December 11, 2017
450 PCOS [11 December 2017]
PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a common cause of infertility in women. PCOS is a metabolic condition in which there is an excess of estrogen and androgens (male hormones) leading to a variety of symptoms: irregular or absent ovulation, a higher risk of miscarriage, hair loss (male pattern baldness), excess facial hair, acne, fatigue, and mood swings. Conditions frequently associated with PCOS include: insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism, diabetes, weight gain, and hypertension. PCOS is the most common hormone dysfunction of women of reproductive age, affecting an estimated 10% of women.
PCOS is believed to begin with a diet high in simple carbohydrates which leads to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinism. High levels of insulin activate the androgen receptors on the ovaries which causes an increase in male hormones. The male hormones prevent the mature egg follicle from releasing the egg during ovulation, causing infertility. Normally the follicle releases the egg and then attaches as a corpus luteum which triggers production of high amounts of progesterone as a normal part of the ovulatory cycle. When the egg is not released, the follicle attaches to the ovary as a “cyst”, and little if any progesterone is produced. The lack of progesterone leaves estrogen dominant which thickens the uterus and increases the risk of endometrial cancer.
The most important approach to treating PCOS is to deal with the insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism, and excess weight. With high insulin levels, a ketogenic diet is the easiest and safest way to shed the excess fat and eliminate insulin resistance. This should be followed by a healthy diet low in simple carbohydrates, sufficient exercise, stress reduction, and a detox program to support the liver and help it clear the excess hormones. Often this is enough to normalize hormones and restore fertility.
A nutrient that shows promise in treating PCOS is di-chiro-inositol or DCI (trade name ChirositolTM). Studies show that DCI normalizes insulin levels, reducing them when too high but doesn’t take them too low. It also elevates serotonin which reduces sugar cravings. According to the Lorna Vanderhaeghe website (which markets a ChirositolTM product, GlucoSmart), DCI “effectively reduces excess male hormones, reduces weight and appetite, and normalizes ovulation, thereby improving fertility” [www.healthyimmunity.com]. Note a 2011 review in Gynecol. Endrocrinol found the studies to date of insufficient quality for reliable conclusions regarding DCI as a treatment for PCOS.
John Lee MD Medical Letter July 1999, quoted in Mercola.com 2 Jan 2008
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.