It is a well-known scientific fact that during heavy training your body is exposed to a substantial amount of oxidative stress. This is the result of exercise-induced increases in free radical production that can overwhelm the body's ability to get rid of them. Unfortunately, increased oxidative stress dampens the
status of the body leading to decreased cellular function, damaged DNA , and decreased exercise capacity.
In a recent study presented at the 8th Annual International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference and Expo held in Las Vegas, NV, USA, scientists from India illustrated that lycopene (from tomato juice) can improve oxidative stress and exercise performance in athletes. Specifically, 50 adult male track athletes were randomly assigned to either a control group or experimental group. Whereby, the experimental group drank 75ml of lycopene (10ug) rich tomato juice after their morning training sessions over 60 days.
After 60 days, the scientists observed that blood glutathione (the body's endogenous antioxidant) concentration approximately doubled in those who took the
. In contrast, those in the control group had a slight decrease in blood glutathione levels. In support, markers of oxidative stress were clearly improved in those in the experimental group compared to the control group. From a performance perspective, it was found that those who received lycopene rich tomato juice had greater training effects (longer distance travelled and more steps taken in 12 min run test) than those in the control group.
Ramaswamy L. and Indirani K. Effect of supplementation of tomato juice on the oxidative stress of selected athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2011, 8(Suppl 1):P21.