Being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can be quite daunting. The good news, however, is that dietary intervention has been proven to be a massive and very successful part of the treatment regimen. 

Diet is something that will take some determination but, luckily, it is not costly compared to the treatment of other disease conditions. Also, it is one of the very few disease conditions where you as the patient has some power that you can take into your own hands to improve symptoms (weight gain, bold hair pattern, unusual hair growth on face/ breast/ stomach / back, ovulation irregularity, amenorrhea, infertility).

Contrary to popular belief a restrictive diet with load of low fat and fat free products will not be successful in terms of symptom alleviation or weight loss in these patients.

Whether you are a normal weight, overweight or obese you should follow a good quality diet low in sugar and refined starches. Healthy fats should be part of your diet and regular physical activity is extremely important. The combination of dietary changes, medical intervention (in some patients) and physical activity will result in a normal menstrual cycle and will increase your chances of falling pregnant.

The media provides us with multiple solutions- the ‘keto diet’ OR ‘low carb diet’/ ‘no dairy’ / ‘no gluten’/ ‘banting’. Please be cautious to jump on the band wagon. PCOS needs a very specific and delicate treatment regime and should NOT be confused with a standard ‘healthy’/ weight loss / fad diet.

Common symptoms:

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Excessive hair particularly on the face, chest or stomach
  • Thinning of scalp hair or male pattern hair growth/ baldness
  • Acne
  • Difficulty in maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Fertility problems

Long term side effects associated with PCOS:

  • High levels of fats in the blood- cholesterol
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • Overweight (in particular, having lots of fat around your middle)

Supplementation in PCOS - in accordance with your

dietician and doctor

Omega-3 fatty acid
Myo-inositol and folic acid/folate
Clinical studies suggest that inositol in combination with folic acid may result in a reduction in of triglycerides levels; furthermore, it may promote ovulation in this patient population. Inositol reduce insulin resistance and may lower blood pressure in individuals diagnosed with PCOS. Inositol and folic acid in women with fertility issues from PCOS (20Trusted Source, 21).

In one study, 4 grams of inositol and 400 mcg of folic acid taken daily for 3 months induced ovulation in 62% of treated women – It is important that this recommendation has been given by your Doctor/Dietician. Do NOT supplement on your OWN under ANY circumstances.
Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with lower rates of follicle development & pregnancy after stimulation. Vitamin D supplementation may improve reproductive function in a woman with PCOS by restoring regular menstrual cycle. Vitamin D involved with several features PCOS infertility, hirsutism, insulin resistance & CVD risk. Normal ovulation associated with higher Vit D levels.
A pro-inflammatory state in PCOS woman is due also by the elevated expression of advanced glycation end products. These compounds mediate the production or ROS & pro-inflammatory cytokines. Irani et al., 2014 demonstrated that in a woman with PCOS supplementation of vitamin D increased RAGE, which bonded serum AGE thereby reducing the inflammatory response. Thus, vitamin D exerts an anti-inflammatory action in PCOS.
Chromium has reported to improve glucose intolerance, insulin secretion and sensitivity.
NAC- N-acetyl cysteine
NAC is an amino acid and antioxidant which assists in a reduction in BMI, fasting insulin, better menstrual cycle and helps reduce excess body hair. Used with Clomid- increase ovulation and pregnancy rates. Myo-inositol and D-Chiro Inositol treatments significantly improve the regularity of the menstrual cycle, acne and insulin resistance in young overweight PCOS patients.
The risk for subjects to develop PCOS is 19 X higher in women with magnesium deficiency. Magnesium helps with reducing blood pressure and could reduce insulin and glucose levels.

Lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) together with the correct medication and supplementation will help improve PCOS symptoms and are very important to help prevent developing heart disease and diabetes in the future.

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