Published on L.A. Times, by Tami Dennis, August 10, 2010.
Researchers knew that the estrogen in oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy could affect cholesterol levels, but they wanted to know more about the effects of normal estrogen fluctuations inside the body. So they tested lipid levels of 259 women aged 18-44 through two menstrual cycles.
They found that HDL (or good) cholesterol rose as estrogen levels rose, with both topping out at ovulation. Levels of total cholesterol, LDL (or bad) cholesterol and triglycerides fell as this happened.
Ultimately, the researchers – from the National Institutes of Health – found, cholesterol levels varied 19% throughout the menstrual cycle. Yes, 19%.
The results may not be shocking. But the size of the variation is worth noting, as the researchers point out, when assessing research results or cholesterol management of individual women … (full text).