Introduction: Specific macronutrient distribution and training can alter acute and chronic hormone behavior and, subsequently, sport performance.
Objective: The main aim was to examine relationships between dietary intake and anabolic/catabolic hormone response in elite female volleyball players during a 29-week season.
Methods: Twenty-two elite female volleyballers (26.4 ± 5.6 years; 178 ± 9 cm; 67.1 ± 7.5 kg) had dietary intake (seven-day dietary recall and food frequency questionnaire), blood concentration of anabolic/catabolic hormones concentration, physical performance, and body composition assessed at four time points: a) T1: baseline/pre-testing; b) T2: eleven weeks after T1; c) T3: ten weeks after T2; and d) T4: eight weeks after T3. Hormones evaluated were: total testosterone (TT), free testosterone (FT) adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and cortisol (C), along with hormone ratios.
Results: Positive correlations were observed between carbohydrate/protein ratio with ΔFT (r = 0.955; p < 0.001), ΔTT/C ratio (r = 0.638; p = 0.047), and ΔFT/C ratio (r = 0.909; p < 0.001). Significant and negative correlations were found between protein intake with ΔTT (r = -0.670; p = 0.034), and FT (r = -0.743; p < 0.001), carbohydrate intake and ΔACTH (r = -0.658; p = 0.006). No relationships were observed regarding Δcortisol. On the other hand, there was no change (p > 0.05) in body mass or body mass index at any time point, and the sum of six skinfolds improved (p < 0.05) from T1 (86.5 ± 6.9 mm) to T4 (75.2 ± 5.6 mm) as did muscle mass (T1: 28.9 ± 0.7 kg vsT4: 30.1 ± 0.8 kg). Vertical jump, spike-jump and speed improved (p < 0.05) from T1 to T4.
Conclusions: A high carbohydrate/protein ratio was associated with positive changes in anabolism, while high protein and low carbohydrates (CHO) were associated with an attenuated anabolic response.