Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
There is evidence in the literature that suggests a possible worthwhile role of antioxidants during athletic endeavors and exercise performance. Several studies have evaluated the antioxidant ability of beta-carotene and demonstrated a beneficial influence. However, these studies have investigated beta-carotene's effects within an antioxidant mixture which included other antioxidant vitamins. Consequently, this study attempted to isolate the antioxidant role of beta-carotene during exercise. Three parameters of beta-carotene influence were measured using eleven well-trained runners: serum malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration (a marker of free radical generation), 5000 meter race performance, and maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max). Subjects were tested using a double-blinded cross-over design. During the supplemental phase, each subject ingested 25000 IU beta-carotene daily. The results indicated that the beta-carotene had no statistically significant effect on MDA levels or VO2max. However, there was a statistically significant Improvement in 5000 meter race performance. In addition, 64% of the subjects noted a subjective benefit from the use of beta-carotene supplementation. Therefore, results of this study indicate that beta-carotene can provide a beneficial influence on race performance in well-trained runners. However, this investigation did not furnish an adequate explanation of the mechanism by which this occurs.
Leblanc, Kim Edward, "Beta-Carotene and Exercise Performance: Effects on Race Performance, Oxidative Stress, and Maximal Oxygen Consumption." (1998). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 6846.