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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Obesity and Metabolism Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #330014

Research Project: Improving Public Health by Understanding Diversity in Diet, Body, and Brain Interactions

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research

Title: Estradiol, SHBG and leptin interplay with food craving and intake across the menstrual cycle

item KRISHNAN, SRIDEVI - University Of California
item TYRON, REBECCA - University Of California
item Horn, William
item WELCH, LUCAS - University Of California
item Keim, Nancy

Submitted to: Physiology & Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/8/2016
Publication Date: 8/12/2016
Citation: Krishnan, S., Tyron, R.R., Horn, W.F., Welch, L., Keim, N.L. 2016. Estradiol, SHBG and leptin interplay with food craving and intake across the menstrual cycle. Physiology and Behavior. 165:304-312. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.08.010.

Interpretive Summary: Previous research with animals shows that there are several important hormones that interact with and influence food intake and food preferences such as sweet foods. We applied this information to study if these same hormones influence food intake and cravings reported during the menstrual cycle in healthy young women. We found that women could be classified into two distinct groups – one group experienced a high degree of craving and this was associated with higher estrogen to leptin ratios and higher sex hormone binding globulin in blood, whereas women who experienced less craving had lower levels of these hormone parameters. This is the first report of these associations in healthy menstruating women.

Technical Abstract: Objective: To understand the association between ovarian hormones, non-acute satiety hormones and craving calorie dense foods in the luteal phase. Methods: 17 premenopausal women, mean age 23.2 y, mean BMI 22.4 kg/m2 with regular menstrual cycles were studied during late follicular (FP) and luteal phases (LP). Estradiol, progesterone, DHEAS, SHBG and leptin, were measured in fasting samples. The validated Food Craving Inventory was used to record the types of foods volunteers habitually ate – rich in fat, carbohydrate or sweet taste, as well as craved during the LP of their menstrual cycle. Results: Estradiol was inversely associated with leptin in FP (r = -0.62, p = 0.01). Leptin was inversely associated with habitual intake of sweet foods, in both phases (FP: r = -0.64, p = 0.01; LP: r = -0.63, p = 0.01). SHBG in LP was positively associated with craving sweet and carbohydrate rich foods. Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed two groups of women, one with high estradiol, high estradiol/leptin ratio, high sweet and carbohydrate cravings (p<0.05); the other group had lower estradiol, lower estradiol/leptin ratio, and reported less craving. Conclusions: The estradiol-leptin axis may be a determinant of luteal phase craving and habitual food intake in menstruating women.