Although weight trainers have always said vitamin E was needed for building muscles, until now the reason for this had not been known. New research has shown vitamin E is necessary for repairing a cell’s plasma membrane. What this means is that a cell is not able to properly repair itself after having been damaged without vitamin E.
Muscle cells often get membrane tears when being used a new study points out. Building muscle is a natural tearing and repairing process said researchers. If cell membranes are not repaired muscle cell death occurs. If this continues over a long time period you see muscle wasting. This often occurs with the elderly who do not intake enough Vitamin E. Researchers see implications for this finding for traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy and diabetes associated muscle weakness.
Rats were fed a diet of normal rodent food with the vitamin E removed. Some rats were given the food alone while other rats were given the food plus a vitamin E supplement. A training period to determine the rat’s inbred ability to run downhill on a treadmill was given. This exercise called eccentric contraction challenges muscles and often produces muscle soreness.
The study found the vitamin E deficient rats were challenged in their ability to run compared with the control group. Additionally these vitamin E deficient rats made more rest stops despite being given a mild electric shock when they stood still. Researchers also injected a dye which was unable to break through a plasma membrane if it was intact. The vitamin E deficient rats showed that their muscle cells were easily penetrated by the dye. The other rats did not exhibit this same result.
Further study is needed.
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