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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Nov;92(11):4480-4. Epub 2007 Sep 4.

Dietary macronutrient content alters cortisol metabolism independently of body weight changes in obese men.

Author information

1
Endocrinology Unit, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, United Kingdom. roland.stimson@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Dietary macronutrient composition influences cardiometabolic health independently of obesity. Both dietary fat and insulin alter glucocorticoid metabolism in rodents and, acutely, in humans. However, whether longer-term differences in dietary macronutrients affect cortisol metabolism in humans and contribute to the tissue-specific dysregulation of cortisol metabolism in obesity is unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of the study was to test the effects of dietary macronutrients on cortisol metabolism in obese men.

DESIGN:

The study consisted of two randomized, crossover studies.

SETTING:

The study was conducted at a human nutrition unit.

PARTICIPANTS:

Participants included healthy obese men. INTERVENTIONS, OUTCOME MEASURES, AND RESULTS: Seventeen obese men received 4 wk ad libitum high fat-low carbohydrate (HF-LC) (66% fat, 4% carbohydrate) vs. moderate fat-moderate carbohydrate (MF-MC) diets (35% fat, 35% carbohydrate). Six obese men participated in a similar study with isocaloric feeding. Both HF-LC and MF-MC diets induced weight loss. During 9,11,12,12-[(2)H](4)-cortisol infusion, HF-LC but not MF-MC increased 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1) activity (rates of appearance of cortisol and 9,12,12-[(2)H](3)-cortisol) and reduced urinary excretion of 5alpha- and 5beta-reduced [(2)H](4)-cortisol metabolites and [(2)H](4)-cortisol clearance. HF-LC also reduced 24-h urinary 5alpha- and 5beta-reduced endogenous cortisol metabolites but did not alter plasma cortisol or diurnal salivary cortisol rhythm. In sc abdominal adipose tissue, 11beta-HSD1 mRNA and activity were unaffected by diet.

CONCLUSIONS:

A low-carbohydrate diet alters cortisol metabolism independently of weight loss. In obese men, this enhances cortisol regeneration by 11beta-HSD1 and reduces cortisol inactivation by A-ring reductases in liver without affecting sc adipose 11beta-HSD1. Alterations in cortisol metabolism may be a consequence of macronutrient dietary content and may mediate effects of diet on metabolic health.

PMID:
17785367
DOI:
10.1210/jc.2007-0692
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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