Energy Availability Is Associated With Luteinizing Hormone Pulse Frequency and Induction of Luteal Phase Defects


Health Promotion

Document Type


Publication Source

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Volume 105, Issue 1, Pages 185–193.

Publication Date




Determine the interrelations between reductions in energy availability (EA), luteinizing hormone (LH) pulse frequency, and the induction of menstrual disturbances in previously sedentary, ovulatory women. Methods

Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial consisting of a 3-month controlled diet and supervised exercise program. EA was calculated daily by measured energy intake (kcal) and exercise energy expenditure (kcal) normalized to fat-free mass (kg) and averaged during baseline and each of 3 intervention menstrual cycles. Blood samples were obtained every 10 minutes for 24 hours in the early follicular phase before the intervention and after 3 months of diet and exercise (n = 14). LH pulse dynamics were assessed by Cluster. Linear mixed models determined whether EA predicts LH pulse frequency and LH pulse frequency predicts luteal phase defects (LPDs). Results

Subjects were 20 ± 1 years old, 165.1 ± 1.4 cm tall, and weighed 58.9 ± 1.5 kg. LH pulse frequency decreased from 0.82 ± 0.06 pulses/h to 0.63 ± 0.09 pulses/h (P = 0.048) as a result of the intervention which produced modest (-3.2 ± 0.6 kg) weight loss. EA, averaged across a menstrual cycle, predicted LH pulse frequency (P = 0.003) such that a single-unit decrease in EA was associated with a 0.017 pulses/h decrease in LH pulse frequency. LH pulse frequency in cycles with LPDs was 49% of that observed in cycles with no menstrual disturbances and for every 0.1-unit decrease in LH pulse frequency, the odds of having an LPD were 22× greater than having an optimal ovulatory cycle (P = 0.01). Conclusions

Modest reductions in EA over a prolonged period are associated with decreased LH pulse frequency and the induction of menstrual disturbances.