Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition whereby there is an excess production of androgens (male sex hormones) in the female reproductive system. The name itself suggests that there is a formation of various fluid-filled cysts into the ovaries.
Usually, the process of ovulation begins when the matured egg is released from the ovary for fertilization by the male sperm while if the egg is not fertilized, it is discharged out of the body during periods. However, minerals and nutrient deficiencies can hinder the ovulation process due to which the ovaries develop small fluid sacs containing high levels of androgens in it.
Vitamins and minerals play an essential part in our healthy balanced diet. Research has proven that constant consumption of dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamins D and C, calcium, and cobalamin can reduce the levels of hormonal imbalance in our body. This can help in managing diseases like obesity, PCOS and insulin resistance in our body.
A study published in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health proves that Vitamin D deficiency is a major factor resulting in showing depressive signs and symptoms of PCOS in women.
Effect of Vitamins on PCOS
- Vitamins are the vital dietary supplements that not only help in the overall functioning of the body but also ensure optimal energy levels. For instance, the deficiency of vitamin D has a direct relation with depression levels, insulin resistance, and PCOS.
- Moreover, Insulin is an important hormone that helps the tissues and cells to use glucose for the energy storing process. But, the resistance of insulin might increase the risk of diabetes, hypertension, and PCOS.
- Also, high levels of insulin in women can cause more androgen which can lead to acne, pimples, an increase in body hairs and irregular mensuration. Vitamins such as B (12), D, E, and folate are quite useful in enhancing insulin resistance especially in those who are suffering from metabolic syndrome.
Effect of Minerals on PCOS
- Minerals serve as constituents of enzymes, hormones, and vitamins which combine with the other chemicals or exist singularly. For example, calcium phosphate in bone or free sodium in urine form.
- Minerals play a crucial role in providing the structural framework to the bones and teeth. Not only this, but they also help in regulating the metabolism to perform the cellular activity. These inorganic substances participate in the biosynthesis of the nutrients.
- Magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium are the building blocks for our bones and teeth. Potassium, chloride, and sodium maintain fluid balance. Potassium and Calcium ensure muscle contraction and easy transmission of nerve signals.
- Generally, Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption that is essential to decrease the levels of PCOS in women.
- It was found that women suffering from PCOS have altered levels of cortisol hormone due to excess production of androgens by the ovaries. Nutrient deficiencies in your daily diet will lead to a shortage of the essential vitamins and minerals that will lead to PCOS.
Key Nutrient Deficiencies Caused by PCOS
Zinc is a trace mineral that is present in several dietary food items that ensure healthy digestion and absorption process. Not only this, but zinc also plays a major role in the healthy fertilization and regular menstrual cycles in women. Studies have shown that a mixture of magnesium and zinc can lower down the inflammation and growth failure in women.
Nutrient deficiencies of zinc can increase the risk of PCOS, smaller sex glands, and diarrhea. A regular intake of zinc can prevent hair loss, acne, high testosterone and hirsutism in the women’s body.
Sources of Zinc: black beans, sunflower seeds, turkey, beef, pumpkin seeds, azuki beans, turkey, lamb, bison, and whey protein.
Dosage: The daily recommended level of zinc in women is around 8mg/day. Although, long term consumption of zinc can affect the copper and iron levels in the body. Zinc picolinate is considered as one of the excellent absorbable forms of zinc. Make sure that you get your nutritional levels checked from your healthcare practitioner.
Folate is a kind of vitamin B9 that is usually present in a plethora of green leafy fruits and vegetables. It is quite different in its origination from the folic acid. Not only this, but researchers have also found that an intake of 5 grams of folate can significantly enhance your blood pressure, blood glucose levels and the amount of the lipids. Also, it lowers the risk of PCOS in women. Although, nutrient deficiencies of folate in our body can cause anemia, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal diseases.
Sources of Folate: whole wheat products, green leafy vegetables like peas, spinach, broccoli, collard greens, asparagus, cabbage, etc., fruits like oranges and mangoes, soybeans, meat, azuki beans, eggs, milk products, and black beans.
Dosage: 400 mcg/day is the RDI of folate for normal women whereas 600 mcg/day for the pregnant ladies. To avoid the nutrient deficiencies of folate, this vitamin can be combined with active B12 and L-5-MTHF.
Magnesium is regarded as one of the most popular minerals which are available in abundance in various kinds of food items. Not only this, but it also reacts with the enzymes that lead to a direct impact on the blood sugar levels, muscle tension, blood pressure, nerve functioning, and metabolic processes. Moreover, magnesium improves the inflammation and insulin resistance and lowers the risk for diabetes, strokes, etc.
It is quite common for women to have PCOS who are having a deficiency of magnesium in their bodies. Furthermore, frequent intake of birth control pills can reduce the levels of magnesium in our bodies.
Sources of Magnesium: Whey protein, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, soybeans, barley, rice, potatoes, raw cacao, sorghum, spinach, rice, black beans, oats, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Dosage: One must intake 400 mg of magnesium either in the form of magnesium glycinate or magnesium chelate. Avoid the intake of magnesium citrate in case you are having constipation. Also, add 800 mg of calcium along with 400 mg of magnesium if you are consuming it for a longer period.
4. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that helps in proper nerve functioning, DNA synthesis, the formation of red blood cells, and metabolizing proteins and fats. Not only this, but a study has also proven that nutrient deficiencies of vitamin B12 are higher in vegetarian Indians as most of this vitamin comes from animal foods.
Women with PCOS have fewer amounts of Vitamin B12 which leads to infertility, fatigue, obesity and less insulin resistance. Additionally, the use of metformin by any means also results in the reduction of B12 levels in the women’s body system.
Sources of Vitamin B12: salmon, eggs, crab, liver, dairy products, oysters, herring, pork, mussels, beef, etc.
Dosage: The optimal intake level of vitamin B12 is about 2.4mcg/day. There are various kinds of capsules and serums of vitamin B12 available in the market such as cyanocobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, methylcobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin. Make sure to consult your doctor before consuming any of these medicines. Also, it is highly recommended that this vitamin should be consumed along with other vitamins to neutralize its impact on the human body.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the only vitamin that can be synthesized by the human body from natural sunlight. It is very useful for bone making and maintenance and allows the absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorus inside our body. Also, it can regulate the reproductive processing by the hormones by controlling the blood sugar levels, anti-mullerian hormone, insulin regulation, follicle-stimulating hormone, and progesterone levels in the women’s body.
Most of the women in today’s world are suffering from PCOS as they do not get enough of the sunlight which leads to a negative impact on their testosterone levels and fertility.
Sources of Vitamin D: U. V. radiations from sunlight, eggs, fortified dairy products, salmon, liver, cod-liver oils, tuna, swordfish and many more.
Dosage: There is no standard dose of vitamin D yet individuals must get their vitamin levels checked by their health expert. Moreover, 600 IU/day is the recommended amount although it is quite low from elderly individuals. Suggested levels of daily intake are 25(OH)D are ≥50 nmol/L. Although some people require a high dosage of vitamin D which is up to 10,000 IU/day to maintain a balance and overcome the deficiency in the body.
Some Final Words
A healthy balanced and nutritious diet is all that it takes to stay PCOS free. This diet must be full of vitamins, minerals and especially those which are mentioned above in the article. Do regular physical activity and consume at least 8 glasses of water daily. Also, you can get some consultation and guidance by contacting us at [email protected]