Beating PCOS: Nutrients for Women's Health

Vitamin D and omega-3 improve PCOS

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormone imbalance—including excess male hormone levels—that changes menstruation, can impair fertility, and raises chances for metabolic syndrome and other physical and psychological conditions.

Vitamin D

In this study, 40 women with PCOS took a placebo or 3,200 IU of vitamin D per day. After three months, vitamin D levels had more than tripled in the vitamin D group, and increased 1.5 times for placebo. Signs of systemic inflammation had decreased for vitamin D while remaining unchanged in the placebo group.

Doctors were interested in liver function, which can deteriorate in PCOS. When the liver is damaged, it releases excess amounts of a protein-metabolizing enzyme, alanine transaminase, or ALT, into the bloodstream. ALT levels declined for the vitamin D group and increased for placebo.

In women who were both overweight and deficient in vitamin D, those taking vitamin D showed fewer signs of liver scarring, and had improvements in liver function.

Reference: Nutrients; 2019, Vol. 11, No. 1, 188

Vitamin D and omega-3

In this study, 60 women with PCOS, aged 18 to 40, took a placebo or 50,000 IU of vitamin D every two weeks plus 2,000 mg of omega-3 fish oil daily.

After 12 weeks, compared to placebo, women taking vitamin D with omega-3 had much lower testosterone levels, and saw significant decreases in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and malondialdehyde—both markers for systemic inflammation.

Total antioxidant capacity also improved significantly for the vitamin D-omega-3 group vs. placebo. And, women taking D and omega-3 showed three times the improvement in depression scores compared to placebo.

Reference: Journal of Affective Disorders; 2018, Vol. 238, 32-8

Curcumin improves blood sugar in PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is named for one of its symptoms: cysts that develop on the ovaries. Characteristics include higher-than-normal levels of male hormones, and PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder in women of childbearing age. About half of women with PCOS develop metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, raising chances for type 2 diabetes.

This review of three studies covered 168 women with PCOS, aged 27 to 31, who took a placebo or 500 to 1,500 mg of curcumin per day, for six to 12 weeks.

Overall, compared to placebo, women who took curcumin had significantly greater improvement in fasting glucose and insulin levels, less insulin resistance, and greater insulin sensitivity. The curcumin group also saw decreases in total cholesterol with increases in HDL, the good cholesterol.

Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 2, 684

BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.

Article copyright 2021 by Natural Insights for WellBeing. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Photo by Chelsi Peter from Pexels