So I can just take an antioxidant pill right?
Mmm, Not quite. Whilst supplementing with antioxidant vitamins and minerals can be beneficial if you have a pre-existing deficiency it does not seem that supplementing with antioxidants would be helpful for everyone.
For example, supplementation with Beta-carotene (a dietary precursor to Vitamin A often found in multivitamins) can increase lung cancer risk in smokers (3). Vitamin E supplementation seems to increase your risk of prostate cancer (4). Supplementing with certain antioxidants can also cause particularly negative interactions with some medications, such as Vitamin E or the polyphenol curcumin will interact with blood pressure medication and can cause severe bleeding.
Additionally, and somewhat surprisingly, antioxidant supplements don’t generally seem to do a lot in reducing risk of cancers or improving your chances once you’ve been diagnosed. On top of this, antioxidant supplementation can interfere with how your body adapts to exercise. It would appear that you actually need some of these increased free radicals to hang around for a while after exercise in order to stimulate the body to adapt to the exercise stress, getting stronger and fitter (5). Antioxidant supplementation literally steals your gains, bro!
Antioxidant supplementation has little effect on cancer risk and is known to have some health risks for certain people. It doesn’t seem to have the health benefits of dietary antioxidants.