OBJECTIVE: To test a hypothesized association between resting leptin levels (adjusted for body fat percentage) and symptoms of primary exercise addiction.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional design.
SETTING: Habitual amateur exercisers participating in running, fitness, weight training, and biking.
PARTICIPANTS: Twenty men with exercise addiction as defined by the Exercise Addiction Inventory (EAI scores 24-30) and 20 men in an exercise control group (EAI scores 6-16) matched on body mass index.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Plasma leptin and sex hormones were measured in blood samples collected under fasting and resting conditions. Body composition was assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Eating disorder symptoms were identified by the Eating Disorder Inventory 2.
RESULTS: The exercise addiction group had significantly (P < 0.001) lower leptin levels (1.1 μg/L, SD = 1.3) than controls (4.3 μg/L, SD = 2.9). Even when adjusted for body fat percentage, the addiction group had significantly (P < 0.001) lower leptin levels (0.1 μg/L, SD = 0.1) than the controls (0.2 μg/L, SD = 0.1). Body fat-adjusted leptin correlated with free bioavailable testosterone, but it was only significant in nonaddictive exercisers. None of the exercisers seemed to suffer from an eating disorder.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study showing that excessive training in exercise addiction is associated with low levels of body fat-adjusted leptin levels.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Hypoleptinemia could be involved in the pathogenesis of exercise addiction. However, further studies are needed to explore the potential causal relationship.
- Absorptiometry, Photon
- Behavior, Addictive
- Body Composition
- Case-Control Studies
- Cross-Sectional Studies
- Linear Models
- Middle Aged
- Young Adult
- Exercise addiction
- eating disorder symptoms