Estradiol, SHBG and leptin interplay with food craving and intake across the menstrual cycle

Sridevi Krishnan, Rebecca R. Tryon, William F. Horn, Lucas Welch, Nancy L. Keim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective To understand the association between ovarian hormones, non-acute satiety hormones and craving calorie dense foods in the luteal phase. Methods 17 premenopausal women, mean age 23.2 y, mean BMI 22.4 kg/m2 with regular menstrual cycles were studied during late follicular (FP) and luteal phases (LP). Estradiol, progesterone, DHEAS, SHBG, insulin and leptin, were measured in fasting samples. The validated Food Craving Inventory was used to record the types of foods volunteers habitually ate – rich in fat, carbohydrate or sweet taste, as well as craved during the LP of their menstrual cycle. Results Estradiol was inversely associated with leptin in FP (r = − 0.62, p = 0.01). Leptin was inversely associated with habitual intake of sweet foods, in both phases (FP: r = − 0.64, p = 0.01; LP: r = − 0.63, p = 0.01). SHBG in LP was positively associated with craving sweet and carbohydrate rich foods. Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed two groups of women, one with high estradiol, high estradiol/leptin ratio, high sweet and carbohydrate cravings (p < 0.05); the other group had lower estradiol, lower estradiol/leptin ratio, and reported less craving. Conclusions The estradiol-leptin axis may be a determinant of luteal phase craving and habitual food intake in menstruating women. Clinical Trial Registration Number: NCT01407692

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-312
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - Oct 15 2016


  • Craving
  • Estradiol
  • Food intake
  • Leptin
  • Sex hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Estradiol, SHBG and leptin interplay with food craving and intake across the menstrual cycle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this