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  1. #1
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Default Oral Contraceptives Impair Muscle Gains In Young Women

    I'm having a hard time interpreting exactly what these results mean in practical terms, but it sounds like something people should know and think about.

    Oral Contraceptives Impair Muscle Gains In Young Women

    New study looks at effect of oral contraceptive use in resistance exercise training

    NEW ORLEANS—Many active young women use oral contraceptives (OC) yet its effect on their body composition and exercise performance has not been thoroughly studied. A team of researchers has now examined the effects of OC on female muscle mass, and found that oral contraceptive use impairs muscle gains in young women, and is associated with lower hormone levels.

    The findings are contained in a new study entitled Oral Contraceptive Use Impairs Muscle Gains in Young Women. It was conducted by Chang-Woock Lee and Steven E. Riechman, Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX; and Mark A. Newman, Human Energy Research Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. The researchers will present their findings at the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS; www.the-aps.org/press), which is part of the Experimental Biology 2009 scientific conference. The meeting will be held April 18-22, 2009 in New Orleans.

    The Study

    Seventy-three generally healthy women between the ages of 18-31 were assigned to two groups and completed a 10-week whole-body resistance exercise training (RET). Group 1 consisted of 34 women who used oral contraceptives (OC). Group 2 consisted of 39 women who did not take birth control pills (non-OC). The women were encouraged to consume at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day (a third more than is called for by the U.S. government nutritional guidelines) to make sure they consumed enough calories and protein to promote muscle growth.

    The participants exercised three times per week for ten weeks under the supervision of exercise physiologists. They performed a variety of exercises to include chest press, lat pull down, leg extension, triceps extension, arm curl and abdominal crunch. Exercise was done using standard exercise machines and each volunteer performed three sets of 6-10 repetitions 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: 2.1±2.1% vs. non-OC: 3.5±3.2% / OC: 1.0±1.0kg vs. no-OC: 1.6±1.4kg, 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.”

    Oral Contraceptives Impair Muscle Gains In Young Women

  2. #2
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    I assume oral contraceptives are birth control which is estrogen thus decreasing the amount of testosterone a woman has.


    Makes sense.

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    I assume oral contraceptives are birth control which is estrogen thus decreasing the amount of testosterone a woman has.
    That's my guess too:
    Reducing T reduces bulk muscle mass significantly.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    my questions is is it okay (healthy) to not have the muscle mass? and does this mean you're going to get/look fatter or skinnier while taking OC?

  5. #5
    Was E.laur Laurie's Avatar
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    I hate the pill.

    eta: It lowers sex drive, it's artificially trying to control hormone levels. I'm not surprised it lowers muscle mass. Women have been sold on something that just isn't a good deal. Maybe eventually they will come up with something that works but doesn't mess with a woman's body like the pill does.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    my questions is is it okay (healthy) to not have the muscle mass?
    ... too lazy to google it so all u get is aunt jenny's talking out of her bottom...


    Generally, it depends how much muscle mass we are talking.

    And we're also talking bulk muscle vs toned muscle. Women usually get toned when they do basic work outs, it's hard for them to pump up muscle mass and they can't add as much bulk as easily as men can.

    and does this mean you're going to get/look fatter or skinnier while taking OC?
    Muscle burns calories, even at rest. If you reduce your muscle and you don't have a fast metabolism, you could put on extra weight because you are burning less calories.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #7
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    my questions is is it okay (healthy) to not have the muscle mass? and does this mean you're going to get/look fatter or skinnier while taking OC?
    It is not healthy. Most healthy women should look like this:



  8. #8
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    It is not healthy. Most healthy women should look like this:


    I wonder if the women in the study were trying to look like that? If so, then I don't think normal women who take OC have anything to worry about.

  9. #9
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Very interesting.

    I think the net effect of this is totally dependent on a number of factors, to include: (1) the physical condition of a woman before she begins taking OC, (2) the type of physique she is (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph), (3) the quality of the woman's diet and nutrition supplementation, and (4) the amount of exercise the woman shall engage in on a regular basis, and I mean exercise, like sweating hard and being exhausted, not showing up to a gym to hit a few machines and socialize, like many men and women do.

    Elaur, it is interesting you mention a decrease in libido for women on OC, I have never heard this. That sounds like a terrible thing! :horor:

    I've had a vasectomy, but my wife has been taking OC for about 6 months now. She was experiencing a spike in anxiety-like symptoms with her menstrual cycle for several months. The two events were very consistent in their occurrence, so our MD suggested trying OC for a while to mitigate that. She's just as active as me, and I think she would want to know if the OC has any effect on muscle...or libido.

    Thanks for posting this!

  10. #10
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    Very interesting.

    I think the net effect of this is totally dependent on a number of factors, to include: (1) the physical condition of a woman before she begins taking OC, (2) the type of physique she is (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph), (3) the quality of the woman's diet and nutrition supplementation, and (4) the amount of exercise the woman shall engage in on a regular basis, and I mean exercise, like sweating hard and being exhausted, not showing up to a gym to hit a few machines and socialize, like many men and women do.

    Elaur, it is interesting you mention a decrease in libido for women on OC, I have never heard this. That sounds like a terrible thing! :horor:

    I've had a vasectomy, but my wife has been taking OC for about 6 months now. She was experiencing a spike in anxiety-like symptoms with her menstrual cycle for several months. The two events were very consistent in their occurrence, so our MD suggested trying OC for a while to mitigate that. She's just as active as me, and I think she would want to know if the OC has any effect on muscle...or libido.

    Thanks for posting this!
    You're welcome. And re the bolded: consider that the same hormones in OC are given to male pedophiles to chemically castrate them.

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