Objective: To examine whether acute glucocorticoid (GC) intake alters performance and selected hormonal and metabolic variables during submaximal exercise.
Methods: In total, 14 recreational male athletes completed two cycling trials at 70–75% maximum O2 uptake starting 3 h after an ingestion of either a lactose placebo or oral GC (20 mg of prednisolone) and continuing until exhaustion, according to a double-blind randomised protocol. Blood samples were collected at rest, after 10, 20, 30 minutes, and at exhaustion and recovery for measurement of growth hormone (GH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), prolactin, insulin, blood glucose, lactate and interleukin (IL)-6 determination.
Results: Cycling duration was not significantly changed after GC or placebo administration (55.9 (5.2) v 48.8 (2.9) minutes, respectively). A decrease in ACTH and DHEA (p<0.01) was observed with GC during all of the experiments and in IL-6 after exhaustion (p<0.05). No change in basal, exercise or recovery GH, prolactin, insulin or lactate was found between the two treatments but blood glucose was significantly higher with GC (p<0.05) at any time point.
Conclusion: From these data, acute systemic GC administration does seem to alter some metabolic markers but did not influence performance during submaximal exercise.
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Competing interests: None.
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