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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2000 June;40(2):139-44

Copyright © 2002 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Changes in cortisol and testosterone levels and T/C ratio during an endurance competition and recovery

Lac G., Berthon P.

From the Lab. Perf. Motrice, Aubiere, France


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Background. To ­describe the evo­lu­tion of cor­ti­sol and tes­tos­te­rone lev­els and tes­tos­te­rone/cor­ti­sol (T/C) ­ratio in ­long-dis­tance run­ners dur­ing a ­relay com­pe­ti­tion and dur­ing the ­three ­days fol­low­ing the com­pe­ti­tion.
Methods. Two ­teams of ­four relay­ers (one ­male, one ­female) ­took ­part ­into ­this six-­hour ­relay ­race. Hormonal con­trol dur­ing the ­race was ­made pos­sible ­thanks to sali­va sam­pling dur­ing ­rest peri­ods at ­each ­relay. The run­ners ­were sub­elite run­ners, (VO2max = 67.0 ml·min-1·kg-1 in ­males and 56.8 ml·min-1·kg-1 in ­females).
Results. During the ­race, cor­ti­sol lev­els ­reached approx­i­mate­ly 1.5-­fold ­basal lev­els. These lev­els ­remained ­high ­till ­late eve­ning, (high­er ­than morn­ing val­ues, ­when nor­mal rest­ing lev­els are 4 to 6-­folds low­er). Surprisingly, wak­en­ing lev­els dur­ing the fol­low­ing ­days ­were low­er ­than rest­ing lev­els. Testosterone did not ­vary in ­females; ­then, ­male val­ues ­only are report­ed. During the ­race ­they ­decreased grad­u­al­ly and ­remained low ­till ­night. During the fol­low­ing ­three ­days, tes­tos­te­rone lev­els ­were high­er ­than rest­ing day lev­els. The T/C ­ratio ampli­fies ­these vari­a­tions: low dur­ing the ­race ­till retir­ing, (cur­rent­ly asso­ciat­ed ­with a cat­a­bol­ic ten­den­cy) and reverse­ly ­high dur­ing the fol­low­ing ­three ­days (asso­ciat­ed ­with a ­high ana­bol­ic ten­den­cy).
Conclusions. As expect­ed, a cat­a­bol­ic ten­dan­cy ­occurs dur­ing a ­long dis­tance run (­increase in cor­ti­sol lev­el fol­lowed by a ­drop in tes­tos­te­rone lev­el). More sur­pris­ing is the ­high ana­bol­ic ten­dan­cy not­ed dur­ing the recov­ery peri­od (low cor­ti­sol and ­high tes­tos­te­rone lev­els).

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