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. 2009 Aug;23(5):1518-23.
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b339ac.

Martial Art Training Enhances the Glutathione Antioxidant System in Middle-Aged Adults


Martial Art Training Enhances the Glutathione Antioxidant System in Middle-Aged Adults

Peter C Douris et al. J Strength Cond Res. .


The purpose of this study was to compare the antioxidant capacity of physically active middle-aged martial artists to age-matched sedentary controls. Nine sedentary subjects (mean age 52.9 yr) and 9 martial artists (mean age 51.8 yr) who practice Soo Bahk Do, a Korean martial art and were age- and sex-matched performed a graded exercise test (GXT) using a modified Bruce protocol. Ages ranged from 41 to 58 years. A GXT has been shown to be an effective technique for inducing oxidative stress. Glutathione (GSH) is the body's most highly concentrated antioxidant, is the central component of the antioxidant system, and plays an essential role in protecting tissues against oxidative stress. Free radical oxidation leads to the transformation of GSH to glutathione disulfide (GSSG). Venous blood samples for GSH and GSSG were collected before and immediately after the GXT. Repeated measures analysis of variance were performed on the resting baseline values and immediate post-GXT values of GSH, GSSG, and GSH:GSSG to compare groups. The blood GSH, GSSG, and GSH:GSSG levels were significantly different (p < 0.001) between the 2 groups at rest and after the GXT. The Soo Bahk Do practitioners had higher resting levels of GSH and lower levels of GSSG and responded more effectively to acute oxidative stress than the age-matched sedentary controls. Soo Bahk Do appears to enhance the antioxidant defense system and may be an effective intervention for improving overall health by protecting against the adverse effects of oxidative stress that is associated with the free radical theory of aging. Health professionals should be aware of alternative methods of training, conditioning, and exercise that can improve the general adaptation response to oxidative stress.

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