This study investigated if vitamin C supplementation before and after eccentric exercise could reduce muscle soreness (MS), oxidative stress, and muscle function. Eighteen healthy men randomly assigned to either a placebo (P) or vitamin C (VC) (3 g/d) treatment group took pills for 2 wk prior and 4 d after performing 70 eccentric elbow extensions with their non-dominant arm. MS increased in both groups with significantly reduced MS for the first 24 h with VC. Range of motion was reduced equally in both groups after the exercise (P > or = 0.05). Muscle force declined equally and was unaffected by treatment. VC attenuated the creatine kinase (CK) increase at 48 h after exercise with similar CK after this time. Glutathione ratio (oxidized glutathione/total glutathione) was significantly increased at 4 and 24 h with P but VC prevented this change. These data suggest that vitamin C pretreatment can reduce MS, delay CK increase, and prevent blood glutathione oxidation with little influence on muscle function loss.