Background: Blood of cigarette smokers routinely displays decreased antioxidant capacity and increased oxidized lipids compared to nonsmokers. This is thought to be due to both chronic exposure to cigarette smoke in addition to low intake of dietary antioxidants, and is a routine finding in veteran smokers. No study to date has determined the independent and combined impact of dietary intake and cigarette smoking on blood antioxidant capacity and oxidative stress in a sample of young, novice smokers.
Methods: We compared resting plasma antioxidant reducing capacity (ARC; expressed in uric acid equivalents), serum trolox-equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), whole blood total glutathione, plasma malondialdehyde (MDA), and plasma oxidized low density lipoprotein (oxLDL) between 15 young (24 +/- 4 years), novice smokers (pack-year history: 3 +/- 2) and 13 nonsmokers of similar age (24 +/- 5 years). Detailed dietary records were maintained during a seven-day period for analysis of total energy, macro- and micronutrient intake.
Results: ARC (0.0676 +/- 0.0352 vs. 0.1257 +/- 0.0542 mmolxL-1; mean +/- SD, p = 0.019), TEAC (0.721 +/- 0.120 vs. 0.765 +/- 0.130 mmolxL-1, p = 0.24) and glutathione (835 +/- 143 vs. 898 +/- 168 micromolxL-1, p = 0.28) were lower in smokers compared to nonsmokers, with only the former being statistically significant. MDA (0.919 +/- 0.32 vs. 0.647 +/- 0.16 mumolxL-1, p = 0.05) and oxLDL were both higher in smokers compared to nonsmokers (229 +/- 94 vs. 110 +/- 62 ngxmL-1, p = 0.12), although only the MDA comparison was of statistical significance. Interestingly, these findings existed despite no differences in dietary intake, including antioxidant micronutrient consumption, between both smokers and nonsmokers.
Conclusion: These data, with specificity to young, novice cigarette smokers, underscore the importance of smoking abstinence. Future studies with larger sample sizes, inclusive of smokers of different ages and smoking histories, are needed to extend these findings.