Exercise-induced free-radical production may be partly responsible for muscle soreness and damage following demanding exercise. A number of studies have investigated the effect of antioxidant supplementation although there is a paucity of information regarding vitamin C. Therefore the aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of vitamin C supplementation on exercise-induced muscle soreness and damage. Nine habitually active males consumed a 1 g dose of vitamin C 2 h before exercise, and on another occasion consumed an identical placebo. The exercise comprised a 90 min intermittent shuttle-running test, which was designed to simulate the multiple-sprint sports. Vitamin C supplementation increased plasma concentrations of vitamin C before exercise, and plasma concentrations continued to increase during the shuttle-run to reach a peak of approximately 200 micromol x l(-1) immediately after exercise. However, muscle soreness, and markers of both muscle damage (creatine kinase and aspartate aminotransferase) and lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde) were elevated to an equal extent after exercise in placebo and supplemented trials. Therefore acute supplementation with vitamin C had no beneficial effects although it is possible that such short-term vitamin C supplementation was ineffective because it occurred at an inappropriate time.