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Top 5 Supplements for Exercise Recovery

Image with caption "Top 5 Supplements for Exercise Recovery" with images of Omega 3 Fish Oil, Red Beet Powder, Vitamin C oranges, Black Currant Seed Oil, and Kava

We all know that exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise strengthens our muscles and bones, keeps our joints healthy, and helps our body maintain proper functioning throughout multiple organ systems including our brain, heart, lungs. 

While you’ve probably heard about pre-workout supplements that help you maximize muscle growth and energy, exercise recovery might be new to you. Exercise recovery includes nutrition, low impact exercises, restful activities, and supplements that help your muscles heal after a good workout. 

All exercise results in some muscle damage–in fact, small microtears are what lead to muscle growth and increased strength over time. But to make sure muscles heal properly and grow back stronger, they need additional nutrition support to help them build new tissues and reduce inflammation.

Why does exercise recovery matter?

In the long run, exercise recovery helps soothe exercise-related aches and pains and prevents future injuries. Learn our top five supplements for exercise recovery and how they can help you build a more effective workout routine. Here are the top five supplements for exercise recovery. 

    #5 Omega 3 Fatty Acids

    You’ve probably heard of Omega 3 Fatty Acids (sometimes called Fish Oil) before. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are a powerhouse supplement that help support brain health, cardiovascular health, mental health, and more. But the benefits of fish oil don’t just stop at the brain and heart–they extend to the rest of your body, too. 

    What is Fish oil? 

    Fish oil is a supplement derived from the tissues of certain fish such as salmon, herring, and tuna, that is rich in a special kind of healthy fat.

    This healthy fat is a combination of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), two types of Omega 3 Fatty Acids that are specific to marine life. There is a third form of Omega 3, called ALA (alpha-linolic acid) that exists in plants, however it occurs in much smaller amounts and the body needs to work harder to transform it into usable DHA.

    Why is Omega 3 important for exercise recovery? 

    Omega 3 is an essential nutrient used in a variety of cellular processes. One of its most important functions is as a key ingredient in our cell membranes. Part of the recovery process after exercise involves rebuilding damaged muscle cells and building new cells at the site of exercise-induced microtears–two processes that require lipids and fatty acids for constructing cell membranes. 

    Another important exercise recovery benefit of Omega 3’s are their anti-inflammatory properties. A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that long-term supplementation with Omega 3 Fatty Acids can help decrease post-exercise soreness and exercise-induced inflammation in athletes.

    Fish oil can also help reduce chronic inflammation from oxidative stress–exercise-induced or otherwise. 

    Where to buy Omega 3 Supplements

    Dr. Eric Snow's Omega Power

    When it comes to choosing a fish oil supplement, quality is essential. Not only are low-quality fish oil supplements less effective, how these supplements are processed and filtered can mean the difference between a healthy supplement, and one full of toxins and heavy metals. 

    Our favorite Omega 3 supplement for exercise recovery is Dr. Eric Snow’s Omega 3 Power. Omega 3 Power preserves the delicate structure of the Omega 3 fatty acid molecule using an innovative cold press and clay-filtering technique.

     This product is also stored in a UV safe bottle and  manufactured without solvents for optimum quality and purity. Each batch of Dr. Eric Snow’s Omega 3 Power is tested by a third-party lab to ensure it is free of heavy metals and toxic contaminants.   

    #4 Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is another staple supplement for general health. It’s great for our immune system, our skin, and cutting down on free radical damage. But many people overlook its importance in repairing and growing our muscle health. 

    Vitamin C and Exercise Recovery

    The importance of Vitamin C in exercise recovery is twofold: on the one hand, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help relieve the inflammation, soreness, and oxidative stress that occurs as a result of intense exercise. On the other: Vitamin C helps the body make collagen. 

    Collagen is the most common type of protein in the body. An integral part of our connective tissue, collagen provides strength and structure in our bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Without it, our joints and muscles would lack the flexibility to move smoothly and our muscles would be weak and brittle. 

    As exercise creates muscle damage, collagen production is a necessary part of the healing process as more healthy muscle is built and old, damaged muscle cells are replaced. 

    Where to buy Vitamin C supplements? 

    Cataplex® C, 360 Tablets

    Our top recommendation for Vitamin C supplements is Standard Process Cataplex C. Rather than synthetic, lab-made vitamins, Cataplex C offers whole food nutrition from organic sources including organic buckwheat, organic alfalfa, and organic reishi and shiitake mushrooms. Vitamins derived from food give our bodies nutrition in the way they’re used to absorbing it, leading to higher effectiveness.  

