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July 27, 1984

High-Density—Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Bodybuilders v Powerlifters: Negative Effects of Androgen Use

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Physical Education, Exercise Science Laboratory, University of Maryland, College Park (Dr Hurley and Mr Ostrove); the Metabolism Section, Gerontology Research Center, Baltimore City Hospital (Dr A. P. Goldberg); and the Section of Applied Physiology, Division of Metabolism, Department of Medicine, The Lipid Research Center, and the I. W. Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis (Drs Seals, Hagberg, A. C. Goldberg, Holloszy, and Wiest).

JAMA. 1984;252(4):507-513. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350040037019

To determine the relationship between lipid profiles and the type of weight training and to assess the effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids on lipids, bodybuilders and powerlifters of similar age, body fat, and testosterone levels were studied before and after androgen use. Before androgen administration powerlifters had lower levels of plasma high-density—lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and HDL2-C (38±2; 6±1 mg/dL; X ± SE, n=8) than bodybuilders (55 ±2; 12 ± 1 mg/dL; n=8) and runners of comparable age and body fat (47 ±2; 14±2 mg/dL; n=8), while levels of low-density—lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were higher in powerlifters 138±10 mg/dL) than in bodybuilders (104±7 mg/dL) and runners (110 ±6 mg/dL). Therefore, powerlifters had higher LDL-C/HDL-C ratios (3.7 ±0.3) than bodybuilders (2.0 ±0.2) and runners (2.4 ±0.2). Androgen use by eight bodybuilders and four powerlifters lowered values of both HDL-C and HDL2-C by 55% and raised values of LDL-C (61% ±10%) and LDL-C/HDL-C ratios (280%±40%). Therefore, the training regimen of bodybuilders is associated with a more favorable lipid profile than the training used by powerlifters. Androgen use by strength-trained athletes may increase their risk for coronary heart disease.

(JAMA 1984;252:507-513)