Dietary antioxidants for the athlete

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2006 Jun;5(4):182-6. doi: 10.1097/01.csmr.0000306504.71105.6e.


Physical exercise induces oxidative stress and tissue damage. Although a basal level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is required to drive redox signaling and numerous physiologic processes, excess ROS during exercise may have adverse implications on health and performance. Antioxidant nutrients may be helpful in that regard. Caution should be exercised against excess antioxidant supplements, however. This article presents a digest for sports practitioners. The following three recommendations are made: 1) it is important to determine the individual antioxidant need of each athlete performing a specific sport; 2) multinutrient preparations, as opposed to megadoses of any single form of nutrient, seem to be a more prudent path to choose; and 3) for outcomes of antioxidant supplementation, performance should not be the only criteria. Overall well being of the athlete, faster recovery, and minimization of injury time could all be affected by antioxidant therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / poisoning
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Drug Overdose / prevention & control
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Sports*


  • Antioxidants