Intense physical exercise represents a condition that is often associated with increased production of reactive oxygen species and free radicals in various tissues; supplementation of antioxidants may be desirable to reduce oxidative stress and provide a larger protective margin against its possible consequences. The aim of the present study was to evaluate, in a group of professional handball players, the effects of short-term dietary supplementation with a standardized red orange extract (containing anthocyanins, flavanones, hydroxycinnamic acids, and ascorbic acid; Red Orange Complex [ROC]) on some noninvasive biomarkers of oxidative stress. Eighteen professional handball players and 17 healthy volunteers were enrolled in this study. The supplementation consisted of 50 mg ROC per capsule in micronized form; all subjects were recommended to take 1 capsule twice a day for 2 months. The end points of oxidative stress taken in consideration were the serum total antioxidant status, the serum level of thiol groups, lipid hydroperoxides and malondialdehyde, and the frequency of spontaneous sister chromatide exchanges in peripheral lymphocytes. The results obtained clearly reflect an overall lower level of oxidative stress in the athletes examined after short-term dietary supplementation with the ROC. Dietary supplementation with the ROC (which is endowed with strong antioxidant capacity) is able to decrease oxidative stress and thus might protect against its short- and long-term health consequences in athletes engaged in regular training programs.
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