Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition affecting hormone production[i]. The ovaries produce eggs (a process known as ovulation). In PCOS, the ovaries will typically present with multiple cysts forming over time. In many cases, this prevents ovulation and leads to missed periods or no periods at all. However, not all women with PCOS will present with cysts.
Causes for PCOS can be genetic or environmental[ii][iii]. Women with PCOS usually produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. As well as having excess androgens (testosterone), insulin sensitivity and low levels of progesterone are also common drivers of PCOS symptoms[iv].
Testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands, which means that stress (both physical and emotional) can also play a part in PCOS.
Many women have PCOS but don’t know it. Up to 70% of women with PCOS may be undiagnosed [v].
Irregular or missing periods
Excessive hair growth (especially on the face)
Painful cystic acne (especially around the jawline)
Acne: Male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts in areas like the face, chest, and upper back.
Male pattern balding in the hairline.
Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those on the neck[vi].
Genetics: PCOS runs in families[vii]
Insulin resistance[viii] (meaning that the cells can’t use insulin properly)
Being overweight [ix]
Increased levels of inflammation: studies have linked excess inflammation to higher androgen hormone levels [x]
Diet should be focused on healthy sources of protein and moderate portions of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates[xi]. Weight loss and reducing inflammation are often the focus for addressing symptoms of PCOS as obesity is a driver for the condition[xii]. This should be addressed by balancing blood sugars.
Our team of Nutritional Therapists can all help and offer one-to-one consultations. These can be done in person in our clinic, or remotely.
Try: Myo-Inositol and Folic acid (120g): Myo-Inositol is commonly used for PCOS in a nutrition consultation as it seems to reduce symptoms such as insulin resistance and weight gain[xiii]. Inositol appears to help reduce insulin sensitivity by improving the insulin receptors, therefore supporting the proper uptake of insulin to the cell. It also seems to reduce testosterone levels and improve ovulation. Myo-inositol combined with folic acid may improve insulin function even more[xiv].
O.N.E. Multivitamin (ONE Multi) (60 Caps): Nutrients which can be helpful in PCOS are vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, calcium and vitamin D[xvii][xviii]. Also check out: Balance Multi Nutrient (60 caps) and Womankind Premenstrual: a combination of naturally balancing herbs and B vitamins such as Vitamin B6 to promote energy and support the nervous system as well as regulating hormonal activity, Vitamin B2 protecting cells from oxidative stress and helping to maintain normal skin and Shatavari a herb known in Ayurveda for its ability to nourish and regulate the reproductive system.
Clear Skin Tincture (50ml): This tincture helps to keep skin clear and balance hormones such as high androgen levels seen in PCOS. The herb agnus castus can bring about hormonal balance and address some of the symptoms of PCOS naturally[xv].
For hormonal conditions, we always recommend a Nutritional Consultation with one of our Nutrition Team. We will aim to find the root cause, taking into account your unique medical history and explore all the body systems to create a tailor-made plan.
DUTCH test: this dried urine test looks at your hormone levels and their metabolites. This would be the go-to for working out hormonal issues. It includes sex hormones, cortisol and DHEA which helps to evaluate stress levels felt throughout the day which may be contributing to your symptoms.
Female Hormone Cycle Mapping: This test can provide an insight over a full female cycle to assess oestrogen and progesterone fluctuations throughout the cycle. This ‘mapping’ test provides a clear insight into the cycle so any fluctuations from the normal pattern can be easily identified. This provides a useful tool in situations of hormonal imbalances, fertility issues and PCOS.
[i] Meier RK. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Nurs Clin North Am. 2018;53(3):407‐420. doi:10.1016/j.cnur.2018.04.008
[ii] Nandi A, Chen Z, Patel R, Poretsky L. Polycystic ovary syndrome. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2014;43(1):123‐147. doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2013.10.003
[iii] Goodarzi MO, Dumesic DA, Chazenbalk G, Azziz R. Polycystic ovary syndrome: etiology, pathogenesis and diagnosis. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2011;7(4):219‐231. doi:10.1038/nrendo.2010.217
[iv] Macut D, Bjekić-Macut J, Rahelić D, Doknić M. Insulin and the polycystic ovary syndrome. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2017;130:163‐170.
[v] March WA, Moore VM, Willson KJ, Phillips DI, Norman RJ, Davies MJ. The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome in a community sample assessed under contrasting diagnostic criteria. Hum Reprod. 2010
[vi] Speca S, Napolitano C, Tagliaferri G. The pathogenetic enigma of polycystic ovary syndrome. J Ultrasound. 2007 Dec;10(4):153-60.
[vii] Pritam Kumar Panda, Riya Rane, Rahul Ravichandran, Shrinkhla Singh, Hetalkumar Panchal,
Genetics of PCOS: A systematic bioinformatics approach to unveil the proteins responsible for PCOS,
Genomics Data, Volume 8, 2016,Pages 52-60,
[viii] Marshall JC, Dunaif A. Should all women with PCOS be treated for insulin resistance? Fertil Steril. 2012 Jan;97(1):18-22.
[ix] Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes (no date) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/heal... (Accessed: November 17, 2022).
[x] González F. Inflammation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: underpinning of insulin resistance and ovarian dysfunction. Steroids. 2012 Mar 10;77(4):300-5.
[xi] Fiad TM, Cunningham SK, McKenna TJ. Role of progesterone deficiency in the development of luteinizing hormone and androgen abnormalities in polycystic ovary syndrome. Eur J Endocrinol. 1996;135(3):335‐339.
[xii] Barrea L, Marzullo P, Muscogiuri G, et al. Source and amount of carbohydrate in the diet and inflammation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Nutr Res Rev. 2018;31(2):291‐301.
[xiii] Naderpoor N, Shorakae S, Joham A, Boyle J, De Courten B, Teede HJ. Obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome. Minerva Endocrinol. 2015;40(1):37‐51.
[xiv] Fruzzetti F, Perini D, Russo M, Bucci F, Gadducci A. Comparison of two insulin sensitizers, metformin and myo-inositol, in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Gynecol Endocrinol. 2017;33(1):39‐42.
[xv] Feyzollahi Z, Mohseni Kouchesfehani H, Jalali H, Eslimi-Esfahani D, Sheikh Hosseini A. Effect of Vitex agnus-castus ethanolic extract on hypothalamic KISS-1 gene expression in a rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2021 May-Jun;11(3):292-301.
[xvi] Alois M, Estores IM. Hormonal Regulation In Pcos Using Acupuncture And Herbal Supplements: A Case Report And Review Of The Literature. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2019 Oct;18(5):36-39.
[xvii] Szczuko M, Kikut J, Szczuko U, Szydłowska I, Nawrocka-Rutkowska J, Ziętek M, Verbanac D, Saso L. Nutrition Strategy and Life Style in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome-Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2021 Jul 18;13(7):2452.
[xviii] Günalan E, Yaba A, Yılmaz B. The effect of nutrient supplementation in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome-associated metabolic dysfunctions: A critical review. J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc. 2018 Nov 15;19(4):220-232.
[xix] Yang K, Zeng L, Bao T, Ge J. Effectiveness of Omega-3 fatty acid for polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018 Mar 27;16(1):27.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.