Physical activity is known to induce oxidative stress in individuals subjected to intense exercise. In this study, we investigated the lipoprotein profile and the plasma antioxidant status in a group of soccer players engaged in a regular training programme. As was expected for aerobic exercise, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and HDL3-C levels were significantly increased in the sportsmen (P< 0.05). Total plasma antioxidant capacity was 25% higher in sportsmen than in controls (P< 0.005). Accordingly, plasma hydrosoluble antioxidant levels (ascorbic acid and uric acid) were found to be significantly elevated in the soccer players (P< 0.005). In addition, these subjects showed high concentrations of α-tocopherol in plasma compared with controls (P< 0.005). Furthermore, an increase in plasma superoxide dismutase activity was also observed in relation to exercise (P< 0.01). The elevation in plasma activities of antioxidant enzymes and the higher levels of free radical scavengers of low molecular mass may compensate the oxidative stress caused by physical activity. High levels of high-density lipoprotein in plasma may offer additional protection by inhibiting low-density lipoprotein oxidation and thus liposoluble antioxidant consumption. Therefore, soccer players under regular training show an improved plasma antioxidant status in comparison to sedentary controls.

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