Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2010) 09, 338 - 346

Research article
Cell Damage, Antioxidant Status, and Cortisol Levels Related to Nutrition in Ski Mountaineering During a Two-Day Race
Elena Diaz2, Fatima Ruiz2, Itziar Hoyos3, Jaime Zubero2, Leyre Gravina3, Javier Gil2, Jon Irazusta2, Susana Maria Gil1, 
Author Information
1 Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Science, University of the Basque Country,
2 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of the Basque Country,
3 Department of Nursing I, School of Nursing, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Spain

Susana Maria Gil
✉ Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, University of the Basque Country, Lasarteko Atea 71, 01007 Vitoria/Gasteiz, Araba, Spain
Publish Date
Received: 03-03-2010
Accepted: 20-04-2010
Published (online): 01-06-2010
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The aim of this study was to measure the effect of nutrition on cell damage, antioxidant enzymes, and cortisol during a two-day ski mountaineering competition. Twenty-one male skiers participated in the study. Creatine kinase (CK), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (AP), cortisol and C-reactive protein (CRP), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and reductase activities (GR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, total antioxidant status, and cortisol levels were measured in serum the day before and immediately after the race. Their diet was also analysed during the competition. Enzymes and cortisol levels significantly increased after the competition. CK and LDH and cortisol levels were negatively correlated to total energy, protein, and fat intake. Intake of vitamin A, B1, B2, B6 and niacin was negatively correlated to LDH and AP. A negative correlation was also found between CK activity and Na, Fe, and Zn intake. Cortisol levels were negatively correlated to the intake of vitamins C, B1 and B2, and niacin. A positive correlation was found between serum GPx and intake of energy, carbohydrates, proteins, A and B vitamins, and folic acid. Skiers with the lowest nutrient intake during the competition were the ones who showed greater cell damage and lower antioxidant enzyme activity and cortisol levels, which may impair performance and also cause injuries and accidents. Particularly, skiers should have high intakes of total energy, macronutrients, vitamins A and B, Na, Zn, and Fe in order to decrease the deleterious effect of strenuous exercise.

Key words: Energy intake, micronutrients, muscle damage, antioxidant enzymes, skiing

           Key Points
  • A two-day ski mountaineering race produced muscle cell damage and oxidative stress and an increase in cortisol levels.
  • There was a marked insufficient intake of carbohydrates which has been shown to affect performance
  • Those skiers with lowest nutrient intake showed greater cell damage, lower antioxidant activity and higher cortisol levels.
  • Nutrition should be carefully monitored and assessed in order to minimize the mentioned blood changes to avoid fatigue, injuries and also accidents in this type of sport; particularly when skiers must carry their own food.
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