Measuring oxidative stress (OS) and antioxidant reserve (AOR) may be useful in assessing the
physical condition of athletes taking part in competitive sports activities.
During the “Giro d'Italia” in May 2011, the redox state of an entire cycle racing team was monitored to determine
the risk of cyclists developing “redox inflammation”, which might herald the onset of pathological conditions.
Materials and Methods:
The nine members of the Liquigas cycle racing team were analyzed using a FRAS 4 Evolvo
System. OS was determined by measuring plasma hydroperoxides (d-ROMs test) and AOR by measuring water-soluble
antioxidants in the plasma (BAP test). The latter was expressed in terms of μEq of Vitamin C. Both measurements were
carried out at four different times during the race: baseline, in the morning two days before the start [B]; in the morning of
the rest day after 9 stages [M1]; in the evening after the most stressing mountain stage [MS]; in the morning before the
start of the last stage [M2]. Each cyclist's performance was determined at the end of the race according to an ordinal scale
ranging from 1 to 9.
The d-ROMs test values (M ± SD) increased over time from 245 ± 17.2 to 322 ± 50.9 CARR. U. (1 CARR.U.
corresponds to 0.08 mg/dL of H²O²). The BAP test values dropped from 2574 to 1962 μEq of Vitamin C. Athletic
performance was directly correlated with increases in OS (Spearman rs = 0.714 p < 0.05), whereas no correlation was
found with BAP (rs = 0.143 p> 0.05).
Redox balance assessment is a useful tool to: a) monitor athletic performance and predict the onset of redox
inflammatory state (RI), which might be detrimental to the athlete's physical condition; b) propose suitable
supplementation with particular foods and dietary supplements.