articles from inception until June 2019. Inclusion criteria was studies in adult humans where vitamin C and/or E had to be consumed alongside a supervised exercise training program of ≥4 weeks. Nine trials were included in the analysis of aerobic exercise adaptations and nine for resistance training (RT) adaptations. Vitamin C and/or E did not attenuate aerobic exercise induced improvements in maximal aerobic capacity ([Formula: see text]O2max) (SMD -0.14, 95% CI: -0.43 to 0.15, P = 0.35) or endurance performance (SMD -0.01, 95% CI: -0.38 to 0.36, P = 0.97). There were also no effects of these supplements on lean mass and muscle strength following RT (SMD -0.07, 95% CI: -0.36 to 0.23, P = 0.67) and (SMD -0.15, 95% CI: -0.16 to 0.46, P = 0.35), respectively. There was also no influence of age on any of these outcomes (P > 0.05). These findings suggest that vitamin C and/or E does not inhibit exercise-induced changes in physiological function. Studies with larger sample sizes and adequate power are still required.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clifford T, Jeffries O, Stevenson EJ, Bowden Davies KA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

Year: 2020

Volume: 60

Issue: 21

Pages: 3669-3679

Online publication date: 18/12/2019

Acceptance date: 09/12/2019

Date deposited: 08/01/2020

ISSN (print): 1040-8398

ISSN (electronic): 1549-7852

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc.


DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2019.1703642

PubMed id: 31851538


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