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Acute and chronic watercress supplementation attenuates exercise-induced peripheral mononuclear cell DNA damage and lipid peroxidation

Fogarty, Mark C.; Hughes, Ciara M.; Burke, George; Brown, John C.; Davison, Gareth W.


Mark C. Fogarty

Ciara M. Hughes

George Burke

John C. Brown

Gareth W. Davison


Pharmacological antioxidant vitamins have previously been investigated for a prophylactic effect against exercise-induced oxidative stress. However, large doses are often required and may lead to a state of pro-oxidation and oxidative damage. Watercress contains an array of nutritional compounds such as β-carotene and α-tocopherol which may increase protection against exercise-induced oxidative stress. The present randomised controlled investigation was designed to test the hypothesis that acute (consumption 2h before exercise) and chronic (8 weeks consumption) watercress supplementation can attenuate exercise-induced oxidative stress. A total of ten apparently healthy male subjects (age 23 (sd 4) years, stature 179 (sd 10)cm and body mass 74 (sd 15)kg) were recruited to complete the 8-week chronic watercress intervention period (and then 8 weeks of control, with no ingestion) of the experiment before crossing over in order to compete the single-dose acute phase (with control, no ingestion). Blood samples were taken at baseline (pre-supplementation), at rest (pre-exercise) and following exercise. Each subject completed an incremental exercise test to volitional exhaustion following chronic and acute watercress supplementation or control. The main findings show an exercise-induced increase in DNA damage and lipid peroxidation over both acute and chronic control supplementation phases (P<0·05 v. supplementation), while acute and chronic watercress attenuated DNA damage and lipid peroxidation and decreased H2O2 accumulation following exhaustive exercise (P<0·05 v. control). A marked increase in the main lipid-soluble antioxidants (α-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol and xanthophyll) was observed following watercress supplementation (P<0·05 v. control) in both experimental phases. These findings suggest that short- and long-term watercress ingestion has potential antioxidant effects against exercise-induced DNA damage and lipid peroxidation.


Fogarty, M. C., Hughes, C. M., Burke, G., Brown, J. C., & Davison, G. W. (2013). Acute and chronic watercress supplementation attenuates exercise-induced peripheral mononuclear cell DNA damage and lipid peroxidation. British Journal of Nutrition, 109(2), 293-301. doi:10.1017/S0007114512000992

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 13, 2012
Online Publication Date Apr 5, 2012
Publication Date Jan 28, 2013
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal The British journal of nutrition
Print ISSN 1475-2662
Electronic ISSN 1475-2662
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 109
Issue 2
Pages 293-301
Keywords Exhaustive exercise; Watercress prophylaxis; DNA damage; Reactive oxygen species
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