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Health Concerns

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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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

  • Infertility
  • 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
  • Obesity
  • 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

Integrative Interventions

  • 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.