Int J Sports Med 2004; 25(3): 230-234
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-45257
Orthopedics & Biomechanics

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Competitive Season of Triathlon Does not Alter Bone Metabolism and Bone Mineral Status in Male Triathletes

L. Maïmoun1 , 2 , O. Galy3 , J. Manetta4 , O. Coste5 , E. Peruchon6 , J. P. Micallef6 , D. Mariano-Goulart7 , I. Couret7 , C. Sultan8 , M. Rossi7
  • 1Groupe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire Sur le Métabolisme Osseux (GRISMO), Montpellier, France
  • 2Centre Propara, Montpellier, France
  • 3Laboratoire Acte, UFR-STAPS, Université Antilles-Guyane, Pointe-à-Pitre, France
  • 4Service Central de Physiologie Clinique (CERAMM), CHU Lapeyronie, Montpellier, France
  • 5Ligue Languedoc Roussillon de Triathlon et Duathlon, Sète, France
  • 6INSERM, Montpellier, France
  • 7Service de Médecine Nucléaire, CHU Lapeyronie, Montpellier, France
  • 8Service d'Hormonologie du Développement et de la Reproduction, CHU Lapeyronie et Unité d'Endocrinologie Pédiatrique, CHU Arnaud de Villeneuve, Montpellier, France
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted after revision: June 30, 2003

Publication Date:
15 April 2004 (online)


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)2D3, 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.


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