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Changes of mucosal immunity and anti-oxidation activity in elite male Taiwanese Taekwondo athletes associated with intensive training and rapid weight loss
  1. Min-Lung Tsai,
  2. Kuei-Ming Chou,
  3. Chen-Kang Chang,
  4. Shih-Hua Fang*
  1. National Taiwan Sport University, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to: SHIH-HUA FANG, Institute of Athletes, National Taiwan Sport University, 16, Sec1, Shuan-Shih Road,, Taichung, 404, Taiwan; shfang{at}


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the cumulative effects of prolonged intensive training and rapid weight loss on immunological parameters and anti-oxidation activity of elite male Taiwanese Taekwondo athletes.

Design: Sixteen elite male Taekwondo athletes (ages: 21.6 (1.3) years of age, Ht 173.7 (5.5) cm) volunteered to participate in this study. Beginning at 30 days prior to a national competition, saliva samples were obtained over a seven-week training, competition and post-competition period. Levels of salivary IgA, cortisol, lactoferrin and FRSA were measured at 30-day, 14-day, 7-day, and 1-day pre-competition and 1-day, 7-day, 19-day post-competition. Body weight and body fat were also recorded.

Results: Mean body weight was notably decreased during the week immediately before competition. Results reveal that the levels of salivary IgA were differentially regulated during the training, competition and recovery period; while the salivary cortisol and lactoferrin concentrations and FRSA were not appreciably affected during the training and competition period. Furthermore, the results of URTI incidence indicate that following the decreases of mucosal immunity, the risk of acquiring infection was significantly increased.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that mucosal immunity in elite male TKD athletes is modulated by exercise and rapid weight reduction during the training, competition and recovery period. Cumulative effects of prolonged intensive training and rapid weight reduction suppressed mucosal immunity. Furthermore, due to the ¡¥open window¡¦ of impaired immunity during the pre-competition period, the incidence of URTI was significantly increased after competition.

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