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Oral contraceptives increase C-reactive protein, an infIammatory biomarker

at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA.

Background

In a previously published study, investigators used an insensitive, non-quantitative immunoprecipitation technique capable of identifying CRP levels above the current normal range. That study reported the presence of CRP in more than half of women using first generation combined or sequential oral contraceptives of the 1960s. Among women using the then "low dosage" progestin oral contraceptives, the study found no difference in the prevalence of positive serum CRP between this class of OC users versus nonusers.

Given the current availability of the high sensitivity CRP test, it is possible to assess the effects of current low dose oral contraceptives on this biomarker for cardiovascular disease risk. The research team involved in the current study measured the levels of CRP in otherwise healthy, young adult women according to the following methodology.

Methodology

CRP levels were measured using stored samples from 30 healthy, premenopausal women who had previously participated in a randomized, crossover study of the effects of soy intake on sex hormone metabolism in women using OCs and non-users. The study was sited at a university outpatient general clinical research center.

Participants (women aged 18-40 years of age) consumed their habitual diet or a soy-enriched diet for two menstrual cycles each. (Soy consumption had no effect on sex hormone metabolism in OC or non-OC users.) Non-OC users were trained in basal body temperature charting and ovulation testing for verification of follicular and luteal phases. Serum progesterone concentrations were used to confirm ovulation. Four fasting blood samples and 24-hour urine (two mid-follicular and two mid-luteal) were collected from each participant over two menstrual cycles and were stored at 700C until laboratory analysis. OC users provided fasting blood samples on days 8 a
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Contact: Donna J. Krupa
djkrupa1@aol.com
American Physiological Society
9-Apr-2003


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