Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 186, Issue 2, pp 361–369 | Cite as

Influence of an Acute Exercise Until Exhaustion on Serum and Urinary Concentrations of Molybdenum, Selenium, and Zinc in Athletes

  • Marcos Maynar
  • Diego MuñozEmail author
  • Javier Alves
  • Gema Barrientos
  • Francisco Javier Grijota
  • María Concepción Robles
  • Francisco Llerena


The aim of the present study was to determine changes occurring in serum and urine concentrations of essential trace elements with proven essentiality (molybdenum, selenium, and zinc) as a result of performing an acute physical activity until exhaustion in middle- and long-distance runners who live in the same area of Extremadura (Spain). Twenty-one Spanish national middle- and long-distance runners and 26 sedentary students of a similar age were recruited for the study. Both groups ran on a treadmill until exhaustion, starting at a speed of 10 and 8 km/h, respectively, and increasing the speed at 1 km/h every 400 m, without modifying the slope, always within the recommended parameters. Serum and urine samples were obtained from all subjects before and after the tests. Analysis of trace metals was performed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Resting serum and urinary concentrations between groups were compared using the Student t test, and the Wilcoxon test was used to analyze the trends of changes before and after the effort. The results showed that molybdenum concentrations were significantly higher in athletes than in controls (p < 0.01). Selenium (p < 0.05) and zinc (p < 0.01) concentrations were significantly lower in athletes than in controls. When we compared the serum concentrations before and after the test in the controls, only in the case of selenium (p = 0.006), a significant increase was observed after the test. However, this signification disappears with the corrections for hematocrit. Athletes’ serum concentrations of Se (p = 0.004) and Zn (p = 0.005) lowered at the end of the test. Also, the results showed that there were no statistical urinary concentration (expressed in μg/g creatinine) changes in Mo and Se. Zn urinary concentration increased at the end of exercise (p = 0.018), since an incremental exercise to exhaustion in middle- and long-distance elite athletes produces a decrease in Se and Zn serum concentrations but Zn urinary concentration increased. In conclusion, athletes show higher serum concentrations of molybdenum and lower serum concentrations of selenium and zinc than sedentary subjects. Additionally, a treadmill test until exhaustion provokes a decrease in serum concentration of selenium and zinc and a higher excretion of urinary zinc. Serum concentrations of Se and Zn should be carried out in order to avoid any possible deficit cases and to establish the optimal supplementation.


Athletes Metals Serum Urine Acute exercise 


Funding Information

The authors received financial support provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Government of Extremadura (project PRI08B130) as well as the collaboration of SAIUex.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All participants were informed about the aim and procedures of the study; they gave their informed consent and participated voluntarily. The study was approved by the University of Extremadura Ethics Committee in accordance with the latest version of the Helsinki declaration for human research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sport Sciences FacultyUniversity of ExtremaduraCáceresSpain
  2. 2.Education FacultyUniversity of SalamancaSalamancaSpain
  3. 3.Education FacultyUniversity of ExtremaduraCáceresSpain
  4. 4.School of MedicineUniversity of ExtremaduraBadajozSpain

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