Background: It has been shown that the antioxidant status was altered by the "live high-train low" (LHTL) method, however, no information is available regarding the antioxidant restoration during the recovery period.
Aim of the study: We tested the hypothesis that the antioxidant status is impaired by 18 days LHTL in elite athletes and remained altered after 14 days of recovery.
Methods: Eleven elite cross-country skiers from the French Skiing Federation were submitted to 18-day endurance training. Six (hypoxic group; HG) trained at 1,200 m and lived in hypoxia (simulated altitude of 2,500 m-3,000 m-3,500 m) and 5 (control group; CG) trained and lived at 1,200 m. Plasma levels of advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), malondialdehydes (MDA), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) lipid-soluble antioxidants (alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene and lycopene) were measured at rest, before (PRE), the first day after (POST1) and again 2 weeks (POST14) after the training. Intakes of vitamins A and E were evaluated from the dietary recording.
Results: In POST1, FRAP and TEAC decreased in both groups, however, the TEAC decrease persisted in POST14 for HG only. Lycopene and beta-carotene decreased in POST1 for HG and remained lower in POST14. Finally, AOPP increased only for HG in POST1. The general decline of antioxidant status for both groups might result from insufficient intakes in vitamins A and E.
Conclusion: This is the first study to show that the antioxidant status did not return to baseline 2 weeks after 18 days of LHTL training.