Looking for an Integrative Treatment for PCOS? Look no further!
How does insulin resistance influence PCOS? And how does this affect fertility? What natural treatments are available?
PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is commonly associated with hormone imbalance, hyperandrogenism, reduced fertility, obesity, insulin resistance, enlarged follicular ovaries, and irregular periods. There is no exact known cause of PCOS, but some factors that influence the disease include insulin resistance, low-grade inflammation, genetics, and excess androgen.
Some complications that can occur as a result include
Type 2 diabetes
metabolic syndrome, depression
anxiety, eating disorders
increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease
In fact, 50-70% of women who have PCOS also display significantly more insulin resistance than is expected for their weight.
While genetics plays a role in whether or not you experience PCOS, lifestyle and diet factors can reduce your risk.
Aviva Romm, MD, describes natural treatment well, stating “A natural approach to PCOS means taking an approach to your lifestyle with the overall goals of keeping your blood sugar in balance, reducing stress and nourishing your adrenals, reducing your environmental hormone exposures, supporting your body’s natural detox pathways, and reducing inflammation.”
One of the most common treatments for PCOS is metformin, which controls blood sugar and reduces inflammation, but medications often don’t treat the underlying issue. They can be used in conjunction with additional supplements and lifestyle adjustments, including diet and exercise. Some other recommendations to reduce blood sugar and treat insulin resistance include consuming quality proteins, lots of colorful vegetables, cutting out white flour and sugar products, adopting an exercise program, and reducing dairy and alcohol consumption.
Some supplements to reduce insulin resistance include:
Alpha-lipoic acid, 200-400 mg/day reduces insulin resistance.
A combination of 4 gm. of myo-inositol + 400 mcg of folic acid significantly improved ovulation and conception in women with PCOS, at a rate better than 1500 mg/day of metformin.
Chromium picolinate, up to 1000 mcg/day, improves insulin resistance.
Cinnamon improves insulin resistance. One small study looking specifically at its use in women with PCOS found that 1.5 gm/day improved menstrual regularity.
Vitamin D is essential for reducing insulin resistance; I recommend keeping blood levels between 50 and 80 for optimal health, and taking a daily supplement of 2000 units/day of Vitamin D3 if you’re struggling with PCOS.
D-chiro-inositol, at 1200 mg/day, has been shown improve insulin sensitivity and reduce serum testosterone levels in women with PCOS. Myo-inositol (up to 4 g/day) may be substituted, or a combination of the two may be used and may even be superior.
Legumes are also rich in inositol, so including garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and non-GMO organic soy in your diet can also increase your intake.
Pinitol, similar to d-chiro-inositol, at 600 mg twice daily for three months lowered blood glucose levels by 19%, lowered average glucose levels by 12% and significantly improved insulin resistance.
The right nutrition can make a big difference for women with PCOS, in terms of aiding fertility and managing blood sugar levels. This includes an organic, whole foods diet with limited amounts of sugar and processed foods. A regular exercise program (30-45 minutes daily) is crucial to aid weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity. This in turn will increase fertility and reduce risk of complications.
PIM wants to hear from you! Do you have an experience with PCOS, infertility, or insulin resistance? Do you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
If you’re struggling with managing your PCOS or think you may have it, schedule a FREE consultation call with one of our providers to see how we can best help you reach your optimal health. For information on PIM’s Integrative Fertility program, click here!
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If you or your loved one needs help, perhaps you are suffering from the effects of ongoing stress, mood or hormone imbalance, including thyroid imbalance, or you or they are already working with a doctor to address a condition but want a more comprehensive, empowering approach schedule your a 20 minute free consultation or an appointment with Annmarie McManus, MMSc, PA-C, PT, IFMCP or Lauren Houser, MS, MSN, CRNP today! Not quite ready to schedule and have questions, quickly get in touch with us today!
Written by Dani Mortimer, Clinic Manager
Romm, Aviva. “PCOS: The Natural Prescription.” PCOS: The Natural Prescription, 26 Sept. 2018, avivaromm.com/pcos-natural-prescription/.
“The Use of Metformin in Patients with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).” The Use of Metformin in Patients with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Fertility Centers of Illinois, fcionline.com/our-center/for-physicians/hot-topics-from-our-physicians/the-use-of-metformin-in-patients-with-polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-pcos/.
“Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 29 Aug. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/symptoms-causes/syc-20353439.
Marshall, John C. “All Women With PCOS Should Be Treated For Insulin Resistance.” PMC, NCBI, 1 Jan. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3277302/.