Open Access Response of urinary biomarkers of systemic oxidation to oral iron supplementation in healthy men

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Background. Urinary biomarkers are used in assessment of severe, clinical oxidative stress. Little is known, however, about their diagnostic value within the normative range.

Objective. To evaluate the response of urinary thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) as indicators of systemic oxidation in response to short-term oral iron and antioxidant supplementation.

Methods. Five healthy adult men participated in the pilot study phase and 12 in the definitive intervention trial. For 7 days each, separated by 12-day washouts, the subjects received different treatment regimens, consisting of 120 mg of iron, 120 mg of iron in refined palm oil, and 120 mg of iron in palm oil combined with one of the two doses of Carotino® Tocotrienol Carotene Mixed Concentrate (CTCMC). Creatinine-normalized urinary TBARS and 8-OHdG concentrations were quantified in samples taken from subjects with and without active supplementation. Temporal and correlative associations between TBARS and 8-OHdG were explored.

Results. Daily intake of supplemental iron failed to produce any increment in urinary excretion of TBARS or 8-OHdG. However, a significant within-individual correlation between the urinary biomarkers was observed (Spearman r = 0.697, p < .0001, n = 466). Both doses of CTCMC significantly lowered urinary excretion of both oxidation indicators.

Conclusions. Despite the lack of effect of oral iron on the biomarkers of systemic oxidation, they show a strong and significant mutual association within the nonpathological range of oxidative stress in healthy male adults.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106
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