Polycystic Ovary Syndrome PCOS
141 Case Studies
96 Member Stories
1514 Research

The primary ways that diet influences PCOS are weight control, insulin resistance, and production. However, insulin plays a major role in PCOS. Managing insulin levels using a PCOS diet is one of the greatest steps people can take to deal with the condition.

Overview of PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that causes hormonal imbalance affecting women of reproductive age. Although the cause is unknown, there are some factors that may play a role in PCOS such as genetics, increase the level of androgens and increase the level of insulin. Between the ages of 15 and 44, PCOS occurs in about 5 to 10% of women. Women of any race or ethnicity are at risk of PCOS and chances are higher if a family member has it or if a person is obese. 

Androgen and insulin levels work together simultaneously. If one goes up, the other goes up as well. Insulin is also responsible for storing fat which shows why women with PCOS have a hard time losing weight. Therefore, since what we eat controls insulin, we can employ the right diet for PCOS. 

See: Aromatherapy treatment for PCOS

Complementary Therapies for PCOS

In considering alternative therapies for the treatment of PCOS, Ayurveda, Acupuncture, Functional medicine, diet and homeopathy have shown positive outcomes. The great news is that there are several all-natural methods to deal with PCOS symptoms, and it begins with doing all that you can to balance hormones naturally. Keep reading to increase your PCOS consciousness and discover approaches to reverse the signs of PCOS naturally.

Ayurvedic treatment with Panchakarma therapies has shown to treat PCOS. A study showed that secondary amenorrhea due to PCOS treated with a combination of ayurvedic and panchakarma therapy resulted in a positive outcome. This is evident in a case study as illustrated here by Dr. Piyush Juneja here. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine + Moxibustion has research behind it to prove efficacy in the treatment of PCOS as it is evident in this case study of a 37-year-old woman who was treated with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Even though Homeopathy lacks clinical trial research, there have been successful cases published in the science journals as well as a success case discussed by Dr. Devender here.


See: DASH Diet Treatment for High Blood Pressure

Diets that work for PCOS

Were you aware that a diet high in fats and low in carbohydrates may actually lead to more weight reduction? In morbidly obese subjects, this kind of diet resulted in over doubled weight reduction compared to some low-carb diet, magnificent researchers at a 2003 clinical trial.

- Ketogenic Diet

This sort of diet is called a keto diet, or ketogenic diet plan. This diet has also been heralded as a treatment for brain fog and is presently the focus of a lot of research surrounding mental health and ailments. This diet causes a process called ketosis where your liver starts producing ketones for one to metabolize as vitality, instead of burning sugar. 

There are a number of advantages of the ketogenic diet for PCOS. For starters, women with PCOS are at a greater risk for depression, therefore the emotional health advantages of keto might help offset a number of this threat. It is frequently a quick, safe and efficient method to eliminate a great deal of fat in a short quantity of time, which is related to the improvement of infertility and other PCOS symptoms. 


- Anti-inflammatory diet

Another nutritional model that will function for people who have PCOS is an anti-inflammatory diet. Obviously anti-inflammatory foods include fruits, veggies, grass-fed/pasture-raised meats, wild-caught fish (such as salmon), nuts/seeds (such as chia, flax, hemp, walnuts, and almonds ) and unrefined oils/fats (like olive oil, olive oil, and avocado). This sort of diet appears to decrease some of those metabolic signs of PCOS and leads to weight reduction.


- Paleo Diet

A Paleo diet is a hunter-gatherer fad diet, which is also occasionally called the Primal diet plan or Caveman diet plan. This type of diet concentrates on ingestion. The Paleo diet is a natural diet that's devoid of refined, processed and dangerous foods. If the food is not coming from mother nature, it should not be on your menu. As there aren't any grains and cereals enabled on the Paleo diet, it will help considerably with insulin resistance too. Therefore, it's an excellent strategy for girls seeking to conquer PCOS through lifestyle and diet changes. Additionally, this diet removes dairy out of the diet, which can help stabilize hormones.


- Low-Glycemic Indicator Diet

Since insulin resistance and elevated blood glucose level lie in the center of PCOS, a dietary plan focusing on a low glycemic index (GI) foods can be a fantastic place to get started. Low GI foods release sugar comparatively gradually into the blood, preventing spikes in blood glucose, unlike foods that are high on the GI listing will. A diet that's low in refined carbs, sugars, and processed foods, it will help stabilize insulin levels. 


Summary of diets that can help alleviate the symptoms of PCOS:

1. Ketogenic Diet: A diet low in glycemic-index - includes fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, low-carbohydrate food, and starchy vegetables.

2. An anti-inflammatory diet - includes fatty fish, berries, extra virgin olive oil, and leafy greens.

3. Paleo Diet – includes organic meats, fish, eggs, and poultry, healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, coconut products, and olive oils, and low glycemic index vegetables

4. Low-Glycemic Indicator Diet - includes whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, starchy vegetables, and other unprocessed, low-carbohydrate foods 

See: Keto diet benefits for weight loss, diabetes & PCOS

What can you do in diet to help with PCOS?

1. Avoid weight-loss diets

•Accumulation of fat is due to poor insulin regulation, not due to excess food in your diet. 

2. Reduce the intake of sugar in your diet

• Instead of burning fat, sugar will cause your body to store it which leads to having PCOS symptoms like acne, facial hair, and baldness. 

• Too much sugar also affects your fertility - it will negatively impact your egg quality, decrease libido and increase chances of miscarriage. 

3. Incorporate whole food diet that is full of nutrients

4. Low carbohydrate intake

• Low carbohydrate intake will lead to better control of your insulin level.

