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Julie C. Jerabek '01

The Relationship Between Supplemental Intakes of Vitamin E (a-tocopherol) and Serum Levels in Female Athletes


Background: Vitamin E (a-tocopherol) is recognized as one of the most important antioxidants in the body. In this function, a-tocopherol may be important in preventing damage due to oxidative stress which over time may be linked to the development of heart disease, cataracts, and some types of cancer. Diet is the primary determinant of antioxidant levels, however, most individuals are not obtaining the recommended amounts for a-T in their daily diet. In addition, excessive exercise may increase oxidative stress. Therefore, supplementation of a-tocopherol to increase levels in the body may offer protection against the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Currently, the majority of a-tocopherol supplementation research uses doses higher than 400 IU (International Units) per day, therefore, this study examines if a lower daily dose of a-tocopherol will produce a beneficial increase in serum levels thus making higher doses unnecessary.

Methods: Fourteen female subjects were recruited from the College of St. Benedict Women’s Cross Country and Soccer teams. Informed consent was obtained by each subject, and the study was approved by the CSB/SJU Committee on Research with Human Participants. In adouble-blinded design, the subjects were supplemented at 100, 200, 400 IU of d-a-tocopherol, or a lecithin placebo per day. The supplementation regime was divided into four units of one week allowing each subject to cycle through each of the doses. At the beginning and end of each week, a small sample of blood (600 ml) was taken by a finger stick. In between each experimental period, a two-week washout period was observed. The blood samples were analyzed for a-tocopherol content using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Results and Conclusions: TBA

Faculty Mentor: Amy Olson, PhD, RD