Regulation of exercise carbohydrate metabolism by estrogen and progesterone in women

Tara M. D'Eon, Carrie Sharoff, Stuart R. Chipkin, Dan Grow, Brent C. Ruby, Barry Braun

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To assess the roles of endogenous estrogen (E2) and progesterone (P4) in regulating exercise carbohydrate use, we used pharmacological suppression and replacement to create three distinct hormonal environments: baseline (B), with E2 and P4 low; estrogen only (E), with E2 high and P4 low; and estrogen/progesterone (E + P), with E2 and P4 high. Blood glucose uptake (Rd), total carbohydrate oxidation (CHOox), and estimated muscle glycogen utilization (EMGU) were assessed during 60 min of submaximal exercise by use of stable isotope dilution and indirect calorimetry in eight eumenorrheic women. Compared with B (1.26 ± 0.04 g/min) and E + P (1.27 ± 0.04 g/min), CHOox was lower with E (1.05 ± 0.02 g/min). Glucose Rd tended to be lower with E and E + P relative to B. EMGU was 25% lower with E than with B or E + P. Plasma free fatty acids (FFA) were inversely related to EMGU (r2 = 0.49). The data suggest that estrogen lowers CHOox by reducing EMGU and glucose Rd. Progesterone increases EMGU but not glucose Rd. The opposing actions of E2 and P4 on EMGU may be mediated by their impact on FFA availability or vice versa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1046-E1055
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5 46-5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


  • Fat oxidation
  • Glycogen
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Ovarian hormones
  • Stable isotope


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