Anabolic hormone profiles in elite military men

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Abstract

We recently characterized the awakening responses and daily profiles of the catabolic stress hormone cortisol in elite military men. Anabolic hormones follow a similar daily pattern and may counteract the catabolic effects of cortisol. This companion report is the first to characterize daily profiles of anabolic hormones dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone in this population. Overall, the men in this study displayed anabolic hormone profiles comparable to that of healthy, athletic populations. Consistent with the cortisol findings in our prior report, summary parameters of magnitude (hormone output) within the first hour after awakening displayed superior stability versus summary parameters of pattern for both DHEA (r range: 0.77–0.82) and testosterone (r range: 0.62–0.69). Summary parameters of evening function were stable for the two hormones (both p < 0.001), while the absolute decrease in testosterone across the day was a stable proxy of diurnal function (p < 0.001). Removal of noncompliant subjects did not appreciably affect concentration estimates for either hormone at any time point, nor did it alter the repeatability of any summary parameter. The first of its kind, this report enables accurate estimations of anabolic balance and resultant effects upon health and human performance in this highly resilient yet chronically stressed population.

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