The influence of exercise on free radical chemistry is not well understood. It is yet to be confirmed whether adequate biochemical defense system exists in our bodies to protect us from oxy-centered radicals, generated by exercise. 50 trained elite cyclists undergoing exhaustive endurance training were compared with control group of 50 sedentary workers. Serum malondialdehyde (MDA), uric acid, superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, vitamin E and vitamin C and susceptibility to oxidative stress were assessed. Exhaustive exercise resulted in a higher levels (P<0.05) of serum MDA, vitamin E, vitamin C, higher levels of (P<0.001) SOD activity, but less significant (P<0.01) higher levels of uric acid, significantly (P<0.05) lower levels of catalase in elite cyclists, when compared with control groups of sedentary workers. We conclude that alterations in the activities of erythrocyte scavenger enzymes (SOD) and higher level of non-enzymatic defenses in trained subjects may not be sufficient to counteract the increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced due to endurance training.
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