The New Postexercise Recovery Elixir?

The welcome sight of the beer tent at the end of many endurance events just got
a scientific credibility boost.

A new study reported in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (44 [1], 18–26) shows that consumption of nonalcoholic wheat beer (NAB) for 3 weeks before and 2 weeks after marathon competition reduces the postrace incidence of both muscle inflammation and upper-respiratory-tract infection (URTI). Beer possesses the same types of antioxidant properties found in red wine, according to prior research.

The Study

Two hundred seventy-seven marathoners were assigned to drink 1–1.5 liters
of either NAB or a placebo per day for the 3 weeks preceding the Munich Marathon and for 2 weeks postcompetition.

Postrace, researchers recorded subjects’ muscle inflammation and signs of URTI.

The Results

Those who drank NAB had 20%–32% less muscle inflammation and an incidence of URTI 3.25 times lower than their placebo counterparts.

Again, polyphenols (as in the popcorn study reported this month) were the winning antioxidant ingredient. Perhaps popcorn and NAB should be served as a dynamic duo in postmarathon beer tents!