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Toxicology. 2010 Dec 5;278(2):211-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2009.09.006. Epub 2009 Sep 18.

Well-trained, healthy triathletes experience no adverse health risks regarding oxidative stress and DNA damage by participating in an ultra-endurance event.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.


Also physical exercise in general is accepted to be protective, acute and strenuous exercise has been shown to induce oxidative stress. Enhanced formation of free radicals leads to oxidation of macromolecules and to DNA damage. On the other hand ultra-endurance events which require strenuous exercise are very popular and the number of participants is continuously increasing worldwide. Since only few data exists on Ironman triathletes, who are prototypes of ultra-endurance athletes, this study was aimed at assessing the risk of oxidative stress and DNA damage after finishing a triathlon and to predict a possible health risk. Blood samples of 42 male athletes were taken 2 days before, within 20 min after the race, 1, 5 and 19 days post-race. Oxidative stress marker increased only moderately after the race and returned to baseline after 5 days. Marker of DNA damage measured by the SCGE assay with and without restriction enzymes as well as by the sister chromatid exchange assay did either show no change or deceased within the first day after the race. Due to intake during the race and the release by the cells plasma concentrations of vitamin C and α-tocopherol increased after the event and returned to baseline 1 day after. This study indicates that despite a temporary increase in some oxidative stress markers, there is no persistent oxidative stress and no DNA damage in response to an Ironman triathlon in trained athletes, mainly due to an appropriate antioxidant intake and general protective alterations in the antioxidant defence system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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