7 Tips to reverse your PCOS according to a Functional Nutritionist
Polycystic ovary disease (PCOS) is a complex metabolic endocrine condition that is often not diagnosed early enough. In one study it was found that for women with PCOS, almost 50% saw 3 or more health professionals before being appropriately diagnosed, and for about 33%, it took over 2 years before their diagnosis was made.⠀
How is PCOS diagnosed?
Step 1: Rule out anything else that could cause excess androgens (think testosterone)
Step 2: Using the Rotterdam Criteria Confirm 2 out of 3 to Make the Diagnosis
- Excess androgens
- Ovulatory dysfunction
- Polycystic ovaries
PCOS is not just hormonal, but also an inflammatory & metabolic condition that overtime can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver disease. Women with PCOS are also more likely to suffer from anxiety & depression.⠀
PCOS isn’t just about testosterone. While testosterone is elevated, it is important to understand this is often due to the stimulation of the ovaries by insulin. Elevated levels of insulin cause the ovaries of those with PCOS to produce more testosterone. Women with PCOS, struggle with either all or any of the following:
- Weight gain
- Insulin resistance
- Hair loss
- Growing hair on their face
While lifestyle modifications have a big role to play in PCOS reversal, the best solution should be something that
- Works for you
- Doesn’t stress you out or create an unhealthy relationship with food
- Feels sustainable
- Helps you achieve your goals—symptom management, weight loss, improved insulin, lower inflammation, better cardiometabolic markers, etc.
We know universals like maintaining blood sugar balance, building lean body mass, keeping inflammation low, keeping stress in check, and making sure gut health is intact can universally help us all, including those with PCOS. But here are 7 specific tips from a Functional Nutrition perspective to help you reverse your PCOS
1. Get your blood tests done
This is will help you understand your internal health better and you can then create a strategy to reverse PCOS from the root, taking this route will also resolve a lot of the symptoms you experience due to PCOS
2. Include good quality grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry and cold water Fish
These provide the much needed protein for your body to repair and heal besides which the saturated fats in meat will help in reversing insulin resistance. Cold water fish are high in Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory in nature.
3. Increase Saturated Fat
Fat helps with stabilizing blood sugar, keeping your feeling full longer, and may even aid in weight loss. In one small study comparing low fat vs. high fat diets in women with PCOS it was found that after 8 weeks the higher fat diet resulted in great weight loss.
4. Include fresh fruits
Contrary to popular belief, fruit is not bad for PCOS. Fruits contain several vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber, all of which support better health. For women with PCOS that are working on optimizing insulin levels, it may be best to opt for fruit lower in sugar, such as berries.
5. Fix your sleep schedule
A good night’s sleep is a vital aspect of creating good health and well-being throughout your lifetime. Our bodies all require long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.
6. Bring in mindfulness practices such as meditation, meditation and journaling.
The stress of day to day life has a huge impact on our health, especially in PCOS where hormone cycles are messed up stress can worsen the situation. The practices mentioned above can alter your stress perception and response mechanisms thereby reducing the impact of negative stress.
7. Avoid foods that can make PCOS symptoms worse
These include sugar (in all its refined forms), grains like gluten (has proven to be inflammatory), dairy, alcohol, all seed and vegetable oils.
Remember, even with the best diet and lifestyle practices, we sometimes require additional support from supplements or medication.