The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that around 1 in 10 women in the United States is affected by polycystic ovarian syndrome. That is roughly 5 million women in the U.S alone. When factoring the number of women across the globe this number is considerably higher.
PCOS is often identified by enlarged ovaries. This is caused by multiple cysts that form inside. Some symptoms include irregular periods, hormone changes out of the normal, pain in the ovaries and infertility. It is commonly linked with insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Over production of certain hormones in women also appear to be one of the causes of PCOS. However, exact cause of this issue is still under investigation by leading medical researchers. When there is an unbalance of testosterone production and indicators by cells to tell the body when to stop producing testosterone, the risk factor and likely hood of PCOS goes up.
Inositol is one way of helping to correct the balance. Researchers found that D-Chiro-Inositol helped to regulate numerous blood problems linked with PCOS like high levels of blood fat and blood pressure. Myo-inositol has also shown similar benefits. It specifically has been shown to have a link to decreasing levels of testosterone and to increasing insulin sensitivity as demonstrated by the University of Catania in Italy. Their particular study was performed with myo-inositol and folic acid.
A medical center in NYU is even proposing that inositol be used as a natural treatment for PCOS. During a placebo controlled trial they found that the women who had taken 200mg daily showed improvement in ovulation, weight loss and increased levels of the good cholesterol known as HDL.
In 2 separate studies performed in Italy (The Department of Reproductive Medicine in Pisa Italy and the University of Catania’s Gynecological Science Department) they discovered that PCOS reacts to inositol by increasing insulin sensitivity and helping to improve the menstrual cycle. Demonstrating that a B vitamin can have such a major affect on a common health problem should improve treatments , especially natural ones.
The main cause is believed to be insulin resistance and this seems to be agreed upon by many of the researchers performing the studies. If inositol helps to increase insulin sensitivity… then it makes sense that it would be used as a leading natural treatment. Should the medical community begin using it as a common treatment, the benefits of inositol will be more widely recognized since polycystic ovarian syndrome is such a common issue.
The other way that inositol helps with PCOS is that it affects 2 issues associated with the syndrome, diabetes and obesity. It has the ability to break up cholesterol and improve energy functions as discussed in Inositol and Weight Loss.
So to summarize why inositol may work in the natural treatment of PCOS we first address the surrounding problems associated with it.
- Diabetes and weight loss – By helping to regulate glucose levels and process them as energy it helps to prevent these 2 major problems.
- Improving ovulation.
- Insulin resistance – Decreased sensitivity to insulin is what researchers believe may be the cause. Inositol helps to increase sensitivity.
- The 2 types used in these studies are myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol.