Endurance training decreases serum testosterone levels in men without change in luteinizing hormone pulsatile release

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1991 Feb;72(2):422-5. doi: 10.1210/jcem-72-2-422.


Cross-sectional studies have suggested that total and bioavailable testosterone levels are reduced in some male athletes. Such changes may be related to loss of body weight, increased serum cortisol, and/or alterations in LH pulsatile release. To determine how endurance training may affect androgen levels, we measured serum total testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, free androgen index, LH, FSH, PRL, cortisol, and weight in 15 previously sedentary males. We also examined pulsatile LH release in a subset of 5 subjects. Over 6 months of training, the men increased weekly running mileage to an average of 56 km/week. Total testosterone and free androgen index levels decreased significantly. PRL and cortisol also decreased, while single sample LH and FSH remained unchanged. There was a significant reduction in weight, which did not correlate with changes in serum testosterone levels. LH pulsatile release was not altered by training in the subset of 5 runners. These data confirm previous findings of physiological reduction in serum testosterone and PRL levels and suggest that the testosterone decrease is not related to changes in LH pulsatile release, weight, or increased serum cortisol levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Androgens / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Periodicity*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Prospective Studies
  • Running
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Androgens
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone