The effect of dietary (poly)phenols on exercise-induced physiological adaptations: A systematic review and meta-analysis of human intervention trials

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2022;62(11):2872-2887. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1860898. Epub 2020 Dec 24.


We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine whether (poly)phenol supplementation augments the physiological adaptations to exercise training. Eligible studies administered a (poly)phenol supplement alongside ≥2 weeks of supervised exercise in adult humans. After screening, 22 studies were included in the analysis. Isoflavones and green tea (poly)phenols were administered most frequently. Quality assessments suggested most studies were free from bias. (Poly)phenols had no effect on training-induced adaptations in muscle strength, peak power output, and V̇O2max, but enhanced exercise capacity (SMD: 0.67, 95% CI: 0.25 to 1.09, p < 0.01). (Poly)phenols had no overall effect on fat loss (SMD: 0.10, 95% CI: -0.10 to 0.29; p = 0.97) or lean mass gains (SMD: 0.06, 95% CI: -0.18 to 0.30, p = 0.62) but sub-analysis suggested that isoflavones increased lean mass (SMD: 0.25, 95 CI%: -0.00 to 0.50, p = 0.05). Resveratrol impaired adaptations in two studies, although this was a non-statistically significant finding (SMD: -0.54, 95% CI: -1.15 to 0.07, p = 0.08). Our results suggest that isoflavones may augment aspects of the adaptive response to exercise training, while resveratrol may compromise training adaptations. More high-quality research is needed to resolve the effects of (poly)phenols on exercise training adaptations.

Keywords: Phytochemicals; antioxidants; nutrition; oxidative stress; phenols; redox balance.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones* / pharmacology
  • Phenol
  • Phenols*
  • Resveratrol


  • Isoflavones
  • Phenols
  • Phenol
  • Resveratrol