Whether you’re a runner, a cyclist, or engage in any high-intensity sport, exercise fatigue can limit your performance. You’ve probably heard the old saying about an apple a day, but apples may do more than keep the doctor away – they may fight off exercise fatigue too. Here’s why an apple could be an amateur athlete’s best friend.
Does an Apple Extract Fight Exercise Fatigue?
Researchers put apples to the test by recruiting healthy volunteers to take Applephenon (a commercial type of apple extract), vitamin C, or a placebo the week before doing two hour exercise sessions on a bike ergometer. During these sessions, they did ten-second all-out sprints at various intervals over the two hours. The results?
The group who took the Applephenon apple extract reached greater speeds during the ten-second intervals of intense exercise compared to those who took vitamin C or a placebo. Some component in the apple extract reduced fatigue enough so that the riders were able to pedal faster during their ten-second sprints.
How Does Apple Extract Reduce Exercise Fatigue?
Applephenon is a commercial apple extract made from unripe apples. Unripe apples have a much higher concentration of polyphenols than ripe apples. Researchers believe these apple polyphenols help to offset some of the free radical damage that contributes to exercise fatigue during prolonged exercise. If so, taking an apple extract could be a natural way to exercise longer with less fatigue.
Is Apple Extract for Exercise Fatigue All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
This was a very small study involving only eighteen people, so it’s hard to draw conclusions based on such a limited number of participants. On the other hand, a similar observation was made in studies involving rats. Not only did apple polyphenols reduce exercise fatigue, they also increased muscle strength and reduced body fat – at least in a rodent population.
Apple Extract to Reduce Exercise Fatigue: The Bottom Line?
More research is needed, but taking an apple extract appears to be safe – and it may offer other health benefits as well. Some studies show apple polyphenols lower the risk of breast cancer and reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Another option is to eat more fresh apples, and get the benefits of the fiber too. Make them your snack of choice; but buy them from a farmer’s market since many commercial apples are stored in cold warehouses where they lose much of their polyphenol power. Munch on an apple – and exercise longer. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Nutraingredients-USA.com. “Apple extract may reduce fatigue for sporty types”
Muscle and Fitness Magazine. April, 2010. “Fat-Burning Fruit?”
Nutrition Journal 2004, 3:5