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Physiol Res. 2009;58(6):855-61. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

The comparison of antioxidant and hematological properties of N-acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid in physically active males.

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University of Physical Education Poznan, Faculty of Physical Culture Gorzow Wlkp., Department of Biochemistry, Gorzow Wlkp., Poland.


The aim of this study was to follow up whether the modification of pro-antioxidant status by oral thiol administration such as N-acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid affects the hematological response. Twenty-eight healthy men participated in two independent experiments. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of four groups: controls (C(NAC) and C(ALA)), N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). 1200 mg of N-acetylcysteine, 600 mg of alpha-lipoic acid or placebo were administered for 8 days in two doses. NAC or ALA administration significantly elevated plasma total antioxidant status (TAS) and reduced protein carbonylation (PC) and lipid peroxidation (TBARS) by more than 30 %. The reduced glutathione (GSH) and hematological parameters changed only in response to NAC administration. NAC significantly elevated the level of GSH (+33%), EPO (+26%), Hb (+9%) and Hct (+9%) compared with C(NAC). The mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and the mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) also increased by more than 12% after NAC. The numerous negative or positive correlations between the measures of TAS, PC, TBARS and hematological parameters were found, which suggest the NAC-induced interaction between pro-antioxidant and hematological values. Our study has shown that both N-acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid intake reveal an antioxidant action, but only N-acetylcysteine improves the haematological response.

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