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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2001 Dec;41(4):505-12.

Lipid profile and redox status in high performance rhythmic female teenagers gymnasts.

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  • 1Nutrition Unit, Department of Paediatrics, H. S. João, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.



The aim of the present study is to evaluate the lipid profile and some parameters of oxi-redox status in a group of teenage female athletes. All gymnasts of the Portuguese National Team of Rhythmic (n=20) were included in the study. A group of untrained healthy female adolescents, matched for age, was also included (n=28).


Auxology, nutritional status and body composition were evaluated as well as biological parameters, dietary and training habits. Statistics included descriptive analysis, t-Student and Mann-Whitney for comparative study, and Pearson and Spearman correlations, according to variable distribution.


Chronological age was 14.3+/-1.7 and 14.6+/-1,7 years, respectively for gymnasts and untrained adolescents. Gymnasts showed lower body mass index (p<0.001) and fat mass (p<0.001) and also a hypoenergetic diet, with higher supply in protein (p<0.05) and saturated fat (p<0.01). Lipid profile showed higher HDL-cholesterol (p<0.01) and lower apo B values (p<0.001) in gymnasts, compared to untrained. Red blood cell's enzymes studied were higher for transmembrane NADH reductase of ferricyanide (TMR), (p<0.01), methaemoglobin reductase (MetHbRed), (p<0.01), and low-molecular weight protein tyrosine phosphatase (LMW-PTP), (p<0.0001) in untrained adolescents. Susceptibility of LDL to peroxidation (LDL-TBARS) were higher in gymnasts (76.3+/-20.3 microM/l versus 35+/-21.7 microM/l), (p<0.001). Correlations were positive and significant in both gymnasts and untrained, between LDL-TBARS and LDL-cholesterol (r=0.674, p<0.01 and r=0.544, p<0.05 respectively) and apolipoprotein B (r=0.721, p<0.001 and r=0.659, p<0.01, respectively). LDL-TBARS were negative and significatively correlated to TMR (t=-0.608; p<0.01) only in gymnasts.


The authors conclude that the practice of intense physical exercise in rhythmic gymnasts induces a compromise of nutritional status and unbalanced food habits. The intensive exercise also induces not only a protective lipid profile, but also a higher lipid peroxidation. Further prospective studies are important to evaluate the influence of intensive training on atherosclerosis development.

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