This study investigated the exercise-induced changes in oxidative stress, nitric oxide (NO) metabolism and amino acid profile in plasma of omnivorous (OMN, n = 25), lacto-ovo-vegetarian (LOV, n = 25) and vegan (VEG, n = 23) recreational runners. Oxidative stress was measured as malondialdehyde (MDA), NO as nitrite and nitrate, and various amino acids, including homoarginine and guanidinoacetate, the precursor of creatine. All analytes were measured by validated stable-isotope dilution gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric methods. Pre-exercise, VEG had the highest MDA and nitrate concentrations, whereas nitrite concentration was highest in LOV. Amino acid profiles differed between the groups, with guanidinoacetate being highest in OMN. Upon acute exercise, MDA increased in the LOV and VEG group, whereas nitrate, nitrite and creatinine did not change. Amino acid profiles changed post-exercise in all groups, with the greatest changes being observed for alanine (+28% in OMN, +21% in LOV and +28% in VEG). Pre-exercise, OMN, LOV and VEG recreational runners differ with respect to oxidative stress, NO metabolism and amino acid profiles, in part due to their different dietary pattern. Exercise elicited different changes in oxidative stress with no changes in NO metabolism and closely comparable elevations in alanine. Guanidinoacetate seems to be differently utilized in OMN, LOV and VEG, pre- and post-exercise.
Keywords: diet; exercise; malondialdehyde; nitric oxide; plasma; vegan; vegetarian.