Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is associated with irregular menstrual periods, infertility, obesity, diabetes, excess hair growth, acne, and other hormonal difficulties.

Pharmaceutical interventions provide some improvements, but they do not correct many of the underlying factors and have side effects and may not be tolerated by patients. Many patients with PCOS are overweight and have dietary habits that exacerbate their condition.

In a new study published last week in BMC Women’s Health, researchers investigated the effects of synbiotics on the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

This was a randomized, triple-blinded, placebo-controlled trial consisting of 56 women with PCOS and was conducted between February and May 2023. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive a synbiotic formula containing 100 billion spores of Bacillus coagulans (GBI-30), 10 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, 10 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus helveticus, and 500 mg of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) or placebo over a 12-week period. To evaluate the impact on the HRQoL, each participant completed a 26-Item Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire (PCOSQ-26), 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) at baseline and at the end of the study.

Statistical analyses were performed on 52 participants who completed the study. As a result, synbiotic supplementation demonstrated improved the scores of emotional, body hair, weight, and infertility domains of the PCOSQ-26 compared to placebo group. Also, the physical score within SF-12 showed a significant improvement. On the other hand, no significant improvement was seen in the PSS-10 score.

This study demonstrates the effects of symbiotic supplementation on the health-related quality of life in women with PCOS.

Other nutrients to consider to support PCOS:

Studies have shown that an inositol deficiency is common in women with PCOS. There appears to be a reduced ability to process, metabolize, and effectively use inositol from foods which is a distinctive characteristic feature of PCOS. As a result, the nutritional requirements of PCOS patients may not be met by a simple change in the diet and that inositol should be viewed as a conditionally essential nutrient in these women.

Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol are both essential for patients with PCOS. The conversion of myo-inositol to D-chiro-inositol is of interest because errors here have been strongly involved in PCOS patients. Strong evidence supports that the body makes D-chiro-inositol from myo-inositol and more evidence suggests that some people are less able to make this conversion than others.  Along this spectrum, people who are completely unable to convert myo-inositol to D-chiro-inositol are only going to benefit from supplementation with D-chiro-inositol. Other people who make the conversion, but with less-than-optimal efficiency, may benefit from large doses of myo-inositol. And other individuals in between, might see the best results from a blend of the two. Since this conversion is impaired in individuals with PCOS, it is important to always include D-chiro-inositol with myo-inositol supplementation. D-chiro-inositol is the more potent form of inositol for supporting insulin resistance, however, myo-inositol is need for oocyte quality and maturation. Therefore, supplementing with D-chiro-inositol alone cannot not fulfill myo-inositol’s roles that are specific and different from D-chiro-inositol, since it does not convert to myo-inositol.

Also, essential fatty acids should be consumed in our diets for overall health, but most individuals with insulin resistance are deficient. Fish oils improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Hariri Z, Yari Z, et al. Synbiotic as an ameliorating factor in the health-related quality of life in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. A randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial. BMC Womens Health. 2024 Jan 3;24(1):19.

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