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Medicina dello Sport 2010 June;63(2):277-84


language: Italian

Oxidative stress and sport performance

Di Mauro D. 1, 3, Pagano F. 1, 3, Bonaiuto M. 1, 3, Speciale F. 1, 2, Magaudda L. 1, 3, Trimarchi F. 1, 3

1 Dipartimento di Biomorfologia e Biotecnologie- Università di Messina, Messina, Italia 2 Scuola di Specializzazione in Medicina dello Sport - Università di Messina, Messina, Italia 3 Corso di Laurea in Scienze Motorie e Sportive - Università di Messina, Messina, Italia


The cellular structures of living being undergo a continuous attack by the reactive oxygen species (ROS), a group of molecules or atoms, with a particularly changeable chemical condition which is subject to alteration through oxidizing and adaptation with other biomolecules. Such reactions are unfortunately harmful to the cellular structures of organs and tissues. In reply to this phenomenon, living organisms have a defence system, made up of enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidazing substances, which is able to oppose the action of free radicals and avoid the establishment of a condition calling “oxidative stress”. Athletes, more than other people, undergo a continuous attack by free radicals. In fact, sporting activity increases their production in conformity of different modalities, causing a loss of balance between the production of ROS and antioxidazing. Anyway, it has been pointed out the fact that the increase of the oxidative stress, proportional to the exercise, is attenuated by training which causes a kind of adaptation marked by an increase of the resources of the opposing and the damage repairing systems. The different typologies of sporting activities (power, endurance, alternate aerobic-anaerobic activity) influence in a different way the markers of the oxidative stress. It is not yet very clear if an exogenous charge, even combined, of antioxidazers (A, C, E vitamins) can improve the athletes’ performance levels, but it’s sure that the estimate of the levels of oxidative stress, allows to understand if it’s necessary to modify the training standards, the life-style and the diet of sportsmen.

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