2012 Volume 50 Issue 2 Pages 106-113
Antioxidant supplementations are commonly used as an ergogenic aid for physical exercise despite its limited evidence. The study aimed to investigate the effects of a polyphenol mixture and vitamins on exercise endurance capacity. Seventy regularly exercising male participants were randomly assigned to receive oligomerized lychee fruit extract, a mixture of vitamin C (800 mg) and E (320 IU), or a placebo for 30 consecutive days. The study results showed that oligomerized lychee fruit extract significantly elevated the submaximal running time (p = 0.01). The adjusted mean change was 3.87 min (95% CI: 1.29, 6.46) for oligomerized lychee fruit extract, 1.33 (−1.23, 3.89) for the vitamins, and 1.60 (−1.36, 4.56) for the placebo (p = 0.33 in between groups). Oligomerized lychee fruit extract significantly increased the anaerobic threshold by 7.4% (1.8, 13.0). On the other hand, vitamins significantly attenuated VO2max by −3.11 ml/kg/m (−5.35, −0.87). Their effects on plasma free radical amount, however, were similar. Our results suggest that a polyphenol-containing supplement and typical antioxidants may have different mechanisms of action and that the endurance-promoting effect of oligomerized lychee fruit extract may not directly come from the scavenging of free radicals but may be attributed to other non-antioxidant properties of polyphenols, which requires further investigation.