Antioxidant status of young children: response to an antioxidant supplement

J Am Diet Assoc. 2002 Nov;102(11):1652-7. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8223(02)90352-4.


Objective: To study oxidative stress indicators in healthy young children and their response to a commercially available fruit- and vegetable-based antioxidant supplement.

Design: Healthy children were randomly assigned to a placebo and a supplement (commercial antioxidant supplement produced from dried fruit and vegetable extracts and fortified with antioxidants, resembling a gummy-type candy). The placebo and the supplement were taken in 2 doses per day for 21 days.

Subjects: Participants were 39 children (26 boys and 13 girls) aged 5 to 10 years. Research was conducted at Primary Children's Medical Center and the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Main outcome measures: Breath and urine samples were collected on days 1 and 21 and assayed for breath pentane and urine 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine, malondialdehyde, nitrites, and 8-isoprostane as noninvasive indicators of oxidative stress. Urine oxygen radical absorbance capacity was measured at days 1 and 21 as an indirect indicator of the antioxidant capacity of the body. Three-day food records were collected at the beginning and end of the study to measure intake of dietary fruit; vegetable; and antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E.

Statistical analysis: Descriptive statistics, repeated measures analysis of variance, paired t tests, and Pearson r correlations.

Results: Markers of oxidative stress were not significantly different between the placebo and supplement groups at day 1 or day 21. The oxidative stress indicators of the healthy children in this study appear to be similar to those of healthy adults and were not changed by antioxidant supplementation. The diet record analyses indicated that mean fruit and vegetable intakes (2.75 servings/day) were similar to the national average intake for children in the United States.

Applications/conclusions: This research presents original information on the subject of oxidative stress in healthy children. The results of this study may be useful as reference baseline markers to use in conjunction with clinical dietary evaluations and for future research with healthy children and with children in disease states who are subject to elevated levels of oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Breath Tests
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxyguanosine / urine
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Dinoprost* / analogs & derivatives*
  • F2-Isoprostanes / urine
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / urine
  • Nitrites / urine
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Pentanes / analysis
  • Vegetables


  • Antioxidants
  • F2-Isoprostanes
  • Nitrites
  • Pentanes
  • 8-epi-prostaglandin F2alpha
  • pentane
  • Malondialdehyde
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Dinoprost
  • Deoxyguanosine