Metabolic Dysfunction Under Reduced Estrogen Levels

Looking to Exercise for Prevention

Espen E. Spangenburg; Lindsay M. Wohlers; Ana P. Valencia


Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2012;40(4):195-203. 

In This Article

Overall Conclusions

The broader implication of these data is that physical activity may be an effective substitution for estrogen therapy in women, but it is unclear if physical activity as a clinical intervention is used in women who are experiencing reduced estrogen function. In addition, we feel that if the WHI is indicating that HT may not be a safe approach for women, then efforts must be made to define and promote alternative approaches for women. Thus, a critical next step would be conduction of more detailed human studies to determine the efficacy of using exercise training to prevent metabolic dysfunction in women who are experiencing reduced levels of estrogen or reduced estrogen receptor function. Considerations that need to be addressed would be the amount of necessary activity, intensity, and so on. Furthermore, we would predict that if loss of estrogenic function is caught early in women, then actual intervention might require only low levels of physical activity to prevent the accumulation of the metabolic defects. Conversely, we also suggest that it likely is more difficult (i.e., requires more strenuous exercise) to reverse a metabolic defect with exercise training, thus indicating that early screening by clinicians would be a critical aspect to consider. Overall, the numerous published data points indicate that we need to think carefully about the influence of sex steroids on tissue function and the interaction that appears to exist with physical activity.