Ljiljana Bjelaković, Gordana Kocic, Dragan Radovanovic, Vladimir Antic, Bojko Bjelakovic, Zorica Antic

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Physiological levels of reactive oxygen species, as an essential part of the homeostatic milieu, are required for normal functioning of skeletal muscle. High levels of reactive oxygen species promote contractile dysfunction resulting in muscle weakness and fatigue, oxidative stress, apoptosis and necrosis of muscle cells. It is known that both resting and contracting skeletal muscles produce reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species. The first suggestion that physical exercise results in free radical-mediated damage to tissues appeared in 1978. The newest researches investigate the mechanisms by which oxidants influence skeletal muscle contractile properties and explore how to protect muscle from oxidant-mediated dysfunction. Principal antioxidant enzymes include superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase. Numerous non-enzymatic antioxidants exist in cells within skeletal muscle fibers, the most abundant of which include glutathione, bilirubin, α-Lipoic acid , uric acid, and ubiquinones, or coenzyme Q (CoQ) andflavonoids. Dietary antioxidants are vitamins C- L ascorbic acid , vitamin A, retinol and their provitamins, carotenoids (especially β-carotene), vitamins E, tocopherol (especially a-tocoferol ), folic acid or folates. The usage of endogenous enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants protects muscle from strong damaging effects caused by free radicals during acute exercise or longer term physical exercise. Scientific researches now confirm that the long-term use of antioxidants is safe and effective. The actual recommendation for physically active individuals is to ingest a diet rich in antioxidants.


physical activity, human body, antioxidants, diet

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