Int J Sports Med 2021; 42(05): 441-447
DOI: 10.1055/a-1255-2863
Physiology & Biochemistry

Dietary Cysteine Intake is Associated with Blood Glutathione Levels and Isometric Strength

1   Department of Physical Education and Sport Science at Serres, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Panagiotis N. Chatzinikolaou
1   Department of Physical Education and Sport Science at Serres, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
2   Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Flora V. Bousiou
3   Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Vasiliki J. Malliou
3   Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Sousana K. Papadopoulou
4   Department of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Panagiota Potsaki
4   Department of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Anastasios A. Theodorou
5   Department of Health Sciences, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Antonios Kyparos
1   Department of Physical Education and Sport Science at Serres, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Nikos D. Geladas
3   Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Michalis G. Nikolaidis
1   Department of Physical Education and Sport Science at Serres, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Vassilis Paschalis
3   Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
› Author Affiliations


Glutathione is the most abundant cellular antioxidant and regulates redox homeostasis. Healthy individuals with certain antioxidant inadequacies/deficiencies exhibit impairments in physiological functions. The aim was to investigate whether low levels of dietary cysteine intake are associated with a) lower erythrocyte glutathione, b) increased plasma F2-isoprostanes, and c) impaired muscle function. Towards this aim, we recorded the dietary intake of the three amino acids that synthesize glutathione (i. e., glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine) in forty-one healthy individuals, and subsequently measured erythrocyte glutathione levels. Maximal isometric strength and fatigue index were also assessed using an electronic handgrip dynamometer. Our findings indicate that dietary cysteine intake was positively correlated with glutathione levels (r=0.765, p<0.001). In addition, glutathione levels were negatively correlated with F2-isoprostanes (r=− 0.311, p=0.048). An interesting finding was that glutathione levels and cysteine intake were positively correlated with maximal handgrip strength (r=0.416, p=0.007 and r=0.343, p=0.028, respectively). In conclusion, glutathione concentration is associated with cysteine intake, while adequate cysteine levels were important for optimal redox status and muscle function. This highlights the importance of proper nutritional intake and biochemical screening with the goal of personalized nutrition.

Publication History

Received: 11 April 2020

Accepted: 18 August 2020

Article published online:
29 October 2020

© 2020. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
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