Effects of Oral Contraceptives of Free Fatty Acid Metabolism in Women


These studies examined whether women using oral contraceptives have abnormalities in free fatty acid (FFA) metabolism compared with women not using oral contraceptives. Plasma palmitate kinetics ([3H]palmitate) were measured at rest, following glucose ingestion, and during epinephrine infusion in 13 oral contraceptive users and 13 matched women not using oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptive users had significantly greater plasma triglyceride concentrations and glucose responses to oral glucose tolerance testing. No differences in basal (2.1 +/- 0.1 v 1.8 +/- 0.2 micromol x kg fat-free mass x FFM(-1) x min[-1]), glucose-suppressed (0.6 +/- 0.1 v 0.5 +/- 0.1 micromol x kg FFM(-1) x min[-1]), or epinephrine-stimulated (3.3 +/- 0.1 v 3.6 +/- 0.2 micromol x kg FFM(-1) x min[-1]) palmitate flux were detected between women using and not using oral contraceptives. The respiratory quotient (RQ) also was not different between groups. We conclude that the increase in plasma triglycerides and the mild glucose intolerance seen with oral contraceptive use is not associated with significant abnormalities of FFA metabolism.

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Michael D. Jensen and James A. Levine