Sports: the importance of natural antioxidants

The practise of sports is growing every year. More and more people of all ages finds it as an ideal way of keeping a reasonable state of healthy and quality of life. Many others make this decision because already have a risk factor or a pathology that requires to be physically active. In addition to this, sports have been shown to release endogenous neurotransmittors, endorphines, serotonin and dopamine among others.

This practise can be many times more intense than our body can control and this can cause some undesirable consequences on it.

Regular physical activity has many health benefits (Grazioli et al. 2017; Warburton and Bredin 2017). However, high intensity, long duration and short-rest time exercises may lead to severe oxidation, inflammation, muscle damage and consequently muscle pain (Powers et al. 2010; Wagner, Reichhold, and Neubauer 2011), as well as influence immunological response (Walsh et al. 2011), thus enabling the activation of transition factors, increasing the serum concentration of pro-inflammation cytokines and production of extracellular reactive oxygen species (EROs) (Garcia-Lopez et al. 2007).

Although exercise-induced moderate inflammatory responses and EROs are essential for physiological adaptations and muscle regeneration (Ferraro et al. 2014; Garcia-Lopez et al. 2007), if not controlled, may lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and decreased sport performance (Powers et al. 2010; Wagner, Reichhold, and Neubauer 2011). Therefore, it is important to resort to strategies to control or minimize muscle damage and inflammatory responses, allowing for fast recovery, particularly for athletes and individuals with intense exercise routine.

Literature also indicates that intense and prolonged physical exercises may lead to disorders in the immune system and in the GI tract (Dokladny, Zuhl, and Moseley 2016; Lim and Mackinnon 2006). These disorders, such as the increased macrophages activity, due to muscle damage, increased proinflammatory circulating cytokines, increased intestinal permeability, allowing the passage of gram-negative bacteria and translocation of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) (cell wall component endotoxin of the gram-negative bacteria) for systemic circulation, may enable the development of endotoxemia and hyperthermia (Lim and Mackinnon 2006).

Strategies to prevent oxidative stress and inflammatory response, and every improving sport performance and recovery are necesssary.  We are only worried about recovering our levels of glucose, slow-absorbing carbohydrates, proteins and others, but shoud pay a special attention to natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Hydroxytyrosol (HT) efficiently decreased Exe-induced oxidative stress and protected against Exe-induced impairment of the renal and immune systems. Endurance capacity was significantly increased by HT supplementation in Exe rats, but not in sedentary rats. HT benefits about the enhancement of physical performance. It is also intriguing to consider the possible relevance of HT’s benefits to various disorders with mitochondrial dysfunction (“Mitochondrial dynamic remodeling in strenuous exercise-induced muscle and mitochondrial dysfunction: Regulatory effects of hydroxytyrosol”. Zhihui Feng et al. 2011; Free Radical Biology and Medicine).

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