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Effects of dietary carbohydrate on delayed onset muscle soreness and reactive oxygen species after contraction induced muscle damage
  1. G L Close1,
  2. T Ashton2,
  3. T Cable1,
  4. D Doran1,
  5. C Noyes1,
  6. F McArdle2,
  7. D P M MacLaren1
  1. 1Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2University of Liverpool, Liverpool
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Close
 Clinical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GA, UK;


Background: Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) occurs after unaccustomed exercise and has been suggested to be attributable to reactive oxygen species (ROS). Previous studies have shown increased ROS after lengthening contractions, attributable to invading phagocytes. Plasma glucose is a vital fuel for phagocytes, therefore carbohydrate (CHO) status before exercise may influence ROS production and DOMS

Objective: To examine the effect of pre-exercise CHO status on DOMS, ROS production, and muscle function after contraction induced muscle damage.

Method: Twelve subjects performed two downhill runs, one after a high CHO diet and one after a low CHO diet. Blood samples were drawn for analysis of malondialdehyde, total glutathione, creatine kinase, non-esterified fatty acids, lactate, glucose, and leucocytes. DOMS and muscle function were assessed daily.

Results: The high CHO diet resulted in higher respiratory exchange ratio and lactate concentrations than the low CHO diet before exercise. The low CHO diet resulted in higher non-esterified fatty acid concentrations before exercise. DOMS developed after exercise and remained for up to 96 hours, after both diets. A biphasic response in creatine kinase occurred after both diets at 24 and 96 hours after exercise. Malondialdehyde had increased 72 hours after exercise after both diets, and muscle function was attenuated up to this time.

Conclusions: Downhill running resulted in increased ROS production and ratings of DOMS and secondary increases in muscle damage. CHO status before exercise had no effect.

  • CHO, carbohydrate
  • CK, creatine kinase
  • DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness
  • MDA, malondialdehyde
  • NEFA, non-esterified fatty acids
  • RER, respiratory exchange ratio
  • ROS, reactive oxygen species
  • o2max, maximal oxygen uptake
  • free radical
  • delayed onset muscle soreness
  • reactive oxygen species
  • carbohydrate
  • fat

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  • Competing interests: none declared