• Corpus ID: 39411134

The immune system and overtraining in athletes: clinical implications.

  title={The immune system and overtraining in athletes: clinical implications.},
  author={Anthony C. Hackney and Kristen J. Koltun},
  journal={Acta clinica Croatica},
  volume={51 4},
The primary objective of this review is to provide an overview of how overtraining and the overtraining syndrome (OTS) affect the immune system of athletes. A secondary objective is to provide sports medicine clinicians with guidance as to how best to prevent and/or treat some of the health consequences of overtraining and the OTS as related to the development of a compromised immune system associated with exercise training. The OTS is a physically debilitating condition that results in… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

The Clinical Evaluation between Overtraining Syndrome and Exercise-related Immunity

The present study was performed to analyze and review the physical and immune responses to over- training syndrome in humans and will be helpful for athletes and individuals who are at the risk of overtraining syndrome.

Is there a relationship between inflammation and depression in athletes

The aim of this review was to reveal the role of high level of proinflammatory cytokines observed in OTS with the possible occurrence of depression symptoms in athletes and to discuss a potential mechanism responsible for the development of depression in athletes.

Return to Play After Infectious Disease

This chapter presents the evidence behind the risk factors for acute illness in athletes, the negative consequences of sports participation during illness and the recommendations for safe sports participation.

Recovery Does Not Prevent Myocardial Damage Due to Overtraining (Biomolecular and Pathobiology Studies)

Recovery proves that there is no effect inmyocardial damage as a result of overtraining from three and seven days, notwithstanding the fact that recovery decreases MDA myocardium concentrations, increases SOD myocardial concentrations, but does not prevent left ventricular hypertrophy, necrosis and chromatin condensation.

Sports Physiology and Endocrinology (Endurance vs. Resistance Exercise)

The responses and adjustments/adaptations of the endocrine system as affected by exercise training are reviewed as it pertains to athletes who participate in sporting activities that involve training which predominantly emphasizes endurance versus resistance training activities.

Blood Biomarkers in Sports Medicine and Performance and the Future of Metabolomics.

The field of metabolomics can offer a significantly higher level of blood biomarkers for sports medicine and performance monitoring than traditional blood analysis and can offer important level of possibilities to monitor athletes.

Molecular Pathways Mediating Immunosuppression in Response to Prolonged Intensive Physical Training, Low-Energy Availability, and Intensive Weight Loss

A number of molecular pathways presumably explaining immunosuppression in individuals going through prolonged periods of intense training with low-energy availability are elucidated, reinforcing the perception that the way in which weight loss is achieved has a distinct effect on how the immune system is modulated.

Myocardial Pathological Changes in Overtraining Exercise

It is shown that avoiding overtraining should be an important rules in order to protect that myocardial injury and needed for an extended investigations.

The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis dysfunction in men practicing competitive sports

The purpose of this article is to illustrate the physiological and pathological changes that occur in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPG) secondary to exercise and training.

Exercise and the Regulation of Endocrine Hormones.

  • A. HackneyA. Lane
  • Biology, Psychology
    Progress in molecular biology and translational science
  • 2015




If an athlete is suspected of suffering from overtraining syndrome, other measures will also required, if only to exclude other possible causes of underperformance including post-viral fatigue, glandular fever, clinical depression, poor diet, anaemia, asthma, allergies, thyroid disorders, myocarditis and other medical problems interfering with recovery.

Overtraining effects on immunity and performance in athletes

There is evidence that several immune parameters are suppressed during prolonged periods of intense exercise training, and the mechanisms underlying overtraining syndrome have not been clearly identified, but are likely to involve autonomic dysfunction and possibly increased cytokine production resulting from the physical stress of intense daily training with inadequate recovery.


  • L. Smith
  • Psychology
    Journal of strength and conditioning research
  • 2004
The hypothesis proposed in this paper suggests that excessive training/competing causes repetitive tissue trauma, either to muscle and/ or connective tissue and/or to bony structures, and that this results in chronic inflammation.

Fatigue and underperformance in athletes: the overtraining syndrome.

  • R. Budgett
  • Medicine
    British journal of sports medicine
  • 1998
With a very careful exercise regimen and regeneration strategies, symptoms normally resolve in 6-12 weeks but may continue much longer or recur if athletes return to hard training too soon.

Blood Hormones as Markers of Training Stress and Overtraining

An intraindividually decreased maximum rise of pituitary hormones (corticotrophin, growth hormone, cortisol and insulin has been found after a standardised exhaustive exercise test performed with an intensity of 10% above the individual anaerobic threshold, suggesting an impaired hypothalamic regulation.

Exercise effects on systemic immunity

Most exercise immunologists believe that during this ‘open window’ of impaired immunity (which may last between 3 and 72 h, depending on the immune measure) viruses and bacteria may gain a foothold, increasing the risk of subclinical and clinical infection.

Nutritional strategies to counter stress to the immune system in athletes, with special reference to football

Animal research indicates that other nutritional components such as beta-glucan, quercetin, and curcumin warrant human investigations to determine if they are effective countermeasures to exercise-induced immune dysfunction.

Training and overtraining: an overview and experimental results in endurance sports.

Persistent performance incompetence, persistent high fatigue ratings, altered mood state, increased rate of infections, and suppressed reproductive function have been described as key findings in overtraining syndrome.

Position statement. Part two: Maintaining immune health.

Inter-individual variability in immunocompetence, recovery, exercise capacity, non-training stress factors, and stress tolerance likely explains the different vulnerability of athletes to illness.

Overtraining in endurance athletes: a brief review.

Recommendations for training monitoring can be made, but their relevance in the practice must still be clarified; changes in blood chemistry variables, hormone levels, and nocturnal urinary catecholamine excretion are required.