Effects of short-term prednisolone intake during submaximal exercise

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Sep;39(9):1672-8. doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e3180dc992c.


Purpose: To examine the prednisolone's ergogenic and metabolic effects during submaximal exercise.

Methods: Ten recreational male athletes completed two cycling trials at 70-75% peak O2 consumption until exhaustion after either placebo (Pla, lactose) or oral prednisolone (Pred, 60 mg.d(-1) for 1 wk) treatment, according to a double-blind and randomized protocol. Blood samples were collected at rest and during exercise and recovery to determine ACTH, growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL), DHEA, insulin, blood glucose, and blood lactate values.

Results: Time of cycling was significantly increased after chronic Pred treatment (Pred: 74.5+/-9.5 min; Pla: 46.1+/-3.3 min, P<0.01). Pred intake significantly lowered basal, exercise, and recovery ACTH, DHEA, and PRL concentrations, whereas GH concentrations were significantly lowered by Pred after 30 min of exercise. Blood glucose and insulin were significantly (P<0.05) increased by Pred during the whole experiment and until 30 min of exercise. Blood lactate concentrations were higher after Pred versus Pla at 10 min of exercise until 10 min of recovery (P<0.05).

Conclusion: From these data, short-term Pred intake did seem to significantly improve performance during submaximal exercise, with concomitant alterations in hormonal and metabolic responses. Further studies will be necessary to elucidate the mechanisms of these hormonal and metabolic changes, and to determine whether the changes may be associated with the marked performance improvement obtained.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold / drug effects*
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / metabolism*
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Bicycling / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage
  • Glucocorticoids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisolone / metabolism*
  • Running / physiology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Prednisolone