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Eur J Nutr. 2015 Feb;54(1):35-49. doi: 10.1007/s00394-014-0683-2. Epub 2014 Mar 19.

Diet supplementation with DHA-enriched food in football players during training season enhances the mitochondrial antioxidant capabilities in blood mononuclear cells.

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Laboratory of Physical Activity Sciences, Community Nutrition & Oxidative Stress Group, University of the Balearic Islands, Crtra. Valldemossa, km 7.5, 07122, Palma de Mallorca, Illes Balears, Spain.



Exercise induces oxidative stress and causes adaptations in antioxidant defenses. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of a 2-month diet supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on the pro-oxidant and antioxidant status of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) during football training and after acute exercise.


Fifteen male football players, in a randomized double-blind trial, ingested a beverage enriched with DHA or a placebo for 8 weeks. Blood samples were collected in basal conditions before and after the training period and after an acute and intense exercise.


The training season increased the carbonyl and nitrotyrosine index but decreased the malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. Basal catalase activity decreased in both groups after 8 weeks of training, whereas glutathione peroxidase activity increased mainly in the placebo group. Protein levels of uncoupling proteins (UCP2 and UCP3) and inducible nitric oxide synthase significantly increased after the training period. Acute exercise induced redistribution in the number of circulating cells, increased the MDA levels and nitrotyrosine index, and decreased the levels of nitrate. Acute exercise also increased PBMCs reactive oxygen species (ROS) production after immune stimulation. Diet supplementation with DHA significantly increased the UCP3 levels after training and the superoxide dismutase protein levels after acute exercise, and reduced the production of ROS after acute exercise.


Docosahexaenoic acid increased the antioxidant capabilities while reducing the mitochondrial ROS production in a regular football training period and reduced the oxidative damage markers in response to acute exercise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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