Ingestion of antioxidants before or after exercise may not prevent or reduce muscle soreness after the workout, according to a research review published recently in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Antioxidant supplementation includes vitamin C and/or E, or antioxidant-enriched foods such as tart cherry or pomegranate juice, per the researchers.

The research team studied medical databases up to February 2017 and found 50 studies comparing antioxidant supplementation with a placebo, and reported results for a total of 1,089 patients (nearly 9 out of 10 were male, aged 16 to 55 years old, and ranged from sedentary to moderately trained).

Nine of the studies reported on the antioxidants’ adverse effects, and two found adverse effects. In addition, the researchers note, since a majority of the studies had aspects that could have affected the results’ reliability, there is some uncertainty regarding the studies’ findings and further research may need to be done.

The authors conclude, per the review, that there is moderate to low-quality evidence that high-dose antioxidant supplementation does not result in a clinically relevant reduction of muscle soreness after exercise at up to 6 hours or at 24, 48, 72, or 96 hours after exercise.

[Source: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews]