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Oral contraceptives impair muscle gains in young women
Date:4/17/2009

petitions per exercise at 75 percent of their maximum strength. Body composition was determined using hydrostatic weighing.

Blood samples were taken before and after the training and assessed to measure anabolic (muscle building) and catabolic (muscle breaking) hormone levels in blood. Resting and fasting blood concentrations were measured for three anabolic hormones: DHEA, DHEAS and IGF1.

Findings

The researchers found that:

  • there were significant differences in lean mass gains (OC: 2.12.1% vs. non-OC: 3.53.2% / OC: 1.01.0kg vs. no-OC: 1.61.4kg, p< 0.05). However, other muscle responses such as strength gains and arm/leg circumferences were similar between the OC and non-OC users.

  • resting/fasting blood concentrations of the anabolic hormones were significantly lower in women taking OC vs. non-OC users throughout the study period. At the same time, plasma concentrations of cortisol (catabolic hormone) were elevated.

  • those OC users had reduced DHEA hormone at the end of the training period. By contrast, the other participants' levels did not change.

Conclusion

According to the researchers, "We were surprised at the magnitude of differences in muscle gains between the two groups, with the non-OC women gaining more than 60% greater muscle mass than their OC counterpart." They added that even though the study has observed negative effects of oral contraceptive use on muscle gain in the context of resistance exercise training, "future studies are needed to help explain the reasons behind the results."


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Contact: Donna Krupa
dkrupa@the-aps.org
703-967-2751
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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