The assessment of oxidative stress in clinical practice and its importance in nutrition

N. Regano, E. L. Iorio, A. Guglielmi, S. Mazzuoli, A. Francavilla, S. Fregnan, G. Leogrande, F. W. Guglielmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An increased production of oxidative chemical species and/or a decreased efficacy of antioxidant systems can lead to the breakdown of the oxidative balance, thus generating the socalled oxidative stress, which is generally recognized as playing a relevant pathogenic role in early aging and in several inflammatory and/or degenerative diseases including atherosclerosis and hypertension (and their consequences, such as stroke and myocardial infarction), Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and cancer. In particular, the currently available scientific evidence indicates that there is a very close relationship between oxidative stress and nutrition. In a vicious circle where genetic factors and abnormal lifestyles favor the onset of oxidative damage, which in turn may decrease the bioavailability of antioxidants and amplify initial lesions, it is not easy to establish whether oxidative chemical species are the cause or the effect of the observed disease. However, one thing seems evident: the identification, by means of reliable analytical tools, of an impairment of the oxidative balance is the right premise for any rational attempt to correct the disequilibrium between oxidative chemical species production and antioxidant systems efficacy and hence to contribute, in a more scientifically solid and not purely empirical manner, to add life to years and years to life. The aim of this review was to analyze, with reference to the scientific literature, the analytical performance and clinical applications of currently available tests for the routine assessment of the oxidative balance, especially in the field of nutrition. The biochemical technology has given clinicians and nutritionists the opportunity to identify and quantify many markers of oxidative stress, which are currently used with the general purpose of preventing oxidative damage, diagnosing and monitoring oxidative stress and, finally, evaluating the indications and effectiveness of various antioxidant supplementations and therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-162
Number of pages14
JournalNutritional Therapy and Metabolism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • Antioxidant supplements
  • Antioxidant systems (AOS)
  • Biochemical markers
  • Oxidative chemical species (OCS)
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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