Effects of oral contraceptives on free fatty acid metabolism in women

Michael D. Jensen, James Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


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 μmol · kg fat- free mass · FFM-1 · min-1), glucose-suppressed (0.6 ± 0.1 v 0.5 ± 0.1 μmol · kg FFM-1 · min-1), or epinephrine-stimulated (3.3 ± 0.1 v3.6 ± 0.2 μmol · kg FFM-1 · 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-284
Number of pages5
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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