Getting on top of PCOS symptoms is a life long battle.
But have we really found a wonder cure?? It is looking very promising.
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Inositol the name for a family of nine naturally occurring, B group vitamin-like compounds that play a vital role in how all our cells function. Women with PCOS have low levels of inositol in their bodies.
While our bodies can synthesize inositol naturally, most of what we need comes from the foods we eat.
In women with PCOS, we don’t use or make inositol like we should. This upsets our insulin levels which then leads to the widespread hormone imbalances that are the basis of all our symptoms.
Taking inositol supplements helps to fix the broken cell function. It improves both insulin sensitivity and free testosterone levels, this explains how inositol helps to improve fertility in women with PCOS.
Inositol is the umbrella name given to two sub-types: myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol, or a combination of the two. These are the two that are most often used as a supplement.
When it comes to using inositol supplements to enhance your fertility you can either:
- Take myo-inositol on its own
- Take D-chiro-inositol in its own
- Take a combination of myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol – this is what I recommend.
Myo-Inositol and PCOS
According to the experts, approximately 75% of women with PCOS have clinically obvious menstrual problems and a further 20% of women have ovulatory problems that are harder to detect unless your doctor really knows what they’re doing (1).
There have been several studies done usingf 2000 mg of myo-inositol plus 200 μg of folic acid taken twice daily for at least 3 months. This has been shown to have some pretty impressive results.
- Reduce AMH levels and the size of polycystic ovaries better than birth control (2).
- Increase egg quality (3)
- Reduce the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in women undergoing ovulation induction as part of an IVF cycle (4).
- Had a significant impact on the hormonal parameters of PCOS patients.
- Improved glucose/insulin ratios.
- Sent cholesterol levels in all the right directions – HDL increased, while LDL decreased. (5).
In a study of overweight women with PCOS that were given myo-inositol + folic acid during IVF, 32% of women got pregnant vs 12% of women who took only folic acid supplements (5).
Myo-insotiol or Metformin?
In a study that compared the two, Myo-inositol combined with folic acid has also been found to be better than metformin at restoring ovulation and achieving a natural pregnancy (6).
Myo-inositol also outperforms metformin when it comes to reducing testosterone levels, hirsutism, and markers of inflammation (7).
If you have PCOS and are trying to get pregnancy it’s well worth giving myo-inositol a try before trying metformin.
Inositol Reduces Hirsutism in PCOS
One of my least favorite things about PCOS is the unwanted hair growth.
Hirsutism happens because of the high androgen (testosterone) levels caused by PCOS. Regular use of myo-inositol can help with this problem because it lowers our insulin levels, and lower insulin levels means lower androgens.
In one study, 4000 mg per day of myo-inositol showed a significant improvement in unwanted hair when taken for a 6 month period.
And of the women that started the treatment with “severe” hirsutism, about half of them saw improvement over the 6 month study period (8).
Saftey of Inositol with PCOS
Myo-inositol is a safe supplement to take given no clinically relevant adverse effects have been found in several human studies that looked at doses of 4000 mg per day throughout pregnancy (9; 10; 11).
Doses higher than 12000 mg per day may result in nausea, flatulence and diarrhea (12).
Taking D-chiro-inositol by itself at high dosages, can decrease your egg quality, leading experts to warn against its use without screening for insulin resistance first (13).
Using Inositol to Boost Fertility with PCOS
Inositol can improve your fertility, reduce unwanted hair and acne, improve your metabolic health, and help with anxiety or depression.
When we get our hormone balance right, all of our PCOS symptoms go away and inositol supplements are only part of the solution for anyone who really wants to experience the full potential of what great health means.