PCOS

A Natural Approach to PCOS: Understanding the Role of Myo-Inositol

November 14, 2023

Written by Gia Eapen, MD

Medically reviewed by

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women's health
Contents
Contents

Key Points

  • PCOS is a common condition in women that can lead to various health problems like weight gain, acne, irregular periods, and fertility issues.
  • A supplement called Myo-Inositol (MI) shows great promise in managing symptoms of PCOS.
  • MI has been found to significantly improve fasting insulin levels, reduce testosterone levels, and increase SHBG levels, all of which are beneficial for women with PCOS.
  • Compared to traditional medication like Metformin, MI supplements have fewer side effects and are generally well tolerated.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), there is some exciting news on the horizon. PCOS, a condition that affects a significant number of women worldwide, has long been associated with hormonal imbalances and metabolic issues. But now, a particular supplement called Myo-Inositol (MI) could be a game-changer for those living with PCOS. A range of studies have been digging into the potential benefits of MI for women with PCOS, and the results are very encouraging.

Understanding PCOS

PCOS affects about one in 10 women of childbearing age. It's a health condition characterized by high levels of male hormones, irregular menstrual cycles, and cysts in the ovaries. This hormonal imbalance can lead to various health problems like weight gain, acne, irregular periods, and fertility issues. Click here to read more about a lifestyle approach to PCOS.

The Magic of Myo-Inositol

MI is a substance your body produces from the carbohydrates you eat. It plays an essential role in many body processes, including insulin signal transduction, which is a fancy way of saying it helps your body respond to insulin. Now, research is finding that MI might be especially beneficial for women with PCOS.

The Science of MI and PCOS

Multiple studies have highlighted the promising benefits of MI supplementation for women with PCOS. Specifically, a detailed review of nine research studies found that MI can significantly improve some crucial health markers. For instance, MI helps lower fasting insulin levels - a significant concern for PCOS patients who often struggle with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition where the body's cells become less responsive to insulin, leading to a rise in blood sugar levels and, often, weight gain.

Moreover, there is also some indication that MI might help lower testosterone levels in women with PCOS. This is particularly noteworthy as PCOS often results in higher testosterone levels that can contribute to symptoms like acne and abnormal hair growth.

More Benefits from MI

In addition to these benefits, MI supplements might also help increase Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) levels, but only when the supplement is used consistently for at least 24 weeks. You might be asking, "What's SHBG?" Well, it's a protein that binds to sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Higher SHBG can lead to lower free and available testosterone, meaning less of the hormone is available to cause problems.

MI - A Better Alternative?

While drugs like Metformin can help with insulin resistance, they often come with unwanted side effects like nausea and abdominal discomfort. On the other hand, MI is generally well tolerated by most people and could be a more patient-friendly option.

The Role of Dietitians

Given these potential benefits of MI, it is crucial to have a healthcare provider guide you on how to best use this supplement for your specific health needs. This is where your Registered Dietitian, which you can find through Fay, can play a crucial role. They can provide personalized advice on diet, lifestyle, and supplementation that works best for you.

The latest research has made it clear that MI, whether taken alone or combined with D-chiro-inositol (another form of inositol), holds significant promise for women with PCOS. It could help manage insulin and testosterone levels, and increase SHBG, all of which could contribute to a better quality of life for women with PCOS. Remember, before starting any new supplement, schedule an appointment with a Registered Dietitian at Fay to ensure you are using supplements safely and effectively.



The views expressed by authors and contributors of such content are not endorsed or approved by Fay and are intended for informational purposes only. The content is reviewed by Fay only to confirm educational value and audience interest. You are encouraged to discuss any questions that you may have about your health with a healthcare provider.


Sources

Fay Nutrition has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.


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Gia Eapen, MD

Written by Gia Eapen, MD

Dr. Gia Eapen is a skilled Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) physician at Case Western/MetroHealth. A Northwestern University alumna, she pursued her medical degree at the University of Vermont, fostering a deep understanding of women's health and reproductive medicine. She combines her comprehensive knowledge with a dedication to patient-centered care, embodying a commitment to enhancing healthcare standards in her field.

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