The haematological, biochemical and immunological profile of athletes suffering from the overtraining syndrome

D G Rowbottom, D Keast, C Goodman, A R Morton
European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology 1995, 70 (6): 502-9
To help clarify the overtraining syndrome (OTS), a combination of parameters were measured in ten athletes who were suffering from OTS. Blood samples were obtained at rest and a range of haematological, biochemical and immunological tests were carried out on the samples. For each parameter, the mean value for the group was compared to an established normal range amongst age-matched controls. The subjects were also asked to complete a questionnaire to establish the severity of their condition. The data indicated that the debilitating fatigue experienced by the OTS sufferers was not related to any of the blood parameters traditionally associated with chronic exercise stress, since levels were normal in OTS. The only parameter measured which deviated significantly from the normal range for both the sedentary controls and the athletes was the plasma concentration of glutamine. Although the data in this study would suggest that plasma glutamine concentrations represented an objective, measurable difference between OTS subjects and normal controls, it remains to be shown that there is any correlation between glutamine concentrations and other clinical symptoms of OTS such as physical capability.

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