    #3 Black Currant Seed Oil

    Black currant extract is an extract of the black currant plant, a berry found in northern Europe and parts of Asia. Like fish oil, black currant seed oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that help build and maintain healthy cells throughout the body.  

    In addition to omega 3, black currant seed oil is also rich in omega 6 fatty acids, a compound known as GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).

    GLA is an essential fatty acid that the body uses to maintain joint health and fight inflammation. Some people use black currant supplements in place of NSAIDs to relieve joint and muscle pain, it can also be used to ease muscle fatigue after exercise. 

    Black Currant Seed Oil and Antioxidants

    Another benefit of black currant seed oil is its rich antioxidant profile. Specifically, black currant seed oil contains a high concentration of anthocyanins, a group of flavonoid antioxidants present in red, purple, and blue fruits and vegetables. 

    A 2021 study found that the anthocyanins present in black currants provided protection from muscle damage during exercise and faster recovery. Participants in this double blind study were given black currant extract before and after strenuous exercise. Compared to a control group who did not take black currant extract, participants who took black currant extract experienced less soreness and faster overall muscle recovery.  

    Where to buy Black Currant Seed Oil?

    Black Currant Seed Oil, 180 Softgels

    Our top recommendation for Black Currant Seed Oil supplements is Standard Process Black Currant Seed Oil. Using high-quality Black Currant Seed extract, Standard Process Black Currant Seed Oil offers antioxidant support in easy-to-take softgels without a bunch of fillers.  

    #2 Kava

    What is Kava? 

    Kava is a traditional ceremonial beverage prepared from the roots of the Piper methysticum plant, native to the Pacific Islands. The modern supplement Kava is an extract derived from the same plant. Kava extract is often used for relaxation, stress relief, and sleep. 

    Kava Extract and Exercise Recovery

    Often valued as a mental health supplement, few people realize that the benefits of Kava extract go beyond its ability to help relieve stress and anxiety. The active components of Kava extract, called kavalactones, also help reduce inflammation and muscle soreness by promoting muscle relaxation. 

    In addition, Kava extract can improve circulation and balance electrolytes, counteracting the effect of stress hormones released during exercise. 

    Where to buy Kava extract?

    Kava Forte, 40 Tablets

    Our top choice Kava extract is Medi Herb Kava Forte manufactured by Standard Process. Kava Forte is extracted with 100% water, a process which preserves the full spectrum of compounds (including kavalactones) for maximum effectiveness. Unlike poor quality supplements with little manufacturing oversight, Kava Forte is standardized to contain 50 mg of high-quality kavalactones per tablet. 

    CAUTION: US FDA advises that a potential risk of rare, but severe, liver injury may be associated with kava-containing dietary supplements. Ask a healthcare professional before use if you have or have had liver problems, frequently use alcoholic beverages, or are taking any medication. 

    Stop use and see a doctor if you develop symptoms that may signal liver problems (eg unexplained fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, yellow eyes or skin). 

    Not for use by persons under 18 years of age, or by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Not for use with alcoholic beverages. Excessive use, or use with products that cause drowsiness, may impair your ability to operate a vehicle or dangerous equipment. Not for prolonged use. Do not exceed recommended dose. For other contraindications and cautions consult your health care professional. Keep out of reach of children.

    #1 Red Beet Powder - Best Supplement for Exercise Recovery!

    Red beet powder remains an all-star supplement. It’s a caffeine-free energy-booster, an all-natural Viagra alternative, and a great way to support cognitive function as we age. But did you know that beets are also great at enhancing athletic performance before and after your workout? 

    Red Beet Powder for Exercise Recovery

    A 2021 meta-analysis of 9 studies found that beetroot juice improved the recovery of strength, jumping, and pressure pain threshold within 72 hours post-exercise. And not just that: beetroot supplements help your body use glycogen and oxygen more efficiently, promoting overall endurance. 

    Beetroot also significantly improves the function of the circulatory and cardiovascular systems due to its high nitrate content. The body converts nitrates to nitric oxide, which signals blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. 

    In addition, beetroot’s high antioxidant content promotes healthy inflammation control. Beets are rich in several antioxidants, including betalain, flavonoids, and polyphenols to help reduce post-exercise soreness and inflammation. 

    Where to Buy Red Beet Powder?

    Dr. Eric Snow's Red Beet Power

    Dr. Eric Snow’s Red Beet Power is our favorite pick for beet-based supplements. This filler-free, 100% organic beet root supplement powder offers high-quality nutrition you can feel. Not only does it offer all the benefits of organic beets, but Dr. Eric Snow’s Red Beet Power is fermented to help you build and sustain a healthy gut.