Nutrition Helps Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome PCOS

Thousands of women in New Zealand suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects about 5 in every hundred women. In this condition lots of follicles which are generally called cysts are present on the ovaries. The ovaries are stimulated to produce excessive male hormones called androgens. PCOS may include a number of symptoms such as hirsutism (and overgrowth of body hair), problems with insulin production, menstrual problems and infertility. Most women who have PCOS are overweight or obese. PCOS is also linked to coronary heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome[1]. Scientific research indicates that for some women the problem with insulin over production may be a trigger the hormonal imbalances of PCOS. The nutrient GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor) chromium can be taken to stabilise blood sugar levels and insulin production[2].
If you suffer from PCOS you first priority if you are overweight is to lose some kilos as generally weight loss improves the symptoms of PCOS. Specifically increasing your protein intake and decreasing your sugar will help to decrease production of insulin [3] so helping other hormones to establish a normal pattern.

Avoid poor quality fats such as trans fats which are often present in processed or over heated food as these can make the symptoms of PCOS worse.  This is particularly important if you are not ovulating which causes fertility problems[4]. The good quality fats you need to include are omega 3 fats in your diet (high in Flax seed oil and fish) and omega 9 fats (from Extra virgin olive oil); these will help your recovery from PCOS[1].

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin which can help rebalance your hormones and give relief from PCOS[1].
You need to avoid refined carbohydrates to help your recovery from PCOS[1], this means you will need to cut out anything made with white flour; bread, pastry, cakes, pasta, biscuits, muffins etc. You can eat the whole meal or wholegrain variety but only in moderation; as high amounts of these foods can make the symptoms worse. I have found in my Naturopathic practise that many women with PCOS are have a wheat intolerance so have to avoid it completely. Other refined carbohydrates to avoid are all very sweet foods, and white rice.
If you have PCOS it is necessary to increase your intake of the B vitamins which are high in grains nuts and meat (preferably organic). Women with PCOS often have high levels of an amino acid homocysteine[5].
High homocysteine levels have been linked with a number of other health problems including cardiovascular disease[6], depression[7], and fractures[8]. The most important B Vitamins to include are B6 Folic acid and Vitamin B12.
I will almost always include herbal medicine in my naturopathic treatment. The herbs are based on your symptoms which can vary with PCOS and will also address any other complaints. Exercise is another important aspect in helping you to recover from PCOS[1]

The food you eat is of fundamental importance if I do prescribe nutritional supplements I will use the Entire Katoa Food State supplements for the best absorption and lowest effective and safe dose.


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Read more about Womens Health Problems

1. Liepa, G.U., A. Sengupta, and D. Karsies, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Other Androgen Excess-Related Conditions: Can Changes in Dietary Intake Make a Difference?Nutr Clin Pract, 2008. 23(1): p. 63-71.

3. Kasim-Karakas, S.E., W.M. Cunningham, and A. Tsodikov, Relation of nutrients and hormones in polycystic ovary syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 85(3): p. 688-694.

4. Chavarro, J.E., et al., Dietary fatty acid intakes and the risk of ovulatory infertility. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 85(1): p. 231-237.

5. Firat, B., et al., Plasma homocysteine levels in polycystic ovary syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Endocr J, 2004. 51(6): p. 601-8.

6. McCully, K.S.,Homocysteine, vitamins, and vascular disease prevention. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(5): p. 1563S-1568.

7. Folstein, M., et al., The Homocysteine Hypothesis of Depression. Am J Psychiatry, 2007. 164(6): p. 861-867.

8. McLean, R.R., et al., Homocysteine as a Predictive Factor for Hip Fracture in Older Persons. N Engl J Med, 2004. 350(20): p. 2042-2049.