A dietary supplement attenuates IL-6 and CRP after eccentric exercise in untrained males

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Dec;35(12):2032-7. doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000099112.32342.10.


Purpose: This study investigated the effects of a dietary supplement on exercise-induced markers of cell damage and the inflammatory mediators C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).

Methods: The supplement contained mixed tocopherols, flavonoids, and docosahexaenoate. Forty healthy, nonsmoking, untrained males (aged 18-35 yr) were randomly assigned to receive either the supplement (N = 20) or placebo (N = 20) during the 14-d experimental protocol. Blood samples were collected on day 0 (baseline), day 7 (eccentric exercise-induced injury), day 10, and day 14.

Objective: Markers of cell damage (creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)) and inflammation IL-6 and CRP were assessed at these time points in conjunction with subjective range of motion (ROM) and perceived pain measurements. Statistical analyses were conducted using nonparametric methods (P < 0.05).

Results: Eccentric arm curl exercise was used to induce an acute phase injury response as evidenced by significant (P < 0.0001) increases in CK, LDH, and pain, as well as a decreased range of motion 3 d after the exercise. There were no significant differences between groups in CK and LDH responses. In contrast, there were significant group differences for IL-6 (P = 0.008) and CRP (P = 0.003). At day 10, by Mann-Whitney U test of changes, the placebo group had significantly greater increases in IL-6 and CRP than the treatment group (P = 0.05 and P < 0.01), respectively.

Conclusion: This study suggested that exercise-induced inflammation, evaluated by changes in IL-6 and CRP, was significantly reduced by the dietary supplement.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • C-Reactive Protein / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Placebos
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Tocopherols / pharmacology


  • Flavonoids
  • Interleukin-6
  • Placebos
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Tocopherols