Oxidative stress and potential interventions to reduce oxidative stress in overweight and obesity

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2007 Nov;9(6):813-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2007.00692.x.


Purpose: Obesity may be a state of chronic oxidative stress. Oxidative stress may be the mechanism underlying the development of co-morbidities in obesity. This review provides a summary of the available evidence regarding systemic oxidative stress in young, older and clinical obese populations.

Methods: Medline was searched for all available articles published between 1975 and 2006 that evaluated oxidative stress biomarkers in resting conditions or following various interventions in overweight and obese humans.

Results: Obesity elevates oxidative stress in young, old and clinical populations as shown by elevations in lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde, hydroperoxides, 4-hydroxynonenal, isoprostanes, conjugated dienes) or protein oxidation (8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine). Lipid peroxidation is associated with several indices of adiposity and a low systemic antioxidant defence (i.e. antioxidant enzymes, tissue dietary antioxidants, glutathione). Oxidative stress may be exacerbated with acute exercise, advancing age or co-existing clinical conditions and may be corrected by improving antioxidant defences through fat volume reduction via surgery, pharmacological agents, exercise and/or dietary modification.

Conclusion: Oxidative stress is related to chronic disease in obesity, but is reversible with one or more interventions described above.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / adverse effects
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / prevention & control*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Hydrogen Peroxide