Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects 5‒10% of women of childbearing age. PCOS can cause troublesome signs and symptoms, including:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Excess male hormone production, resulting in excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), adult acne, and male pattern baldness (in women)
- Chronic lack of ovulation
Fortunately, integrative interventions like inositol and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) can help improve symptoms and quality of life for women who suffer with PCOS.
Conditions Associated with PCOS
- Obesity, especially central
- Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- Stroke and cardiovascular disease
Causes and Risk Factors for PCOS
- High levels of insulin or insulin resistance
- Excess luteinizing hormone
- Early age at onset of puberty
Conventional Medical Treatments
- Metformin is therapeutic for both elevated insulin and male hormone excess
- Hirsutism and menstrual cycle regulation: oral contraceptive pills, metformin, spironolactone
- Infertility: clomiphene citrate (Clomid), metformin, gonadotropins, surgery to destroy extra ovarian follicles
Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
- Reduce dietary carbohydrates and saturated fat and increase monounsaturated fats and fiber from low-glycemic index foods
- Daily physical activity and regular exercise to improve insulin sensitivity
- D-chiro inositol, Myo-inositol, D-pinitol: These three inositol compounds have been found to help improve insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, triglyceride and testosterone levels, and ovulatory function.
- N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC): NAC improves insulin sensitivity and restores fertility when added to the drug clomiphene citrate better than clomiphene citrate alone.
- Chromium: Chromium picolinate improves glucose tolerance in women with PCOS.
- Lipoic acid: Women with PCOS who supplemented with lipoic acid showed a sharp improvement in insulin sensitivity and a reduction in triglycerides.
- Cinnamon: Researchers at Columbia University have found that cinnamon extract reduces the insulin resistance of women with PCOS.