4 years ago

A randomized cross-over study of the acute effects of running 5 km on glucose, insulin, metabolic rate, cortisol and Troponin T

Boris Keselman, Sofia Nyberg, Marta Vergara, Fredrik H. Nystrom

by Boris Keselman, Marta Vergara, Sofia Nyberg, Fredrik H. Nystrom


We aimed to study the impact by running 5 km, at maximal speed, on the normal variations of metabolic variables related to glucose, insulin, insulin sensitivity, cortisol, glucagon, Troponin T and metabolic rate.

Material and methods

Five women and 12 men 25.7±5.2 years of age with a body-mass-index of 22.5±2.3 kg/m2 where recruited to run 5 km at individual maximal speed in the morning, and to a corresponding day of rest, followed by standardized breakfast and lunch meals. Blood sampling and measurement of indirect calorimetry were done before and after meals. The participants were randomized regarding the order of the two trial-days in this cross-over study.


Insulin and cortisol levels were higher, and insulin sensitivity was lower, on the race-day compared with the day of rest (linear mixed model: p<0.0001 for all three analyses). However, glucose levels and metabolic rate did not differ between the two trial days (p = 0.29 and p = 0.53, respectively). When analyzing specific time-points we found that glucose increased from 5.01±0.37 mmol/l to 6.36 ± 1.3 mmol/l, p<0.0001, by running, while serum insulin concomitantly increased from 42±21 to 90±54 pmol/l, p<0.0001. In accordance, the QUICKI index of serum sensitivity, 1/(log10insulin+log10glucose), was lowered post-race, p<0.0001. Serum cortisol levels increased from 408±137 nmol/l to 644±171 nmol/l, p<0.0001, post-race while serum glucagon levels were unaffected. Troponin T was detectable in serum post-race in 12 out of the 17 participants and reached or surpassed the clinical reference level of 15 ng/l in three subjects. Post-race electrocardiograms displayed no pathologies.


Relatively short running-races can apparently induce a reduction in insulin sensitivity that is not fully compensated by concomitantly increased insulin secretion intended to ensure euglycemia. Since also Troponin T was detected in plasma in a majority of the participants, our data suggest that it is possible to induce considerable metabolic stress by running merely 5 km, when striving for maximal speed.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179401

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