Grape contains flavonoids with antioxidant properties which are believed to be protective against various types of cancer. This antioxidative protection is possibly provided by the effective scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS), thus defending cellular DNA from oxidative damage and potential mutations. This study of healthy adults tested whether a daily regimen of grape juice supplementation could reduce cellular DNA damage in peripheral lymphocytes and reduce the amount of free radicals released. Sixty-seven healthy volunteers (16 women and 51 men) aged 19-57 years were given 480 ml of grape juice daily for 8 weeks in addition to their normal diet, and blood samples were drawn before and after the intervention. The DNA damage was determined by using the single cell gel (comet) assay with alkaline electrophoresis and was quantified by measuring tail length (TL). Levels of free radicals were determined by reading the lucigenin-perborate ROS generating source, using the Ultra-Weak Chemiluminescence Analyzer System. Grape juice consumption resulted in a significant decrease in lymphocyte DNA damage expressed by TL (before supplementation: 88.75 +/- 1.55 microm versus after supplementation: 70.25 +/- 1.31 microm; P=0.000 by paired t-test). Additionally, grape juice consumption for 8 weeks reduced the ROS/photon count by 15%, compared to the beginning of the study. The preventive effect of grape juice against DNA damage was simultaneously shown in both sexes. These results indicate that the consumption of grape juice may increase plasma antioxidant capacity, resulting in reduced DNA damage in peripheral lymphocytes achieved at least partially by a reduced release of ROS. Our findings support the hypothesis that polyphenolic compounds contained in grape juice exert cancer-protective effects on lymphocytes, limiting oxidative DNA damage possibly via a decrease in free radical levels.