Send to

Choose Destination
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Jul;39(7):1090-7.

Effect of energy deficiency on estrogen metabolism in premenopausal women.

Author information

Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Diabetes, School of Medicine, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO 80214, USA.



Physical activity has been associated with decreased breast cancer risk, potentially through changes in estrogen metabolism. Two-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1) and 16alpha-hydroxyestrone (16alpha-OHE1) have different biological properties, and the ratio of these metabolites (2/16) has been proposed to predict breast cancer risk. Diet and exercise have been found to influence estrogen metabolism, particularly when a state of negative energy balance is achieved. We sought to determine whether 4 months of moderate-intensity exercise coupled with calorie restriction would result in changes in urinary 2-OHE1, 16alpha-OHE1, or 2/16 in sedentary, premenopausal, eumenorrheic women.


Average age was 31.5 yr, average body fat was 31.6%, and average BMI was 23.7. Urinary estrogen metabolites were measured in 24 women during the baseline and for four intervention months in the midfollicular and midluteal phases.


The intervention produced a significant drop in body fat (4.5%) and body weight (3.7 kg). Aerobic fitness increased significantly (26%; P < 0.001). Overall, there were no significant effects of the diet and exercise intervention on 2-OHE1, 16alpha-OHE1, or 2/16. However, when divided into tertiles according to baseline 2/16, the intervention resulted in significant increases in 2/16 in women in the lowest tertile. Women in the lowest tertile (average 2/16 = 0.91) did not differ from the other tertiles in baseline estradiol concentrations, body fat, weight, fitness, or changes in these variables with the intervention.


The data suggest that women at higher risk for developing breast cancer because of low 2/16 may reduce their risk by participating in lifestyle interventions such as exercise/calorie restriction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center