Relationships between Sex and Adaptation to Physical Exercise in Young Athletes: A Pilot Study


Pinto G, Militello R, Amoresano A, Modesti PA, Modesti A, Luti S




Healthcare (Basel). 2022 Feb 11;10(2):358.

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The purpose of this study was to compare the redox, hormonal, metabolic, and lipid profiles of female and male basketball players during the seasonal training period, compared to their relative sedentary controls.

20 basketball players (10 female and 10 male) and 20 sedentary controls (10 female and 10 male) were enrolled in the study. Oxidative stress, adiponectin level, and metabolic profile were determined. Male and female athletes showed an increased antioxidant capacity (27% for males; 21% for females) and lactate level (389% for males; 460% for females) and reduced salivary cortisol (25% for males; 51% for females) compared to the sedentary controls.

Moreover, a peculiar metabolite (in particular, amino acids and urea), hormonal, and lipidic profile were highlighted in the two groups of athletes. Female and male adaptations to training have several common traits, such as antioxidant potential enhancement, lactate increase, and activation of detoxifying processes, such as the urea cycle and arachidonic pathways as a response to inflammation.

Moreover, we found different lipid and amino acid utilization related to sex. Deeper investigation could help coaches in developing training programs based on the athletes’ sex in order to reduce the drop-out rate of sporting activity by girls and fight the gender stereotypes in sport that also have repercussions in social fields.

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