Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome PCOS and Insulin resistance

PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder of women of reproductive age.

PCOS is a complex metabolic and endocrine disorder that appears to cause the abnormality of ovarian function – not the other way around!

The majority of women (50-70%) with PCOS have insulin resistance!!!

Insulin is the hormone that allows your body to use sugar for energy – it keeps your blood sugar levels from getting too high or too low. When insulin receptors are not working, blood sugar levels rise.

Eating regularly can help maintain better glycaemic control and reduce the risk of sugar cravings and aerobic exercise may promote the number of insulin receptors J

What can high insulin levels do?….

  • Increase storage of adipose tissue (fat) leading to obesity
  • Inhibit the release of fat for energy production
  • Increase cholesterol (increasing risk of cardiovascular disease)
  • Increase ovarian androgen production (increasing acne and male patterned hair growth or hair loss)

 

PCOS and androgen excess…

Androgens are a group of hormones found in both men and women that have masculinising effects.

Elevated levels in women can lead to erratic periods or loss of periods all together, acne and male patterned hair growth (hirsutism), or hair loss.

Diets high in fibre and phytoestrogens increase sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which may reduce androgens effects!

Phytoestrogenic foods include flaxseed, whole organic forms of soy such as miso and temphe (not processed soy), sesame seeds (tahini snack), sprouted seeds (mung beans, clover and alfalfa), chickpeas (homous snack), herbs such as parsley, fennel seeds, aniseed, dill, sage and red clover and green tea!

 

PCOS, Cinnamon and Omega-3 Fatty Acids…

Cinnamon has been shown to reduce insulin resistance! A trial of 15 non-diabetic women with PCOS  found that oral cinnamon extract (333mg 3 x daily) reduced fasting glucose and insulin resistance significantly. Cinnamon also contains antimicrobial, antifungal and antioxidant properties….the cinnamon sugar from the supermarket will NOT have this effect!!

Reducing your omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio may have androgen lowering effects! Omega-6 is found in vegetable oils, which are found in basically all processed foods. Eg chips, fast food, mayonnaise, dressings (pre-made), cookies, pastries, muffins to name a few favourites.

Incorporating oily fish, Atlantic salmon and fresh sardines (no farmed fish), green veges, tropical fruit (seasonal not imported), avocado and flaxseed into your diet will boost your omega 3 and improve your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. The goal ratio is 1 to 4 omega-6 to every 1 omega-3…..Western diet is generally 15 to 20 omega-6 to every 1 omega-3 !