It’s common knowledge that athletes often have strenuous workout routines. However, it’s less commonly known that such workout regimens can produce lots of oxidative stress.
Vigorous exercising produces lots of free radicals that may cause fatigue and muscle damage. And this may impair athletic performance.
Antioxidants (e.g., vitamins E and C) are known for their effectiveness against free radicals. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many athletes opt for antioxidant supplementation in an attempt to improve their athletic performance and combat muscle fatigue.
According to statistics, at least 50% of athletes use antioxidant supplements to stay fit and reach their athletic goals.
However, a relatively recent study published in Int J Environ Res Public Health suggested that taking supplements for athletic performance might not be as effective as so far thought.
Namely, there’s limited evidence about the effectiveness of antioxidant’s effectiveness on overall athletic performance. For example, scientific data show that vitamin E’s benefits regarding strength and muscle mass are more or less inconsistent.
Additionally, antioxidants act as signaling molecules and protect you from higher levels of physical stress. And there’s some evidence that supplementation may disrupt this mechanism.
Therefore, if we use antioxidants to oppose oxidative stress, our bodies may be fooled that they can do more than they’re actually capable of.
As a result, the use of antioxidants may lead to imperceptible muscle damage, as their action may prevent us from feeling fatigued on time.
So, because antioxidant supplements tend to disrupt anabolic signaling pathways and decrease resistance training adaptations, athletes should use them with extreme caution.
Still, they’re advised to maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and take their optimal daily dose of antioxidants from natural sources like these.