Phytochemical-rich diets are protective against chronic diseases and mediate their protective effect by regulation of oxidative stress (OS). However, it is proposed that under some circumstances, phytochemicals can promote production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in vitro, which might drive OS-mediated signalling. Here, we investigated the effects of administering single doses of extracts of red cabbage and grape skin to pigs. Blood samples taken at baseline and 30 min intervals for 4 hours following intake were analyzed by measures of antioxidant status in plasma, including Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity. In addition, dose-dependent production of hydrogen peroxide (H2
) by the same extracts was measured in untreated commercial pig plasma in vitro. Plasma from treated pigs showed extract dose-dependent increases in non-enzymatic (plasma TEAC) and enzymatic (GPx) antioxidant capacities. Similarly, extract dose-dependent increases in H2
were observed in commercial pig plasma in vitro. The antioxidant responses to extracts by treated pigs were highly correlated with their respective yields of H2
production in vitro. These results support that dietary phytochemicals regulate OS via direct and indirect antioxidant mechanisms. The latter may be attributed to the ability to produce H2
and to thereby stimulate cellular antioxidant defence systems.
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