Do endurance athletes need more antioxidants?

The increased need for antioxidants by endurance athletes is derived from a high level of activity. Increased exposure to oxygen through exercise translates into increased exposure to free-radicals, which can cause oxidative damage and stress on body tissues. Increasing the antioxidant rich foods (berries, artichokes, prunes, apples, pecans, plums, potatoes, cherries, and beans among others) in your diet will help bump up these powerful nutrients and give you loads of other essential nutrients as well.
Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT
Probably, and there is certainly no downside to adding higher levels of vitamins and minerals that are part of our body's antioxidant systems to your daily intake since endurance activities cause unnaturally high levels of oxidative damage. Meaning the body's natural production of antioxidants can be overwhelmed during and after intense or long-term exercise bouts, which can lead to poor recovery and sickness. High levels of vitamin C, E, zinc, other minerals and omega-3 fats involved in our body's antioxidant systems have been shown to reduce exercise-induced oxidative damage and in reducing instances or duration of post-event sicknesses in highly stressed athletes and soldiers. Although the answer seems intuitive, the question is, does this reduction in oxidative damage make a difference in the long-term to the average endurance athlete? Since there is certainly no downside but may be a big upside by at least using a daily multivitamin and mineral formula that contains the common antioxidant nutrients along with an omega-3 supplement, we recommend this protocol to all athletes. A complete health recommendation is available from our profile page:

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.