Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome & the Mediterranean Diet

Nov 23, 2021 | Past Sponsored

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is the most common female endocrine disorder, occurring in 1 in 10 women. It can cause chronic anovulation (lack of ovulation), hyperandrogenism (increased male hormones), and polycystic ovaries. There are many cofactors that effect women with PCOS, such as chronic, low-grade inflammation, obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular risk.

Women who have PCOS can have complications such as infertility, hypertension, gestational diabetes, miscarriage, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), metabolic syndrome, diabetes (5-10x), sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, abnormal uterine bleeding, and endometrial cancer. This is the most treatable cause of infertility, however the cause of PCOS is unknown and suspected to have multiple influences. There have been studies done that suggest exposure to environmental toxins play a role, and there is evidence that prenatal exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) can contribute to altered fetal programming and lead to PCOS and other adverse health effects.

Many diets have been studied and shown effective for women with PCOS:

• Intermittent and periodic fasting – help with weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced oxidative damage, reduced cognitive impairment, cardiovascular protection.

• Ketogenic Diet – 80% fat, 15% protein, 5% carbs

• Low Glycemic Index (GI)/Load (GL) diet – lowered C reactive protein not insulin

• Low carb/high protein – increases FSH and sex hormone binding globulins, lowered testosterone levels when compared to higher carb diets

• Mediterranean Diet – reduces androgens, triglycerides, blood pressure, glucose and insulin resistance, and co-morbidities

A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher adherence rates to the Mediterranean Diet are associated with lower total regional adiposity, less degree of insulin resistance, reduced risk of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. The diet is based on food patterns typical of Crete, Greece and southern Italy in the early 1960s, where life expectancy was among the highest in the world and rates of coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and other diet-related chronic diseases were among the lowest.

The foods in the Mediterranean Diet are anti-inflammatory and high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients, have anti-oxidant properties and support healthy microbiome-probiotic levels.

“The beneficial effects of the Mediterranean Diet can be further enhanced by increase in physical activity in the context of a well-balanced healthy lifestyle,” according to a journal article in Nutrients 2021, 13, 1951, doi.org/10.3390/nu13061951.

P.S. Read more from All Women OB/GYN, located at 4010 Dupont Circle, Suite L-0, Louisville, KY 40207, 502.895.6559.

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