5. Choose the right fruit

• Fructose content is usually high in fruits which are bad for PCOS but the presence of fiber in fruits can lessen the adverse effects of fructose. 

• Whole fresh fruit is recommended and fruit juices and canned fruit should be avoided. 

• The sweeter the fruit, the higher the sugar content (fructose) - so choose wisely. 

6. Incorporate healthy fats

• Healthy fats will improve PCOS symptoms like acne, hirsutism, weight gain, and restore ovulation. 

• For many years, we have been told that saturated fats are not good but studies have shown that saturated fats are helpful for PCOS. 

7. Fish, meat, and eggs

• If you add fish, meat, and eggs into your diet, you will less likely wish for an in-between snack due to high protein content.

8. Take out vegetable oils & take in healthy fat oils

• Vegetable oils consist of trans-fat which is not healthy (causes obesity). 

9. Plenty of non-starchy vegetables

• Phytonutrients in vegetables have been proven to be healthy. 

10. Eat food that develops your gut bacteria

• Probiotic foods consist of good bacteria, while prebiotic foods consist of a type of fiber that helps the bacteria grow. 

11. Reduce gluten and dairy

• Gluten has adverse effects on your digestive system and causes inflammation. 

• Casein and whey protein also cause inflammation. 

12. Avoid coffee and alcohol

• Coffee will increase your insulin levels.

• Although non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is common in PCOS women, a small intake of alcohol can increase the risk of NASH in PCOS women.

13. Be familiar with your personal intolerances

• Try to find out and remove any foods that are affecting your symptoms. If needed, go through lab tests or a supervised elimination diet.

In summary, the diet has a fundamental role in PCOS. A person with PCOS needs to control fatty food and high intake of sugar and try to include fruits, vegetables, and herbs to their regimen. With diet playing a major factor in alleviating PCOS, there is ongoing research on the ADA diet versus the Paleo diet in PCOS women. 


See: High Protein Low Carb Diet for Diabetes

Research in PCOS

Our breath, an important aspect of our life has been a subject of research with the finding of Kapalabhati pranayama, a rapid breathing technique is helpful for PCOS. 

Diet and nutrition play an important role as it is evident in a clinical trial that measured probiotics and selenium co-supplementation to help reduce PCOS. The trial was effective in terms of having an impact on mental health, serum total testosterone, and hirsutism. 

One of the causes of PCOS is insulin resistance and fenugreek seeds play an important role in the reduction of blood sugar level. A clinical study showed the importance of Fenugreek seed extract (Furocyst) on PCOS. The trial proved that patients with PCOS lead to a reduction in ovary size and/or cysts size, termination of cysts, return of regular menses and improved fertility. 

Cinnamon has proven to be effective in PCOS. A research proved that cinnamon helps to improve the menstrual cycle.  

Other effective herbs for PCOS include:

1. Chasteberry (Vitex): aids in irregular or missed periods.

2. Ashwagandha: relieves stress.

3. Maca: helps in balancing estrogen and progesterone levels.

4. Saw Palmetto Pills: reduces excessive hair growth and thinning of hair.

5. Cordyceps: balances blood sugar level and hormones.

See: Beat Sugar Detox Symptoms and Feel Better

References

1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (2019, April 1). Retrieved from: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/polycystic-ovary-syndrome

2. Campbell K. How to do a PCOS diet correctly - the 13 things you need to know. Retrieved from: https://www.smartfertilitychoices.com/pcos-diet/

3. Dr. Jadoun, D. (2019, February 7). Homeopathy Treatment For Success Case of PCOD. Retrieved from: https://www.nourishdoc.com/CaseStudy/Homeopathy-Helps-a-Case-of-PCOD-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos

4. Dr. Mekaiten, A. (2018, September 25). Case of 37 Year Old Woman with PCOS Healed By Acupuncture.Retrieved from: https://www.nourishdoc.com/CaseStudy/Case-of-37-year-old-woman-with-PCOS-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-women-s-health-and-pregnancy

5. Dr. Juneja, P. (2018, November 20). Case of PCOD And Successful Healing With Ayurveda Therapy. Retrieved from: https://www.nourishdoc.com/CaseStudy/Case-of-PCOD-and-Successful-Healing-with-Ayurveda-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos

6. Vinjamury M, Vinjamury SP. (2012, October). Effect of Panchakarma (ayurveda detoxification therapy) in Secondary Amenorrhea due to PCOS A case report. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266815265_Effect_of_Panchakarma_ayurveda_detoxification_therapy_in_Secondary_Amenorrhea_due_to_PCOS_A_case_report

7. Ansari RM. (2016, July-December). Kapalabhati pranayama: An answer to modern day polycystic ovarian syndrome and coexisting metabolic syndrome? 9(2):163-7. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27512324

8. Jamilian M, Mansury S, Bahmani F, Heidar Z, Amirani E, Asemi Z. (2018, September 14). The effects of probiotic and selenium co-supplementation on parameters of mental health, hormonal profiles, and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. 11(1):80.  Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30217229

9. Swaroop A, Jaipuriar AS, Gupta SK, Bagchi M, Kumar P, Preuss HG, Bagchi D. (2015, October 3). Efficacy of a Novel Fenugreek Seed Extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum, FurocystTM) in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). 12(10): 825–831. Retrieved from:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4615243/

10. Dresden, D. (2018, September 6). What to eat if you have PCOS. Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323002.php




(Neha Ramjuttun contributed to this article)

See: Heal from PCOD with the Help of Panchakarma Treatment

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