Oral Contraceptives and Muscle Wasting

I was all for putting my teenage daughter on a contraceptive until I found out that it causes muscle wasting. Many young ladies use oral contraceptives, yet its effect on their body composition and exercise performance has not been thoroughly studied. Research has shown that contraceptive use can make your girl weak and also affect her hormone levels so that she is less healthy.
The study I am talking about is called 'Oral Contraceptive Use Impairs Muscle Gains in Young Women. It was conducted by Chang-Woock Lee and Steven E. Riechman, Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX; and Mark A. Newman, Human Energy Research Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
In this study examined generally healthy women between the ages of 18-31. The girls were assigned to two groups and both completed a 10-week program of whole-body resistance exercise training . Group One consisted of 34 women who used oral contraceptives (OC). Group Two consisted of 39 women who did not take birth control pills (non-OC). The women were encouraged to consume at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day (a third more than is called for by the U.S. government nutritional guidelines) to make sure they consumed enough calories and protein to encourage muscle growth.
The participants exercised three times per week for ten weeks under the supervision of exercise physiologists. They exercise to included chest presses, lateral pull downs, leg extensions, triceps extensions, arm curls and sit ups. Body composition was determined using hydrostatic weighing and blood samples were taken.
The researchers found that there were significant differences in lean mass gains, Those OC users had reduced DHEA hormone at the end of the training period. By contrast, the other participants' levels did not change. This could lead to muscle wasting.

In the study the researchers say they were surpised at the magnitude of differences in muscle gains between the two groups. The ones that were not on birth control had a whopping sixty percent more muscle than those who were on the oral contraceptives. That is not a small effect on the human body and something to really be noted if you or a daughter are on this type of birth control.

A lack of muscle mass can cause problems with weight in the future so I am going to encourage my daughters not to stay on oral contraceptives if they can help it and seek an alternative means of birth control. This is because lean muscle burns a lot more fat that just plain tissue. Without lean muscle the body does not burn fat efficiently and you end up being obese!