robot android men running

Overtraining and Adrenal Stress Syndrome

  • Chronic stress from overtraining, which is common in runners, may be linked to problems in the adrenal gland. Overtraining Syndrome (OS) has been linked with adrenal insufficiency.
  • Overtraining Syndrome (OS) has been described as chronic fatigue, burnout and staleness, where an imbalance between training/competition, versus recovery occurs.
  • Chronic overtraining is what leads to serious health problems, including adrenal insufficiency. Severe overtraining over an extended period can result in adrenal depletion. An Addison-Type overtraining syndrome, where the adrenal glands are no longer able to maintain proper hormone levels and athletic performance is severely compromised has been described by researchers.
  • Many children who play sports can also be overtraining. One of the major issues with overtraining is adrenal dysregulation and depletion. In this meta-analysis the authors say that overtraining is an imbalance between training and recovery where performance is compromised.

100B as a Marker for Brain Damage and Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption Following Exercise

  • Elevated S100B levels have been recorded following exercise and are mostly attributed to either an increase in BBB permeability or trauma to the head. However, even in the absence of head trauma, it appears that the BBB may be compromised following exercise, with the severity dependent on exercise intensity.

Effects of Exercise on the Immune System

  • Overtraining syndrome is a neuroendocrine disorder characterized by poor performance in competition, inability to maintain training loads, persistent fatigue, reduced catecholamine excretion, frequent illness, disturbed sleep and alterations in mood state.
  • There is evidence that several immune parameters are suppressed during prolonged periods of intense exercise training. These include decreases in neutrophil function, serum and salivary immunoglobulin concentrations and natural killer cell number and possibly cytotoxic activity in peripheral blood.
  • Moreover, the incidence of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection increases during periods of endurance training, as well as increased cytokine production.

Overtraining definition

University of Colorado Hospital identified two types:


  • Unusual muscle soreness
  • Not allowing for sufficient recovery
  • After several days of hard training


  • Staleness occurs
  • Athlete ignores signs of overreaching and trains
  • Hormonal, biochemical and inflammatory imbalances

Symptoms of Overtraining

  • Unusual soreness after a workout, which persists with continued training
  • Inability to train at a previously manageable level
  • “Heavy” leg muscles, even with light exercise
  • Delay in recovery
  • Plateaus or even declines
  • Inability to relax or poor quality sleep
  • Increase in tension, depression, anger or confusion
  • No energy, decreased motivation, moodiness
  • Increased occurrence of sickness
  • Irregular periods or loss of menstrual periods
  • Prolonged general fatigue

How to Prevent Overtraining

  • Listen to your body
  • Keep a training record
  • Balance training with recovery
  • Don’t exercise when injured or in pain
  • Eat adequate protein
  • Address inflammation
  • Sleep regulation Hydrate adequately
  • Avoid nutrient deficiencies
  • Calorie intake that matches need for energy
  • Reduce other stressors
  • Adaptogens
  • Stabilize blood sugar

Additional reading:

Ask The Muscle Prof: The Truth About Overtraining

How To Combat CNS Overtraining

Overtraining Syndrome




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