PCOS is a disorder that can impact many facets of a woman’s life, including her menstrual cycle, reproductive health, and self image to name a few. The syndrome is associated with insulin resistance, which means it can be difficult to regulate blood sugars. Long term, abnormal blood sugars raise the risk for heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol imbalances, so it’s important to address the underlying systemic issues that can occur.
It’s important to take a holistic view of this issue, since it’s often a multi-faceted problem. These interventions are meant to be used together, and it’s important to work with a functional medicine provider who can monitor the important measures.
Food is the cornerstone of any treatment plan. It’s important to work with a functional medicine nutritionist who is able to custom design a plan that accounts for your specific food sensitivities, likes/dislikes, etc. The ideal eating plan for PCOS will not include processed carbs or sugar. From there, some women will benefit from a super strict plan such as ketogenic, and others may be fine with a more paleo-type eating plan. This is where working with a nutritionist is important since they can customize the plan and closely monitor your response.
Exercise is another cornerstone of PCOS management. Various exercise programs work differently for people, so it’s important to find a program that you can see yourself doing. If you despise running, then running would not be something to include in your routine! There are a few components to make sure you include; cardiovascular exercise; this helps decrease overall body fat, and sensitizes the cells to insulin, so that your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get the body to “listen” to the insulin signals your pancreas puts out. This means that blood sugar will be better managed than it would without exercise. Ideally, the goal for cardiovascular exercise is at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5 days a week. The second component of exercise is weight and strength training. Muscle burns calories better than fat, so the goal is to increase muscle!
Stress management is critical, since overactive stress hormones will completely throw off not only one’s eating plan (since you’ll crave carbs/sugar), but it can also alter how your body balances itself, and not in your best interest (great reading is “Why Zebras don’t get ulcers” by Robert Sapolsky). Stress can be managed in many ways; some of the best are meditation (there are many apps available such as calm, headspace, insight), mindfulness based stress reduction (developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn), heartmath, biofeedback, yoga. The goal is to have your stress instead of your stress having you. If you’re in a job that is bad for your health, consider changing! If you’ve got toxic people in your life, consider giving them their walking papers, or minimizing your interactions with them!
Did you know that if you don’t sleep you can’t recover? Most individuals need between 7 and 8 hours of actual sleep nightly. Why do I stress “actual” sleep? Well, if you’re in bed for 10 hours but only sleep for 4, then your meaningful sleep is too little. Track your sleep using a wide range of trackers including Fitbit, Apple watch, WOOP, etc.
It’s important to make sure there are no other medical issues at play including infections, uterine abnormalities, or other systemic issues.
Those are all the “platform” interventions. Once you’ve mastered those, then you can turn your attention to supplementation. It’s important to work with a functional medicine provider for the ideal balance, since you may not need all these supplements! The list is super long, and is designed to impact all the systems that impact blood sugar, hormones, endocrine system. Blood sugar control is designed to make the body more sensitive to insulin, ketopro too. Berberine, Bergamot, Choleast and Omegapure; impact the blood sugar and cholesterol and inflammation.
Recommended Supplements For PCOS
Anxiety support: Lavela, Serenity
General system function: Methyl B complex
Sleep: LipoCalm, Melatonin
Inflammatory support: Vitamin D
Endocrine system support: NanoMojo
Thyroid support: OmegaPure