Vascular function in Norwegian female elite runners: A cross-sectional, controlled study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSports. 2022, 10(3), Artikkel 37. 10.3390/sports10030037
In general, aerobic exercise has a positive impact on the vascular system, but the syndrome of relative energy-deficiency in sports (RED-S) makes this impact less clear for the athlete. The present cross-sectional controlled study aimed to investigate the vascular function in female elite long-distance runners, compared to inactive women. Sixteen female elite long-distance runners and seventeen healthy controls were recruited. Assessments of vascular function and morphology included endothelial function, evaluated by flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), vascular stiffness, evaluated with pulse wave velocity (PWV), carotid artery reactivity (CAR %), and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). Blood samples included hormone analyses, metabolic parameters, lipids, and biomarkers reflecting endothelial activation. RED-S risk was assessed through the low energy availability in female questionnaire (LEAF-Q), and body composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). We found no significant differences in brachial FMD, PWV, CAR %, cIMT, or biomarkers reflecting endothelial activation between the two groups. Forty-four percent of the runners had a LEAF-Q score consistent with being at risk of RED-S. Runners showed significantly higher HDL-cholesterol and insulin sensitivity compared to controls. In conclusion, Norwegian female elite runners had an as good vascular function and morphology as inactive women of the same age.
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