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Modulation of Energy Expenditure by Estrogens and Exercise in Women

Gavin, Kathleen M.1,2; Kohrt, Wendy M.1,2; Klemm, Dwight J.2,3; Melanson, Edward L.1,2,4

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: October 2018 - Volume 46 - Issue 4 - p 232–239
doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000160
Video Abstract

Reducing estrogen in women results in decreases in energy expenditure, but the mechanism(s) remain largely unknown. We postulate that the loss of estrogens in women is associated with increased accumulation of bone marrow–derived adipocytes in white adipose tissue, decreased activity of brown adipose tissue, and reduced levels of physical activity. Regular exercise may counteract the effects of estrogen deficiency.

In women, loss of estrogens induces changes in several pathways that contribute to reductions in energy expenditure.

1Division of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus;

2Eastern Colorado VA Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Denver;

3Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and

4Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO

Address for correspondence: Kathleen Gavin, Ph.D., MS B179, 12631 East 17th Ave, Room 8111, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045 (E-mail:

Accepted for publication: April 24, 2018.

Editor: Nancy I. Williams Sc.D., FACSM.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine