Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
Q. Dear Terry, “I am writing to you in hopes that you can help my 16 year old granddaughter. She has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). She has been overweight most of her life, even though she eats only a fraction of what her siblings consume. She was also recently diagnosed with insulin resistance. She used to be active, but all the weight gain has slowed her down. She was recently started on medication to promote menstrual cycles. Her future is going to be challenging at the very least. I want to get help for her so I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.” Marlene A. Bangor, ME
A. Dear Marlene, Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most common female endocrine disorders. The endocrine glands are any organs that secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. In PCOS, the female sex hormones are greatly imbalanced in favor of androgens, and the insulin system is likewise disrupted. Since this can lead to infertility, type 2 diabetes, and other health challenges, it is important to seek the counsel of a healthcare professional on how best to address the special needs of this disorder. I do have a program to suggest for your granddaughter. However, she needs to stay on this regimen for at least 90 days so that she goes through a few menstrual cycles, to determine if this program is getting her back on track. She should take a pancreatic digestive enzyme, 2-3 tablets, 30 minutes before every meal and Symplex F (a glandular extract product from Standard Process), 2 tablets 3 times daily. Also, to help her body increase progesterone, I’d recommend Pro-Gest cream (or any quality topical progesterone cream) as directed on the label; and Chaste Berry Extract tablets or capsules as directed. Chaste Berry extract has been shown in clinical trials to help women increase the production of progesterone in the body naturally. Integrative medical practitioner and author Dr. Alan Gaby notes that both vitamin D and a substance called d-pinitol can play a role in normalizing function in women with PCOS. There appears to be a correlation between low vitamin D and PCOS. In one study, 9 women with PCOS and amenorrhea (no menstruation) or oligomenorrhea (too much menstruation), high dose vitamin D resulted in normalization of menstrual cycles in 7 of the women. The study used injectable vitamin D, but many practitioners believe ongoing oral supplementation with vitamin D3 (at least 2000 IUs) can be quite beneficial. D-pinitol is a natural substance found in some foods that is similar to certain B-vitamins. D-pinitol can be very useful in issues of insulin resistance. While there have been no trials on d-pinitol specifically for women with PCOS, its impact on how insulin is utilized by the body would likely be quite beneficial, especially since your granddaughter is already experiencing insulin resistance. One company called Vital Nutrients has a formula containing d-pinitol, vitamin D, and the mineral chromium called “d-Pinitol 600.” I need to warn you that d-pinitol is a very expensive raw material, but there have been excellent reports from integrative practitioners using it in PCOS quite successfully. Additionally, any woman with PCOS should pay close attention to her diet and reduce or eliminate sugars and simple carbs, as this puts additional strain on the already-challenged blood sugar control mechanisms of the pancreas. I hope this information is helpful to your granddaughter.