Skip to Content

Enhancing Muscle Strength and Quality of Life with Antioxidant Supplements in FSHD

Treatment with an antioxidant [supplement] resulted in enhancements in muscle strength and quality of life for individuals with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) in a small clinical trial.

The utilization of such [supplements] notably improved the muscle quality of patients’ quadriceps, a muscle group located on the front of the thigh.

By enhancing physical functioning, [supplementation] was observed to ameliorate the quality of life for individuals with this particular form of muscular dystrophy, which primarily affects the upper body and face.

“Our findings imply that antioxidant [supplementation] could offer a novel approach to enhancing the daily lives of FSHD patients,” stated the researchers.

Their research, titled “,” was published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Use of Antioxidant Supplement Demonstrated Strength Improvement in Leg Muscles

FSHD is characterized by abnormal production of the DUX4 protein, which is detrimental to cells. While the precise mechanisms linking abnormal DUX4 production to muscle cell dysfunction in FSHD are not entirely understood, oxidative stress is believed to play a significant role.

Oxidative stress, a form of cellular damage induced by reactive oxygen species generated during cellular energy production, may be mitigated by antioxidants, which can neutralize these harmful molecules.

Given the potential role of oxidative stress in FSHD progression, researchers from the University Hospital of Montpellier in France initiated a [trial] in 2012 to investigate the efficacy of antioxidant treatment.

The [trial] involved 53 adults with FSHD who were randomly assigned to receive either an antioxidant [supplement] or a placebo for approximately four months. The [supplement] consisted of 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 mg of vitamin E, 25 mg of zinc gluconate, and 200 micrograms of selenomethionine.

The primary objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of antioxidant treatment on patients’ walking capacity and quadriceps strength. The outcomes revealed a significant enhancement in muscle strength with the [supplement]. However, no substantial differences were observed in walking tests between patients receiving the treatment and those on the placebo.

In a subsequent analysis, the researchers examined MRI data from a subset of participants, comprising 10 individuals from each group.

The results indicated that the antioxidant [treatment] led to notable enhancements in muscle volume in the weaker legs of patients. Additionally, in the stronger legs, the [supplement] was linked to improvements in muscle quality, reflecting increased strength per unit of muscle.

According to the researchers, “Antioxidants may offer a relevant therapeutic avenue for FSHD patients and should be considered in future treatment strategies.”

Furthermore, biomarker data from the study participants suggested that the antioxidant [supplement] contributed to reductions in oxidative stress, confirming the intended effect. These findings imply that antioxidant supplementation can enhance the body’s antioxidant defenses and reduce oxidative stress.

Moreover, the researchers assessed the quality of life using the SF-36 questionnaire, which evaluates various aspects including physical functioning, pain, general health perceptions, social functioning, and mental health.

Individuals receiving the antioxidant [supplement] reported significant enhancements in life quality compared to those on the placebo, particularly in activities such as walking long distances, climbing stairs, and lifting groceries.

Although the study had limitations due to its small sample size, the researchers concluded that “antioxidants may offer a relevant therapeutic avenue for FSHD patients and should be considered in future treatment strategies.”