Are antioxidant supplements a waste of time?

A recent study in the Journal of Sports medicine has identified that taking dietary antioxidants in the form of supplements (e.g. tablets, capsules, powders) or antioxidant-enriched foods (e.g. food concentrates) in doses much higher than the recommended amounts (up to 10 times the recommended daily amounts) several days before and after exercise has been proposed to have only a very slight effect if any to prevent or reduce muscle soreness.

Overall, the review found that antioxidant supplementation might reduce muscle soreness very slightly in the first three days after exercise. However, these reductions were so small that they were unlikely to make any difference.

Antioxidants is one of those buzzwords that gets thrown around a lot, even though most people don’t fully understand what it means. We know that foods full of antioxidants are really good for us, and we should buy skincare with antioxidants to keep our skin healthy and ward off signs of aging. We need antioxidants, we should always say “yes” to antioxidants. But, why? What are these mythical compounds, and why’s everyone always making such a big deal out of them?
“Antioxidants are compounds found in food that stop or delay damage to the cells,” Lauri Wright assistant professor of nutrition at the University of South Florida.. They are naturally found in many foods, especially plants. They help ward off cell damage by “cleaning up” or removing waste products in our cells, called free radicals, before they can do harm. Antioxidants are released from the foods we eat through digestion and travel through the bloodstream and into cells where they do work on free radicals.

Taking all of this into consideration, antioxidants supplements are perhaps a waste of money. Instead, move more; exercise regularly; eat a balanced diet; one that includes at least five or more portions of rainbow-coloured fruits and vegetables. Because for now at least, there appears to be no quick fix to easing muscle soreness after exercise. In fact, it seems muscle soreness is actually an important part of the recovery process, and helps to make your muscles stronger and bigger over time. And it’s this important recovery process that will ultimately help to make you fitter and stronger in the long run.

Speak to us at the clinic if unsure