Hormone replacement therapy during menopause would reduce body fat, especially belly fat, according to the results of a recent Swiss cohort study.
Researchers have demonstrated in a recent Swiss “OsteoLaus” cohort study in Lausanne that postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy reduces abdominal adipose tissue and decreases BMI. Their findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism on March 27, 2018.
The effect of hormone therapy on body composition
Generally after menopause, there is an increase in fat mass in general and adipose tissue in the belly (visceral fat), while bone density decreases. There is great controversy in the scientific community about the ability of postmenopausal hormone therapy to reverse these abnormalities of fat distribution.
The OsteoLaus study was designed to evaluate the effect of hormone replacement therapy on body fat, visceral adipose tissue and lean body mass. To do this, the researchers analyzed the body composition of 1,086 women aged 50 to 80 years.
Reduction of visceral fat
They found that women were less likely to accumulate abdominal fat when following hormone therapy. However, this fat is particular because it is localized in the belly: in the abdominal adipose tissue and in the organs. Visceral fat is the most harmful for cardiovascular health. The researchers say, however, that the effect fades quickly when hormone therapy stops.
It is therefore advisable for women who stop their hormone therapy to be vigilant and increase their physical activity to avoid weight gain.