PCOS: Should I be taking Myo-inositol?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is an ovulatory disorder impacting nearly 1.4 million Canadians. It is associated with a range of symptoms including irregular cycles or amenorrhea, acne, hirsutism, hair loss and more.
PCOS is a “syndrome” which means there are a range of differing symptoms. This means two people can be diagnosed with PCOS but have different clinical symptoms. Therefore a proper assessment is the first step to figuring out the best way to support individual PCOS cases.
PCOS and Insulin Resistance
It is estimated that between 70-80% of PCOS patients have insulin resistance - fasting insulin and fasting glucose should be screened in all PCOS patients.
In insulin resistance, the cellular environment has a difficult time responding to insulin after eating. This results in too much sugar and too much insulin circulating in the blood.
High levels of insulin can cause problems in the ovaries, leading to excess androgen production (testosterone), inflammation and oxidative stress.
What is Myo Inositol?
Myo-Inositol is a messenger found inside the cells and used in blood sugar regulation It helps glucose enter the cells in response to insulin. In general, there are higher levels of Myo Inositol found in the ovaries compared to other areas. However, in PCOS, there appears to be a deficiency of Myo-inositol within the ovaries.
A deficiency of Myo-inositol is also thought to be a contributor to poor egg quality.
Benefits of MyoInositol in PCOS patients
Supplementation of Myo-inositol in patients with PCOS was shown to improve symptoms of excess androgens- i.e. facial hair growth, acne and serum testosterone levels.
Myo-inositol improved other metabolic parameters such as triglycerides and insulin sensitivity.
Supplementation improved clinical pregnancy rates in those undergoing IVF.
Metformin vs. Myo-Inositol
The conventional treatment of insulin resistance in PCOS is metformin. When studied head-to-head against metformin, Myo-inositol was as effective or more effective at normalizing:
- Ovulation rates
- Live birth rates
- Fasting insulin
- Insulin resistance
- Serum testosterone
The only difference was tolerance - metformin can cause GI upset and diarrhea, as well as B12 deficiency.
So should I be taking MyoInositol?
The research looks very promising, it’s generally very well tolerated with no toxic effects reported. Talk to an Acubalance practitioner to learn if it’s suitable for you.
If you’d like to learn more about testing options and treatment strategies, give us a call or schedule a free 15 minutes phone consultation.
Dr. Ashley Damm ND
About Dr. Ashley Damm - Naturopaths Vancouver
Dr. Ashley Damm obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University with Cooperative Studies in Research and Development. Following this, she obtained her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine. She is a registrant with the College of Naturopathic Doctors and a member in good standing with the British Columbia Naturopathic Association and Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors.