Sperm counts and reproductive hormones in male marathoners and lean controls
Bagatell, Carrie J.
Bremner, William J.
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In women, chronic and intense endurance exercise is frequently associated with menstrual cycle alterations. In men, the effects of similar amounts of exercise are less well-studied. We tested the hypothesis that endurance exercise in men is also associated with alterations in reproductive function. We studied 12 marathon runners and 12 age-matched, lean controls; serum and semen samples were collected every 2 weeks for 12 weeks. Sperm counts, sperm morphologies, and mean levels of testosterone (T), free T, sex hormone binding globulin, cortisol, follicle-stimulating hormone, and biologically active luteinizing hormone (LH) were similar in the two groups. Mean levels of immunologically active LH were somewhat higher in the marathoners. We conclude that this level of strenuous, long-term endurance exercise does not have major adverse effects on reproductive function in men.