Before heading to the gym to pump iron, you might want to down a glass of green tea. It seems that the antioxidants called polyphenols in green tea may protect your muscles from exercise induced stress. Put simply—it helps reduce the wear and tear on your body that intense physical exercise can produce.
As antioxidants, polyphenols help protect your body from free-radical damage that occurs as part of being a living, breathing organism, as well as more taxing body burdens such as smoking, environmental toxins, and yes, high intensity exercise.
Study participants consisted of 35 young men who had no previous strength training. During the four-week study, they received strength training and either green tea extract containing 640 mg of polyphenols or a placebo.
Results were based on performing a short-term muscular endurance test prior to and following the study. Each endurance test was followed by blood tests for markers of oxidative stress and damage, lipid hydroxperoxides and creatine kinase. Blood samples were collected at rest, 5 minutes after the muscular endurance test, and after 24 hours of recovery
As expected, the baseline muscular endurance test resulted in an increase in activity of creatine kinase and lipid hydroxperoxides in both the placebo and green tea extract groups.
However, supplementation with green tea extract:
- increased total plasma levels of polyphenols at rest and 5 minutes after the muscular endurance test.
- contributed to a rise of resting total antioxidant status in plasma.
- prevented increases in plasma creatine kinase activity after 24 hours of recovery.
This study builds on a growing body of research that supports many potential health benefits from green tea and its extract—from supporting cardiovascular health to promoting healthy gums and normal body weight.
University of Maryland Medical Center