If you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), new research shows why you might want to get yourself on probiotics as soon as possible. A study out of the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that women with polycystic ovary syndrome have less bacterial diversity in gut.
PCOS is a common hormone condition that can be a factor in infertility and metabolic issues like diabetes and heart disease. It affects an estimated 7% to 10% of women between menstruation and menopause. Women PCOS may have an increased number of cysts in the ovaries, higher testosterone levels and irregular menstrual cycles. Additionally, they may show symptoms that are in-line with increased testosterone levels, such as acne and excess body or facial hair.
Potential PCOS Probiotics Link
Why does gut diversity matter?
We all have live bacteria in our gut. It is thought that there are hundreds of bacterial species inside our bodies, and that’s actually a good thing. About 70-80% of our immune cells are located in the gut, which is why we need to keep that diversity in the gut strong.
Other recent research suggests that gut bacteria differ in individuals with metabolic conditions, such as obesity, compared to individuals who do not have those conditions.
Additional studies will be needed to definitively link this lack of diversity in gut bacteria to the development of PCOS. Conversely, researchers will also be trying to determine whether treating PCOS with testosterone blockers or oral contraceptives makes the gut bacteria more diverse.
What does this have to do with taking a probiotic?
First, please note that probiotics are not regulated by the FDA, and are therefore not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailments or disease.
Probiotics are strains of good live bacteria that enter the system, and help to restore balance in the gastrointestinal tract, limit the growth of undesirable bacteria. They can assist with the digestion and utilization of vitamins and nutrients, and support normal immune system function. Probiotics can also help the body to eliminate metabolic waste.
Probiotics have been shown to support the body in a variety of ways, including several that are related to PCOS. Women with healthy, diverse gut bacteria have a better ratio of estrogen metabolites.
Research suggests that bacteria in the gut can contribute to the onset of acne, so normalizing gut bacteria may improve your complexion too.
With regards to metabolic syndrome, studies are being done to determine whether probiotics may be used for the control of obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes, since it is already known that poor gut bacteria can affect these levels. In patients with high cholesterol, a probiotic strain showed to lower both LDL “bad” cholesterol as well as total cholesterol levels.
Studies have already shown that the intestinal flora of obese individuals differs from that of thinner people. When researchers looked at whether consuming probiotics could help reset the balance of the gut in favor of bacteria that promote a healthy weight, the women who consumed probiotics lost twice as much weight over a 24-week period.
What’s the bottom line for PCOS sufferers?
As a health coach and PCOS sufferer myself, I am a huge proponent of probiotics for everyone. The benefits as far as I’m concerned are too many too ignore.
If you have PCOS, talk to a trusted medical practitioner about probiotics, as she or he may have recommendations of specific strains that may work best for supporting your body’s needs. Then do your homework and purchase from a brand you trust.
Disclaimer: Please consult your medical practitioner before making any changes to your wellness routine. These items are not evaluated by the FDA, and may not diagnose, treat, or cure any ailments or disease. Thanks to the UC San Diego News Center for information used in this article.
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