A novel combined bioactivity / chemoactivity holistic approach for the evaluation of dietary supplements

Food Chem Toxicol. 2021 Jun;152:112159. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2021.112159. Epub 2021 Mar 28.


There is increasing evidence that the excessive generation of free radicals in the human body plays a major role in the pathophysiology and development of various diseases, closely associated with oxidative damage. In this frame, the consumption of antioxidant nutrients through food or dietary supplements may prevent from the harmful effects of free radicals on human cells. This work proposes a holistic approach consisting of distinct methodologies, suitable to evaluate the antioxidant and chemoprotective activity of three novel dietary supplements, each one containing active substances with complementary properties. In the first step, this approach includes in vitro studies to evaluate the antioxidant activity of the dietary supplements by measuring the parameters of free radical scavenging capacity, of reducing power activity, as well as, their ability to protect biomolecules from oxidation. Furthermore, the evaluation of their antimutagenic and antigenotoxic effects is also presented. SubsequentlySub, the specific effects of the dietary supplements were examined in three cancer cell lines (HepG2, HeLa, MKN45), by measuring redox biomarkers such as glutathione, reactive oxygen species and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, using flow cytometry and spectrophotometry. Our results indicate that all the dietary supplements exhibit high antioxidant, antimutagenic, antigenotoxic and lipid protective activity. The most prominent result is their capability to induce oxidative damage on cancer cells via the critical decrease of the levels of their intracellular glutathione, as well as the increase of ROS and lipid peroxidation levels after the administration of non-cytotoxic concentrations. We suggest that the proposed methodology could constitute a valuable tool for the characterization of dietary supplements based on their chemical and functional properties.

Keywords: Antioxidants; Cancer cell lines; Dietary Supplements; Healthy nutrition; Redox status.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antimutagenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antimutagenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Glutathione
  • Ascorbic Acid