Effects of Cranberry (Vaccinum Macrocarpon) Supplementation on Iron Status and Inflammatory Markers in Rowers.
Background: The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of supplementation with cranberry (Vaccinum macrocarpon) on the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, hepcidin and selected markers of iron metabolism in rowers subjected to exhaustive exercise. Methods: This double-blind study included 16 members of the Polish Rowing Team. The subjects were randomly assigned to the supplemented group (n=9), receiving 1200 mg of cranberry extract for 6 weeks, or to the placebo group (n=7). The participants performed a 2000-m test on a rowing ergometer at the beginning and at the end of the preparatory camp. Blood samples were obtained from the antecubital vein prior to each exercise test, one minute after completing the test, and after a 24-h recovery period. The levels of hepcidin, interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), ferritin, iron, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) and myoglobin were determined, along with total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), unbound iron-binding capacity (UIBC) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC). Results: Both prior and after the supplementation, a significant post-exercise increase in the concentration of IL-6 was observed in both groups. At the end of the study period, cranberry-supplemented athletes presented with significantly higher resting, post-exercise and post-recovery levels of TAC than the controls. However, a significant exercise-induced increase in the concentrations of TNF-alpha, myoglobin and hepcidin was observed solely in the control group. Conclusion: Supplementation with cranberry extract contributed to a significant strengthening of antioxidant potential in individuals exposed to strenuous physical exercise. However, supplementation did not exert direct effects on other analyzed parameters: inflammatory markers and indices of iron metabolism (TNF-alpha, hepcidin and myoglobin).