Characterizing Marathon-Induced Metabolic Changes Using 1H-NMR Metabolomics

Rachelle Bester, Zinandré Stander, Shayne Mason, Karen M. Keane, Glyn Howatson, Tom Clifford, Emma J. Stevenson, Du Toit Loots*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


Although physical activity is a health-promoting, popular global pastime, regular engagement in strenuous exercises, such as long-distance endurance running races, has been associated with a variety of detrimental physiological and immunological health effects. The resulting altered physiological state has previously been associated with fluctuations in various key metabolite concentrations; however, limited literature exists pertaining to the global/holistic metabolic changes that are induced by such. This investigation subsequently aims at elucidating the metabolic changes induced by a marathon by employing an untargeted proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectrometry metabolomics approach. A principal component analysis (PCA) plot revealed a natural differentiation between pre- and post-marathon metabolic profiles of the 30-athlete cohort, where 17 metabolite fluctuations were deemed to be statistically significant. These included reduced concentrations of various amino acids (AA) along with elevated concentrations of ketone bodies, glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and AA catabolism intermediates. Moreover, elevated concentrations of creatinine and creatine in the post-marathon group supports previous findings of marathon-induced muscle damage. Collectively, the results of this investigation characterize the strenuous metabolic load induced by a marathon and the consequential regulation of main energy-producing pathways to accommodate this, and a better description of the cause of the physiological changes seen after the completion of a marathon.
Original languageEnglish
Article number656
Number of pages13
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterizing Marathon-Induced Metabolic Changes Using 1H-NMR Metabolomics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this