Effect of menstrual cycle phase on exercise performance of high-altitude native women at 3600 m

Tom D. Brutsaert, Hilde Spielvogel, Esperanza Caceres, Mauricio Araoz, Robert T. Chatterton, Virginia J. Vitzthum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

At sea level normally menstruating women show increased ventilation (V̇E) and hemodynamic changes due to increased progesterone (P) and estrogen (E2) levels during the mid-luteal (L) compared to the mid-follicular (F) phase of the ovarian cycle. Such changes may affect maximal exercise performance. This repeated-measures, randomized study, conducted at 3600m, tests the hypothesis that a P-mediated increase in V̇E increases maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2max) during the L phase relative to the F phase in Bolivian women, either born and raised at high altitude (HA), or resident at HA since early childhood. Subjects (N=30) enrolled in the study were aged 27.7±0.7 years (mean ± S.E.M.) and non-pregnant, non-lactating, relatively sedentary residents of La Paz, Bolivia, who were not using hormonal contraceptives. Mean salivary P levels at the time of the exercise tests were 63.3 pg ml-1 and 22.9 pg ml-1 for the L and F phases, respectively. Subset analyses of submaximal (N=23) and maximal (N=13) exercise responses were conducted only with women showing increased P levels from F to L and, in the latter case, with those also achieving true V̇O2max. Submaximal exercise V̇E and ventilatory equivalents were higher in the L phase (P<0.001). P levels were significantly correlated to the submaximal exercise V̇E (r=0.487, P=0.006). Maximal work output (W) was higher (approximately 5 %) during the L phase (P=0.044), but V̇O2max (1 min-1) was unchanged (P=0.063). Post-hoc analyses revealed no significant relationship between changes in P levels and changes in V̇O2max from F to L (P=0.072). In sum, the menstrual cycle phase has relatively modest effects on ventilation, but no effect on V̇O2max of HA native women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-239
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume205
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 19 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Follicular
  • Luteal
  • Ovarian cycle
  • Progesterone
  • Woman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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    Brutsaert, T. D., Spielvogel, H., Caceres, E., Araoz, M., Chatterton, R. T., & Vitzthum, V. J. (2002). Effect of menstrual cycle phase on exercise performance of high-altitude native women at 3600 m. Journal of Experimental Biology, 205(2), 233-239.