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Western diets found to increase serum free estradiol levels in post-menopausal women


In this study, researchers from Mexico and France evaluated the effects of the Western diet on serum concentrations of free estradiol and testosterone in postmenopausal women. The results of their study were published in the journal Nutrition Research.

  • The possible influence of food consumption on the serum concentrations of endogenous sex hormones, particularly in menopausal women, is not fully understood.
  • The researchers hypothesized that the Western diet is associated with high serum concentrations of these hormones.
  • To test their hypothesis, they collected data from a representative subsample. The data consisted of 305 women from the control group of a population-based case-control study conducted in Mexico from 2004 to 2007.
  • The researchers compared a Western dietary pattern index value with log natural serum concentrations of testosterone and estradiol using multiple linear regression models.
  • They reported that the median value for serum estradiol was 0.26 picogram per milliliter (pg/mL), while the median value for serum testosterone was 0.40 pg/mL.
  • According to the multiple linear regression model, for each unit increase in the Western dietary pattern index, free estradiol in serum increased by 16.2 percent.
  • For each additional serving of chicken eggs per week, free estradiol increased by 31 percent, while for each additional serving of red meat per week, free estradiol increased by 64.9 percent.
  • Meanwhile, free testosterone in serum was not affected by the Western diet in any way.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that the Western diet increases serum concentrations of free estradiol. This may have implications for the prevention of breast cancer.

Journal Reference:

Sanchez-Zamorano LM, Flores-Luna L, Angeles-Llerenas A, Ortega-Olvera C, Lazcano-Ponce E, Romieu I, Mainero-Ratchelous F, Torres-Mejia G. THE WESTERN DIETARY PATTERN IS ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED SERUM CONCENTRATIONS OF FREE ESTRADIOL IN POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN: IMPLICATIONS FOR BREAST CANCER PREVENTION. Nutrition Research. August 2016;36(8):845–854. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.04.008



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