Effect of Tai Chi on Markers of Oxidative Stress: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 26;18(7):3458. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18073458.


Background: This study aimed to synthesize the evidence of the effect of practicing Tai Chi on oxidative stress markers (OxSM).

Methods: This systematic review and meta-analysis was conducting using the MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, ScienceDirect, Scopus, Epistemonikos, Lilacs, and Ovid databases to identify randomized (RCT) and non-randomized (NRCT) clinical trials that evaluated the Tai Chi effect on OxSM compared to sedentary behavior, walking or yoga. Pooled mean differences (MDs) with 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were estimated using the inverse variance method to determine the effect of Tai Chi on OxSM. PROSPERO register: CRD42019138362.

Results: Five RCT and five NRCT were included. Compared to sedentary behavior, regular Tai Chi practice increases the levels of the enzymes superoxide dismutase (MD = 34.97 U/mL, (95%CI, 9.45 to 60.48), 344 participants) and catalase (MD = 15.63 U/mL, (95%CI, 4.05 to 27.22), 110 participants), as well as reducing the levels of lipoperoxides (MD = -0.02 µmol/L, (95%CI, -0.04 to -0.00), 234 participants). For comparisons with walking or yoga, only one study per activity was identified comparing the effect on OxSM.

Conclusions: Regular Tai Chi practice increases the levels of superoxide dismutase and catalase, as well as reducing the levels of lipoperoxides. More studies are necessary to determine the effect of Tai Chi on OxSM when compared to other physical activities.

Keywords: Tai Chi; antioxidant enzymes; oxidative stress; walking; yoga.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Quality of Life
  • Tai Ji*
  • Walking