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The effects of severe cold stress on total peroxyl radical trapping antioxidant capacity of plasma (TRAP) were studied in two groups of healthy women: a whole-body cryotherapy group (WBC, n = 10) and a winter swimming group (WS, n = 10). The biovariability of TRAP values was also analysed. The WBC group was exposed to -110 degrees C for 2 min, whereas the exposure for the WS group lasted 20 s in ice-cold water. Sessions were organized three times per week for 12 weeks. Blood specimens were collected at 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks at rest, 2 and 35 min after the cold exposures and at the corresponding times without cold exposure on a separate day. Conventional methods were used to determine TRAP values. The between-subject variation was 13.6% and the within-subject variation 6.4%. The index of individuality was 0.46, and the index of heterogeneity was 0.079. These results indicate a marked heterogeneity among subjects. During the first 4 weeks, the mean TRAP value significantly increased at 2 min after cold exposure in the WBC group, returning to baseline 35 min after the exposure. Similar changes were observed in the WS group. However, all changes due to cold were relatively mild (<5%). After 4 weeks no changes in TRAP values after the cold exposures were noticed and no long-term changes in basal TRAP values were observed. In the main, regular WBC and WS do not seem to be harmful as far as plasma antioxidative capacity is concerned.

Dugue, B, Smolander, J, Westerlund, T, Oksa, J, Nieminen, R, Moilanen, E and Mikkelsson, M. (2005) “Acute and long-term effects of winter swimming and whole-body cryotherapy on plasma antioxidative capacity in healthy women”. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 65 (5) 395-402.

Full Article : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16081362