Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects as many as one in every ten to fifteen women in the United States of America. In the case of women who experience regular menstrual cycles, follicles grow on the ovaries. It is within these follicles that the eggs develop and are then in turn released into the Fallopian tubes each month during ovulation. After ovulation, the remainder of the follicles die and degenerate and the normal menstrual cycle continues.
However, with women who suffer from PCOS, the ovaries tend to be enlarged. This means that the follicles that grow on the ovaries tend to grow in clumps and do not function as they do in women who do not suffer from PCOS. This can lead to quite a large number of symptoms. The clumps of follicles form cyst like growths. The majority of women who suffer from PCOS will have an imbalance of hormones. This in turn can lead brings many side effects and symptoms including the following:
- Women with PCOS can often be overweight and struggle to lose any excess weight they may be carrying.
- Women with PCOS rarely have a normal menstrual cycle. Some women will menstruate very infrequently with some women not menstruating at all.
- Women who suffer with PCOS can be very prone to acne regardless of their age.
- PCOS can sometimes bring with it excess hair growth on the body.
- Changes of mood and mood swings are quite common in women who suffer with PCOS.
In some cases, PCOS can affect fertility due to the interruption of a normal menstrual cycle; the egg is released into the Fallopian tube during ovulation each month. Further to this, women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. PCOS can often cause problems with blood sugars thus leaving women who have it, up to seven times more likely to develop diabetes.
So, what can help Polycystic Ovary Syndrome? More and more women who suffer with this condition are turning to alternative therapies to help ease their symptoms as opposed to taking prescribed drugs and medications. Many supplements including vitamins and minerals can be taken on a daily basis to improve the symptoms that so many women suffer from.
Four key B vitamins have been shown to greatly aid the symptoms of PCOS by women who took the supplements for a period of three months or more.
- Vitamin B2 is an excellent vitamin that helps convert fat, sugar and protein into energy.
- Vitamin B3 helps to regulate the glucose level in the blood.
- Vitamin B5 aids with the control of fat metabolism thus encouraging weight loss.
- Vitamin B6 helps to aid in the regulation of hormones.
- Vitamin B2, B3 and B6 work in conjunction with each other to ensure a normal thyroid function in the body. A normal thyroid function keeps the production of hormones in the body balanced.
Furthermore, the B vitamins aid the liver in one of its key functions – the liver helps to break down hormones that can no longer be used by the body. The hormones that are broken down can then be excreted.
Zinc is known as a trace mineral and is needed for many functions in the body. It plays roles in aiding the body’s immune system in fighting various infections. It also helps with cell growth, the healing of wounds and the breaking down of carbohydrates we take in via the food we eat. Unfortunately, we rarely obtain enough Zinc from food sources so many people choose to take a Zinc supplement. It has been shown that Zinc supplements, like Vitamin B, have been beneficial to women who have PCOS.
Zinc can help aid the symptoms and side effects of PCOS in the following ways:
- Zinc can help control appetite which in turn will ensure that women with PCOS are not consuming excess portion sizes which can add to the weight gain.
- Further to that, zinc deficiency can cause cravings of strongly flavored food which is generally more fattening foods.
- Zinc also aids in the regulation of some hormones, in particular insulin. This ensures that the body’s blood sugar is maintained at a normal level.
- Zinc is similar to Vitamin B in that it aids the thyroid produce hormones in a balanced manner.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. Unfortunately, for many of us who live in cooler, less sunny climates, we don’t obtain enough vitamin D. In recent years, it has been discovered that getting adequate levels of Vitamin D contributes to controlling and maintaining balanced blood sugar and insulin levels. Furthermore, a vitamin D deficiency in women with PCOS further contributes to both insulin resistance and being overweight. This is why many women with PCOS now take a Vitamin D supplement to keep their symptoms and side effects at bay.
Magnesium is another mineral that can be taken in supplement form to help aid the side effects of PCOS. Those with diabetes are often found to be deficient in Magnesium. As women with PCOS are much more likely to develop diabetes than those who have normal menstrual cycles, it can be very beneficial to take a daily magnesium supplement. Further to this, a strong link can be found between a magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Omega 3 Fatty Acids are extremely beneficial to women who suffer from PCOS for a number of reasons. Firstly, the omega 3 fatty acids, has been found to reduce the levels of testosterone found in women with PCOS. This can reduce the excess body hair often experienced as a side effect. Furthermore, Omega 3 Fatty acids can encourage and maintain the correct balance of insulin in the body.
Overall, there are many supplements that can be taken which have been shown to aid in the reduction of symptoms experienced by many women. However, it is important to note that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome must be diagnosed by a medical professional. Before taking anything you may not have tried before, be sure to consult a medical professional. With all the alternative supplements that can aid the symptoms of Polcystic Ovary Syndrome, you may not need to take prescribed medication at all!