The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
KO conceived the study, participated in the study design, conducted the experiment, analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript. YO participated in the study design, provided advices on the experimental protocol and the data analysis, and reviewed the manuscript. KK participated in the study design, and provided advices on the data management and statistical analysis. TM participated in the study design and the data interpretation. CM participated in the study design and the experiment. HN participated in the study design and the experiment, and critically reviewed the manuscript. All authors provided revisions. All authors read and approved of the final version of the article.
Menstrual cycle-related symptoms are an important health issue for many women, and some may affect cardiac autonomic regulation. In the present study, we evaluated the cardiovascular and physiological stress response to 12-h short-term fasting in the menstrual phases of healthy young women.
We performed a randomized crossover study. Subjects were seven female university students (age: 22.3 ± 1.0 years). The experiments comprised four sessions: meal intake in the follicular phase, meal intake in the luteal phase, fasting in the follicular phase, and fasting in the luteal phase. All subjects participated in a total of four experimental sessions during two successive phases (follicular and luteal phase in the same menstrual cycle, or luteal phase and follicular phase in the next menstrual cycle) according to a randomized crossover design. R-R intervals were continuously recorded before and after meals, and power spectral analysis of heart rate variability was performed. Other physiological data were obtained before and 20, 40, 60, and 80 min after meal intake or after the corresponding time point of meal intake (fasting in the follicular or luteal phase).
Heart rate decreased during fasting in the follicular and luteal phases. High frequency power increased during fasting in the follicular and luteal phases. In addition, salivary cortisol concentrations decreased during fasting in the luteal phase.
In the present study, short-term fasting resulted in higher parasympathetic activity and lower cortisol levels in the luteal phase in these young women. These results indicate a possibility to produce an anti-stress effect in the luteal phase, which may reduce menstrual symptoms.
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- Cardiovascular response to short-term fasting in menstrual phases in young women: an observational study
- BioMed Central
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