PCOS currently affects an estimated five million Americans and although the majority of these cases are in mature women, girls as young as 11 can suffer from the disorder.
According to the U.S. Health Department’s Office on Women Health, between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women, who are of childbearing age, suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance and it manifests itself through a spectrum of symptoms such as:
-Lack of ovulation
-Irregular or lack of menstruation
-Multiple cysts on the ovaries
-Excessive facial hair
By focusing on hormone regulation as well as treating the symptoms of PCOS, you can find valuable relief in some of the natural herbs, supplements, and alternative therapies.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – Herbal Remedies
If you are looking for herbal extracts that can help you with the symptoms of PCOS, then the following herbal extracts may be worth investigating:
Also known as Vitex Agnus or Chaste Berry, Chaste Tree extract may be beneficial for regulating hormone levels.
Hormones that are affected by PCOS include estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. In a study published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers found evidence that Chaste Berry helped to lower prolactin levels. There was also evidence that Vitex was useful for treating infertility and for improving menstrual regularity.
If you are considering adding Vitex to your therapies for PCOS, then you need to consider the fact that it may take up to four cycles to see the results of the supplement, and you need to consult your herbalist or physician to discuss the best dosage for your circumstances and always opt for an organic Chaste Tree extract.
In a trial published in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, individuals were given 20 mg of Black Cohosh for 10 days or given 100 mg clomiphene citrate for 5 days. The study found that Black Cohosh can be used as an alternative to clomiphene citrate to induce ovulation. Ovulation, fertility, and hormonal balance are important issues for PCOS sufferers, and Black Cohosh therefore offers you a natural alternative to some of the drugs used to promote fertility.
According to the Journal of Pharmacology, Black Cohosh regulates the compounds that help you to deal with stress.
In another study from the Journal of Ehtnopharmacology, Black Cohosh was found to reduce depression and it helped to combat the effects of stress.
Black Cohosh therefore offers benefits in terms of hormone balance and stress management for those suffering from PCOS.
Chinese Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) shows benefits for the regulation of hormonal levels in studies focused on PCOS. In a study published in the Medical Journal called Steroids, researchers showed that 3.5 g of Licorice extract reduced testosterone levels while leaving other hormonal levels unchanged, therefore helping to balance hormonal levels in trial subjects.
Licorice may also benefit individuals struggling with PCOS, since Licorice helps to reduce insulin resistance and it regulates glucose levels, according to the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. Since insulin resistance is a factor in most cases of PCOS, licorice may be beneficial in both areas for those women struggling with PCOS.
Cinnamon can used as natural medicine for great health and it can also offer multiple benefits for women struggling with the effects of PCOS.
The regularity of menstrual cycles and ovulation play a large role in PCOS. Herbal extracts that can balance hormonal levels, restore regular menstrual cycles, and promote ovulation can help alleviate many of the symptoms associated with PCOS. In a trial published in the American Journal of Gynecology, women taking 1.5 g of cinnamon per day showed improved menstrual regularity.
Cinnamon may also help to regulate insulin levels in certain individuals. In a trial published in Nutrition New York, researchers found that patients given 750 mg of cinnamon for 12 weeks experienced improved insulin sensitivity.
Vitamin D and Calcium
Many of the women who suffer from PCOS also seem to have deficiencies of vitamin D and calcium. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all classified as essential minerals and it is vital for most women to supplement these vitamins and minerals to ensure overall health. Make sure you are aware of the warning signs of vitamin D deficiency and magnesium deficiency.
Vitamin D metabolism relies on the availability of magnesium, and to ensure healthy calcium absorption you need optimal levels of vitamin D. This is why vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium almost always appear together in supplements.
Calcium and vitamin D play a vital role in regulating stress and reducing inflammation.
Vitamin B12 plays a key role in your body’s ability to create energy via the metabolic processes. Vitamin B12 is therefore crucial in supporting factors like insulin function and healthy glucose metabolism. Vitamin B12 is also one of the 5 essential nutrients that may be missing from your diet so you should be aware of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
In a study published in Reproductive BioMedicine online, women with PCOS were found to have lower levels of vitamin B12. Supplementation in these cases would therefore improve insulin resistance and the other symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
You need to discuss any herbal extracts or supplements you decide to take with your physician or herbalist and be sure to mention the vitamins and supplements you take, but for the most part, you often do not have to choose one or the other.