Can Antioxidants Reduce Muscle Soreness?

Your workouts are going great! You are getting stronger and significantly reducing your body fat %. The only thing you would change is to not be as sore. Is it possible that addicting antioxidant supplements could help reduce the soreness?

First of all, what are antioxidants?

WebMD defines them as:

Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, and other conditions.

In review of 50 randomized placebo-controlled studies involving 1,089 subjects. The studies looked at antioxidant supplements, ranging from cherry juice, pomegranate juice, vitamins C and E, black tea extract, and other various antioxidants, taken before and after exercise.

All the data was collected and showed only a small advantage in reducing muscle soreness from the use of the antioxidants.

Why would antioxidants not help?

In my article, Why Am I So Sore, I explain that muscle soreness is actually microtramas to the muscle tissue. Protein or branch chained amino acid (BCAA) and time are the two ways to reduce soreness. The protein will help repair the microtramas and time, as they say, heals all wounds.

What are you to do?

While antioxidants are extremely beneficial in protecting the body from free radicals, they do not speed up the microtrama healing process. Instead of focusing on antioxidants, invest in a quality protein powder or BCAA and rely on time to heal those microtramas. Besides protein and amino acids, you can focus on increasing blood flow to your recovering muscles. For example, a light workout targeting that specific area or even massage. Keep in mind, while the soreness is annoying, it is a great indicator of how hard you are working and how much faster you will reach to your goals.


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Steven Zahn
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Pre and Post Partum Certified
Dragondoor Publications: HKC Russian Kettlebell Certified