Women experience an unhealthy change in metabolic risk profile at menopause. The purpose of the present study was to determine effects of resistance training with or without transdermal estrogen therapy (ET) on adipose tissue mass and metabolic risk profile in early postmenopausal women.
A double-blinded randomized controlled trial, where healthy, untrained postmenopausal women were allocated to supervised resistance training with placebo (PLC, n = 16) or transdermal ET (n = 15) for 12 weeks. Endpoints with prespecified hypotheses were the change in total fat mass (FM) (main endpoint) and the change in visceral FM (secondary endpoint) from before to after the intervention. Additionally, prespecified endpoints of body composition, metabolic health-related blood markers, fat%, fat cell size, and lipogenic markers in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) from abdominal and femoral region were explored.
Compared with the ET group, the PLC group experienced a greater reduction (time × treatment interaction P < 0.05) in total FM (PLC vs ET: −5.6% vs −1.1%) and visceral FM (−18.6% vs −6.8%), and femoral SAT (−5.6% vs 1.0%), but not abdominal SAT mass (−8.5% vs −2.8%, P = 0.15).
The ET group improved their metabolic blood profile by reduced low-density lipoprotein, glucose and hemoglobin A1c compared with PLC (time × treatment interaction P < 0.05). The intervention induced changes in lipolytic markers of abdominal SAT, whereas no changes were detected in femoral SAT.
Use of transdermal ET reduced adipose tissue loss, but improved metabolic blood markers when combined with 12 weeks of progressive resistance training in early postmenopausal women.