n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Augmentation of the acute phase response in vitamin C-supplemented ultramarathoners : original research article

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



&lt;I&gt;Objective.&lt;/I&gt; To investigate the effects of vitamin C (VC) supplementation on the alterations in systemic markers of inflammation as a result of participation in a 90 km down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in 29 subjects who completed the 1999 Comrades Marathon. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Interventions.&lt;/I&gt; Runners were divided into groups receiving 500 mg/day VC (VC500; N = 10), 1 500 mg/day VC (VC1500; N = 12) or placebo (P, N = 7) for 7 days before the race, on the day of the race, and for 2 days following completion. <br><I>Main outcome measures.&lt;/I&gt; Each subject recorded dietary intake before, during and after the race and provided 35 ml blood samples 15 - 18 hours before the race, immediately post race, 24 hours post race and 48 hours post race. These were analysed for full blood count, vitamins A, C and E, glucose, C-reactive protein (CRP), amyloid A, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) concentrations. All post race concentrations were adjusted for plasma volume changes. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Results.&lt;/I&gt; Analyses of dietary intakes and blood glucose and anti-oxidant status on the day preceding the race and the day of the race excluded carbohydrate intake or plasma vitamins E and A as significant confounders in the study. Mean pre-race concentrations of serum vitamin C in VC500 and VC1500 groups (128 - 10.2 and 153 - 10.2 mol/l) were significantly higher (p < 0.01) than in the P group (83 - 10.8 mol/l) and confirmed the additional dietary VC intake of both groups. Serum CRP concentrations were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the VC500 group than in the VC1500 and P groups. This finding was supported by similar trends in serum amyloid A, plasma IL-6 and IL-8. When the data from the two VC groups were pooled and the vitamin intake in the placebo (N = 7) and VC (N = 22) groups compared, CRP concentrations in the VC groups were significantly higher at each of the post-race time points (p < 0.05). &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Conclusion.&lt;/I&gt; These data confirm previous findings of a trend towards an enhanced pro-inflammatory response following VC intake > 500 mg per day.

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