Women's Health, Diets | November 29, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects between 8% and 20% women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS produce too much testosterone, resulting in an hormonal imbalance that may cause symptoms including absence of ovulation, irregular menstrual periods, excess facial and body hair, thinning hair on the head, acne, cysts in the ovaries, weight gain, and infertility.
It is believed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors contributes to the development of PCOS.
When it comes to managing PCOS, a healthy lifestyle that includes weight loss, diet and exercise, can dramatically improve your symptoms.
Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels, change body composition, maintains weight loss, and prevents insulin resistance. Choose an exercise program that fits your lifestyle, daily routine and preferences
Many patients with PCOS are overweight, especially around the abdomen, which in itself increases the risk of infertility. Also, they are often insulin resistant. Insulin is the hormone that transports glucose (sugar) into the cells after a meal. In people with insulin resistance, the cells fail to respond to insulin, and the sugar in the blood remains high despite the presence of insulin.
When this happens, the body has no choice but to release more insulin. Too much insulin and increases testosterone levels and can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Even a modest weight loss can improve blood sugar control, reduce levels of insulin and testosterone, as well as reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Weight loss can also restore ovulation and make your menstrual cycles more regular, which can improve your chances of pregnancy.
Although many women with PCOS find it difficult to lose weight, it is important to find the right strategy that works for you, and maintain weight loss in long term.
Regardless of weight, More than 50% of patients with PCOS are insulin resistant. Therefore, an optimal diet should be one that lowers insulin. One diet does not fit all; however, two diets have been shown to have beneficial effects for women with PCOS:
This high-fat, low carbohydrate diet aims at reducing blood sugar and insulin levels.
The idea is that when you consume limited amount of carbohydrates (thus, limited amount of sugar), the body shifts from using blood sugar to burning fat for energy. The by-products of the breakdown of fats are called ketones, and this is why this diet is referred to as a “ketogenic diet”.
A small study found that in women who followed this type of diet for six months levels of testosterone and insulin significantly reduced, their blood pressure dropped, they lost weight, and some even became pregnant despite previously experiencing fertility problems. This type of diet is quite demanding and should only be done under supervision of a qualified practitioner.
The women ate:
Glycaemic index (GI) is a value given to carbohydrates foods according to their ability to raise blood sugar after a meal. Foods are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100, with pure glucose (sugar) given a value of 100. High GI foods (the higher number) produce a quicker and higher rise in blood sugar, and a subsequent production of large amounts of insulin. Studies show that women with PCOS consume more food items with high glycaemic index and less legumes and vegetables, while those who followed the principles of low-glycemic-index diet lowered their insulin levels and managed their weight better. Glycaemic Index Food Search
Foods to include:
Resveratrol. Resveratrol is a purple phytonutrient. Phytonutrients are natural compounds in plants that have powerful health benefits.
Food sources of resveratrol include the skin of grapes, and grape-derived products like red wine.
Other sources include peanuts and peanut butter, dark chocolate, and blueberries.
One study found that taking 1,500 mg resveratrol daily for three months significantly reduced testosterone and insulin levels in women with PCOS.
Chromium. A mineral that is used for improving blood sugar control, especially in people in people with prediabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and high blood sugar.
Magnesium. Women with PCOS have been found to have magnesium deficiency. It is a mineral that plays an important crucial role in blood sugar regulation. Higher magnesium intake is associated with lower reduced insulin resistance and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Deficiency in magnesium is also associated with menstruation disorders.
Fish oil. Fish, and fish oil supplements, are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 supplements have been shown to reduce reduce blood concentrations of testosterone and regulate menstrual cycle.
Banaszewska B. et al., 2016. Effects of Resveratrol on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 101(11), pp.4322-4328. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27754722
Farshchi, H. et al., 2007. Diet and nutrition in polycystic ovary syndrome ( PCOS ) : Pointers for nutritional management. Obstet Gynaecol. 27(8), pp.762-73. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18097891
Glycemic Index Foundation, 2017. Emerging Science. Available at: http://www.gisymbol.com/emerging-science/
Mavropoulos, J.C. et al., 2005. The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study. Nutrition & metabolism, 2, p.35. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16359551
Nadjarzadeh, A. et al., 2013. The effect of omega-3 supplementation on androgen profile and menstrual status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. Iranian journal of reproductive medicine, 11(8), pp.665–72. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24639805
National Institute of Health (NIH), 2017. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pcos/Pages/default.aspx
Shishehgar, F. et al., 2016. Comparison of Dietary Intake between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Women and Controls. Global Journal of Health Science, 8(9), p.302. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27157182
Szczuko, M. et al., 2016. Quantitative assessment of nutrition in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny, 67(4), pp.419–426. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27925712