Antioxidant nutrients have demonstrated potential in protecting against exercise-induced oxidative stress. a-Lipoic acid (LA) is a proglutathione dietary supplement that is known to strengthen the antioxidant network. We studied the effect of intragastric LA supplementation (150 mg/kg, 8 wk) on tissue LA levels, glutathione metabolism, and lipid peroxidation in rats at rest and after exhaustive treadmill exercise. LA supplementation increased the level of free LA in the red gastrocnemius muscle and increased total glutathione levels in the liver and blood. The exercise-induced decrease in heart glutathione S-transferase activity was prevented by LA supplementation. Exhaustive exercise significantly increased thiobarbituric acid-reactive substance levels in the liver and red gastrocnemius muscle. LA supplementation protected against oxidative lipid damage in the heart, liver, and red gastrocnemius muscle. This study reports that orally supplemented LA is able to favorably influence tissue antioxidant defenses and counteract lipid peroxidation at rest and in response to exercise.