You may have read my previous post about my struggle with my syndrome and how I treat PCOS naturally with juicing. Even after the overhaul of my diet (moving to a low-glycemic diet and juicing for one meal per day), I was still noticing problematic symptoms of PCOS. My most noticeable and menacing symptom was my persistent hirsutism. I also experienced difficulty losing weight when I strayed from my diet even the slightest degree.
If you are unacquainted with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), it is the most common endocrine disorders. It affects up to 20% of women of reproductive age. Insulin resistance causes elevated levels of estrogen and androgen (male) hormones. Vice versa, elevated levels of estrogen and androgen hormones cause insulin resistance. This leads to a woman’s body being overloaded with hormones and insulin. In turn, this leads to irregular menstrual periods, the absence of menstrual periods, hirsutism, painful acne and obesity. PCOS causes women to have increased risk of developing hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It also causes more than 75% of cases of anovulatory infertility.
I had improved my condition with my diet change, but apparently, it was not enough to fix my problems. So, I did what I done before: research. I read PCOS blogs and forums, where fellow PCOS-sufferers discussed their treatments. One ideas that kept popping up everywhere I looked was the use of Inositol to treat PCOS.
The reasoning behind treating PCOS with Inositol is the same that is behind as using Metformin. The only difference is that Inositol is natural. In fact, Inositol is found naturally in fruits, grains, beans and nuts. Both Metformin and Inositol act as a glucose sensitizer, which causes cells to absorb glucose the first time. This prevents the release of more glucose, which is the crux of the horrible cycle or high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and high hormone levels associated with PCOS. In turn, insulin resistance will decrease.
On a side note, if you take Metformin, you may not want to swap it with Inositol yet. A study on mice showed an increase in life expectancy and human trials will begin in 2016. Researchers are expecting it to show the slowing of aging and the increase of life expectancy. Some are even (prematurely) calling it an “anti-aging” drug.
In one Google search, I found a wealth of information regarding treating PCOS with Inositol. In one study, women suffering with PCOS were given a combination of 4000 mg of Myo-Inositol (generally referred to as Inositol) and 400 mg of folic acid. The hypothesis of the study was that women suffering from PCOS had a deficiency in Inositol levels. By taking Inositol with folic acid, patients of the study showed lower levels of insulin, 65% women had ovulation restored vs. 50% of women who took Metformin. Additionally, 18% of women who took Inositol were able to get pregnant vs. 11% in the Meformin group.
Other studies conducted giving patients the same or varying dosages of Inositol showed results such as:
- an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) resulting in weight loss
- decreased insulin, triglycerides, testosterone, and blood pressure levels
- decreased androgen hormone levels
- sudden appearance of menstruation and regular menstruation
I also read about the benefits of taking D-Chiro Inositol in conjunction with Myo Inositol. A study was performed regarding metabolic disorders and Myo Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol has a treatment. Women with PCOS can develop metabolic disorders due to metabolic, hormonal and ovarian dysfunctions. Women who took a 40:1 ratio (consistent with the levels found naturally in plasma) of Myo Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol versus Myo Inositol alone saw a greater improvement in metabolic functions. The study led the author to state:
The combined administration of MI and DCI in physiological plasma ration (40:1) should be considered as the first line approach in PCOS overweight patients, being able to reduce the metabolic and clinical alteration of PCOS and, therefore, reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.
It is interesting that Myo Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol are a part of the Vitamin B family. There are also nine different types (or stereoisomers) of Inositol. With the combination of Myo Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol, your body is able to produce all types of Inositols that it needs.
I was blown away by the wealth of information available and my lack of familiarity about treating PCOS with Inositol. I realized a few things:
- Instead of searching the internet whenever I had an issue with my PCOS, I needed to stay more current with studies.
- I needed to try treating PCOS with Inositol ASAP
Fortunately, Myo Inositoland D-Chiro-Inositol are relatively inexpensive and available on Amazon. Not surprisingly, folic acidis as well. There is also a product called, Pregnitude, which combines Myo-Inositol and folic acid into one packet. Pregnitude is supposed to help increase your chances of conception, which makes sense considering that studies have shown an improvement in menstruation and ovulation. I, however chose to buy the Myo-Inositol and folic acid separately, because I would need to double the Pregnitude dosage in order to mimic the intake used in the study mentioned above. With Pregnitude, my treatment would have become very expensive very quickly.
How I am Treating PCOS with Inositol
I started treating PCOS with Inositol by mimicking the study taking 4,000 mg Myo-Inositol, 100 mg D-Chiro Inositol and 400 mcg folic acid. Within just a few days, I was noticed that I was able to lose weight more quickly. However, juicing has been helped me reduce my water weight the most. With Inositol, I was also able to eat a little bit more leniently in regard to the glycemic index without it affecting my hirsutism, acne or weight.
In addition to my diet and supplement plan, I also do plenty of cardio and strength training to treat my PCOS. Studies have shown that strength training and cardio can decrease insulin resistance, lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels and fight abdominal fat, which increases the risk of developing diabetes.
I have been using this treatment in the same dosage for the past five months and my results have not weakened. However, I admit that I have grown more and more accustomed to the leeway that I have. With this, I have slipped into allowing myself some bread or candy in small portions. Overall, I am still losing weight at a slightly better rate than previously. But, I could be doing better if I were more disciplined.
Even though treating PCOS with Inositol has significantly helped me, my PCOS remains persistent. I still experience hirsutism, but that, unfortunately, is characteristic of all women in my family. Mine remains the worst case of any woman’s in my family, though. Painful periods have also remained constant. I now stem the pain a bit with cardio, though. Cardio used to do nothing to lessen my pain during periods. So, the fact that it is working now means that there has been progress! I believe that greater results will come with dietary discipline as well. That is my next step in the coming months.
I now understand that treating my PCOS will take quite some time. Such is the case when a condition is currently deemed incurable. However, many women have seen drastic improvements, remissions and some even claim that their syndrome has been cured. So, I know that there is always more for me to do until I achieve those those results.