Minimal Effect on Bones From Triathlon Training


Competitive season of triathlon does not alter bone metabolism and bone mineral status in male triathletes.

This longitudinal study evaluated the effects of a triathlon season on bone metabolism and hormonal status. Seven male competitive triathletes (mean age 19.3 years, range 18 – 20) with 5.0 +/- 0.3 years of competition experience were tested twice during the season: at the beginning of training and 32 weeks later. Total and regional bone mineral density (BMD) was determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, while bone turnover was evaluated by specific biochemical markers: bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (B-ALP), osteocalcin, and urinary type I collagen C-telopeptide. In addition, sexual, calciotropic and somatotropic hormones were also analyzed. After 32 weeks, a BMD increase was found at the lumbar spine (1.9 %; p = 0.031) and skull (3.1 %; p = 0.048), while no variation was observed for total body or at the proximal femur. The B-ALP level decreased (-23.2 %; p = 0.031), but no variation was found for the other bone markers. 1.25 (OH) (2)D3, IGF-1 and the bioavailability IGF-1 index (IGF-1/IGFBP-3) increased by 18.3 % (p = 0.047), 29 % (p = 0.048), 33 % (p = 0.011), respectively, while PTH, testosterone, IGFBP-3 and cortisol concentrations were unchanged. In conclusion, the triathlon season had a moderately favourable effect on BMD, although a slowing down of bone formation activity was observed. No variation in hormonal levels was observed that could have limited the effects of exercise on bone tissue.

Maïmoun L, Galy O, Manetta J, Coste O…
Int J Sports Med Apr 2004
PMID: 15088249