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Researchers tested the ability of Carbon 60 to reduce the effects of muscle fatigue, by injecting it into the calf muscles of male rats, and found three key changes in muscle performance.
Muscle fatigue develops after physical activity and is designed to prevent muscular overload.
The symptoms of muscular fatigue include temporary muscle weakness and painful sensations, which can also lead to long-term health issues.
What happens during muscular fatigue?
The symptoms of muscle fatigue result from incomplete metabolic processes involving oxygen, that produce substances such as peroxides, free radicals and oxygen ions.
These types of substances are collectively known as Reactive Oxidative Species (ROS) and are at the heart of oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress can damage cells, including disrupting cell membranes, inactivating enzymes and inhibiting energy production, and is normally protected against by anti-oxidants.
The body produces natural antioxidants to counter the effects of oxidative stress, and anti-oxidant supplements have also been used successfully to reduce muscle recovery time after exercise.
Can Carbon 60 counter muscle fatigue?
Given that Carbon 60 is known to be a powerful antioxidant, researchers wanted to test the effect of Carbon 60 on muscle fatigue and recovery.
Carbon 60 is able to bind to up to 6 electrons and is great at cleaning up reactive oxidative species, and is more powerful than many natural antioxidants, including Vitamin C, Vitamin E and carotenoids.
To assess the impact of Carbon 60 on muscle performance, scientists fatigued the calf muscles of male rats, using electrical stimulation, until the muscles showed the signs of complete exhaustion.
They then injected either salt water or a solution of carbon 60 suspended in water, and observed the behaviour of the muscles under further stimulation.
The effects of Carbon 60 on muscle performance
Carbon 60 was shown to have a number of positive effects on the performance and recovery of the rat calf muscles.
1. Slower loss of strength
Firstly, they observed that the muscles that had received C60 took longer to show the signs of fatigue. In other words, the muscles became tired less quickly.
Specifically, they saw that the loss of muscle strength happened more slowly, such that muscle function was maintained for longer, before fatigue set in.
2. Higher levels of strength
Secondly, they also observed that the muscles retained a higher level of strength and function for an extended period before becoming fatigued.
And the total amount by which the muscular strength decreased during the fatigue stimulation was halved in the C60-treated rats from 85% to only 44%.
This means that the Carbon 60 was creating a greater endurance in the muscles, allowing them to continue functioning at a higher level despite the ongoing physical exertion.
3. Faster recovery
And thirdly, after the stimulation stopped, the muscles demonstrated a more rapid rate of recovery.
Examination of the metabolic products in the muscles showed that, in the C60-treated tissues, there were lower levels of oxygen metabolites, including hydrogen peroxide, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and GSH (reduced glutathione).
The implications of this are that the Carbon 60 molecules were reducing the normal byproducts of fatigue, and maintaining a more normal physiological state in the tissues, allowing the muscles to perform better and recover more quickly.
The research also demonstrated that the C60 molecules were able to pass through the muscle cell membranes, allowing them to exert their powerful antioxidant effects from within the cells.
The researchers concluded that the use of Carbon 60 leads to an increase in muscle endurance and a reduction in recovery time.
Read the full research paper here: C60 fullerene as promising therapeutic agent for correcting and preventing skeletal muscle fatigue by Prylutskyy et al, Journal of Nanobiotechnology, 2017, 15:8.