Big benefits for your heart, brain, blood sugar, waistline—and more
This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). And it probably won’t be the last. Because while most people tend to dismiss PCOS as a condition that only affects women of childbearing age, that’s hardly the case.
Polycystic ovaries present problems that reach way beyond fertility trouble. In fact, the biggest health risks associated with this condition actually don’t have much, if anything, to do with reproduction.
That’s why all women with PCOS need to be diagnosed and treated—no matter what their age.
So today, I’m happy to share yet another natural solution for this incredibly common—and often overlooked—condition.
But first, let’s take a moment to review some important points about PCOS.
PCOS affects more than your ovaries
As the name suggests, the presence of small, non-cancerous cysts on the ovaries is one typical hallmark of PCOS. But that’s not the only indication, nor is it the most important.
In fact, a majority of the problems associated with PCOS stem from a completely different feature—extreme hormonal imbalance.
Women with this condition tend to have high levels of “male” hormones, such as testosterone. And these excessive male hormones cause some of the more visible symptoms of PCOS, such as hair growth on the face and body, thinning hair, skin issues, and irregular periods.
Some women with PCOS will actually go months without a period, while others don’t menstruate at all. As a consequence, PCOS sufferers often have a very hard time getting pregnant…if they’re able to at all.
In addition, PCOS is often accompanied by insulin resistance. So these patients are likely to struggle with their weight, insatiable cravings for carbs, and episodes of low blood sugar.
While these symptoms may seem obvious, they can also be attributed to other conditions. So a lot of women go their whole lives without an official diagnosis. And the chances of connecting the dots and getting accurately diagnosed after your childbearing years are behind you is even slimmer.
But proper diagnosis and treatment is critical—no matter how old you are.
A silent threat to your blood sugar, heart, and brain
There are a number of dangerous health risks associated with having PCOS later in life…none of which have anything to do with reproductive health.
For one, middle-aged women with PCOS are almost 7 times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to the general population. And women with greater waist circumference and body mass index (BMI)—or with a family history of diabetes—are at the highest risk.
Women with PCOS also progress from impaired glucose metabolism to full-blown diabetes much faster. Which is why it’s so important for any woman with PCOS to get regular blood sugar screenings.
But that’s not all. Older women with PCOS are also more than twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack and chest pain. And if they also have elevated levels of inflammation, that risk is 12 times higher.
Finally, research shows that both PCOS and Alzheimer’s disease share some underlying features—including low levels of the protective hormone adiponectin—which suggests that the condition puts your brain at serious risk, too.
Inositol brings your body back into balance
You may recall our long overdue discussion of inositol from the May 2019 issue of Logical Health Alternatives (“The life-saving nutrient no one is talking about”). In that article, I explained how this simple nutrient is one of the most powerful natural cancer-fighters in our arsenal.
But while that discussion focused primarily on inositol hexaphosphate, or IP-6, women with PCOS should look for a slightly different form of this nutrient. Namely, myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol.
Why? Well, for one thing, myo-inositol acts as a natural insulin sensitizer—similar to metformin.1 This is important because, as I mentioned above, insulin resistance is a key feature of PCOS. (Which is why the condition is dangerous at any point in life.)
But in addition to boosting insulin sensitivity, myo-inositol also normalizes androgen levels—these are the hormones that play a role in male traits—and helps to restore ovarian function. This, in turn, regulates menstruation and ovulation, and increases pregnancy rates in PCOS patients trying to conceive.2
Older women with PCOS stand to benefit just as much from myo-inositol due to its broader protective effect on the body.
In fact, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials show that supplementing with myo-inositol lowers blood pressure, decreases triglyceride levels, and increases levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol in PCOS patients…all while slashing leptin levels, leading to increased energy and significant weight loss.3-4
But as I mentioned above, myo-inositol isn’t the only form of inositol that has a role in PCOS. Indeed, its metabolite D-chiro-inositol appears to be just as important.
Research suggests that women with PCOS may have a harder time converting myo-inositol into D-chiro-inositol.5 But supplementing with both nutrients in a ratio that mimics the amounts present in the body’s natural tissues—specifically, 40:1—will maximize metabolic, hormonal, and reproductive benefits.6
A typical therapeutic dose of myo-inositol, according to clinical research, is about four grams daily. (If you’re taking D-chiro-inositol as well, the daily dose would be 100 mg, accordingly.) Clinical studies show that these dosage amounts are both safe and free of side effects. You can find these supplements online or at your local vitamin shop.
For women of any age struggling with PCOS, the addition of inositol to your daily regimen can truly be life-changing.
Six easy steps for managing PCOS at any age
The best way to combat PCOS is to take a whole-body approach. Here are my six simple steps to help you do just that:
- Lose weight by following a healthy, low-carb, high-protein diet. Eat plenty of lean protein, fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, non-starchy vegetables, some fruits, and healthy fats—and drink plenty of water. Meanwhile, avoid sugar, carbs, and trans-fatty acids. As always, my A-List Diet provides great guidance with over 100 delicious recipes. Pick up your copy today from my A-List website
- Exercise. Start with a simple 15- or 20-minute walk daily. Remember, every little bit counts. The key is to be consistent. So get up and get moving—every single day.
- Avoid toxins. Limit your exposure to toxins by eating fresh, whole foods (nothing from cans), organic, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, organic or heritage meats that aren’t raised with hormones, and by carefully choosing household products (The Environmental Working Group’s website is a valuable public resource for weeding dangerous chemicals of any kind out of your home: www.EWG.org.) In addition, keep your body as “clean” as possible with regular detoxes. For my simple detox program, refer back to the September 2013 issue (“Two good reasons why every dieter should detox…and why you should, too”).
- Get the right amount of quality sleep. I always encourage my patients to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. There are a handful of simple strategies that can help you achieve this amount. In fact, I’ve put together an in-depth Perfect Sleep Protocol to help you conquer any sleep issues you might be struggling with—once and for all. To learn more or to enroll today, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3V703.
- Don’t be afraid to take medications. Unlike a lot of drugs, the pharmaceuticals prescribed for PCOS are safe and effective. I often recommend metformin and spironolactone to my PCOS patients. So talk with your physician about what may work best for you.
- Support your efforts with the right supplements. In addition to inositol (in the form of myo-inositol and/or D-chiro-inositol), my PCOS regimen includes:
- CoQ10: 500 mg twice daily
- Taurine: 1,000 mg twice daily
- Carnitine: 2,000 mg twice daily
- A high-quality probiotic (like Dr. Ohhira’s) daily
- A high-quality blood sugar support formula daily
- Genazzani AD, et al. “Myo-inositol administration positively affects hyperinsulinemia and hormonal parameters in overweight patients with polycystic ovary syndrome.” Gynecol Endocrinol. 2008 Mar;24(3):139-44.
- Papaleo E, et al. “Myo-inositol in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: a novel method for ovulation induction.” Gynecol Endocrinol. 2007 Dec;23(12):700-3.
- Gerli S, et al. “Randomized, double blind placebo-controlled trial: effects of myo-inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS.” Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2007 Sep-Oct;11(5):347-54.
- Gerli S, et al. “Effects of inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS: a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial.” Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2003 Nov-Dec;7(6):151-9.
- Baillargeon JP, et al. “Greek hyperinsulinemic women, with or without polycystic ovary syndrome, display altered inositols metabolism.” Hum Reprod. 2008 Jun;23(6):1439-46.
- Nordio M, et al. “The combined therapy with myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol reduces the risk of metabolic disease in PCOS overweight patients compared to myo-inositol supplementation alone.” Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2012 May;16(5):575-81.