A keto may be a promising treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common endocrine disorder in women. This article explores some promising research on the relationship between the ketogenic diet and PCOS.
What is PCOS?
It is a complex syndrome and autoimmune disorder caused by a hormonal imbalance in which the body begins producing androgens such as testosterone.
PCOS can lead to irregular menstruation, infertility, and a higher risk of ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts, excessive body hair, acne, weight gain, and low sex drive.
Currently, PCOS is reported to affect 12 to 21 percent of childbearing age women, but up to 70 percent go undiagnosed.
And because PCOS is associated with metabolic complications, the ketogenic diet can be an alternative treatment.
What causes PCOS?
While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, researchers think that it is a mixture of genetic predisposition and numerous lifestyle factors.
Interestingly, insulin resistance is often associated with PCOS because hyperinsulinemia (with high insulin levels) increases LH production.
Insulin resistance is also a significant cause of weight gain, which is why nearly 50 percent of all women with PCOS are overweight or obese, and 75 percent of infertile obese women have PCOS.
In addition to infertility in women, PCOS has been linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes’s several risk factors.
Treatment options for PCOS
For now, there are no pharmacological treatments for PCOS, so researchers have begun to consider dietary and lifestyle interventions for treatment.
While it is difficult to determine whether insulin resistance is the result or cause of the condition, insulin resistance is present provides a therapeutic target: improving insulin sensitivity.
Also, new research suggests that improving insulin sensitivity and weight loss is likely the most effective means of treating PCOS.
Losing just 5 of body mass can significantly improve hormonal imbalance, increase fertility and reduce the rate of miscarriage.
Besides, increasing insulin sensitivity decreases the production of excess androgen hormone and normalizes LH and FSH balance.
Since improving insulin resistance and losing weight seem to be such significant factors, the ketogenic diet offers a promising dietary intervention for PCOS.
Influence of the ketogenic diet on PCOS.
The ketogenic diet is one of the best solutions for weight loss, epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, neurological disorders, and even certain cancers.
Besides, eliminating excess glucose from the diet improves your health. Low-carbohydrate diets are remarkably effective in lowering insulin concentrations and improving insulin sensitivity.
Because the ketogenic diet can improve insulin sensitivity and support weight loss, researchers have begun to look at the diet for treating women with PCOS.
While research is limited, it is promising; A 2005 study of a small group of obese women diagnosed with PCOS found that limiting carbohydrate intake to 20 grams or less per day for 24 weeks resulted in the following:
- Reduction in body mass
- Reduction in testosterone
- Reduction in LH / FSH ratio
- Reduction in fasting insulin levels.
These results show a proof of concept for the use of the ketogenic diet for PCOS. But the most impressive finding was that two women from the study became pregnant during the study despite previous fertility complications!
Since this study came out, several practitioners have used the ketogenic diet to treat PCOS. Many anecdotal reports have been published, and there are several ongoing studies to gain further insight.
Many women are suffering from PCOS, and too many go undiagnosed, and PCOS treatment options have been ineffective.
Insulin resistance, a PCOS driver, offers a therapeutic target that can be addressed through various lifestyle improvements, including the ketogenic diet. However, much more research is needed.
We hope that this promising research will generate more interest in the academic community to study this condition further and help the many women who suffer.