PCOS: The benefits of Myo-inositol & D-chiro-inositol
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is thought to affect around 6%-10% of women in the reproductive age group and is the main cause of infertility due to metabolic, hormonal and ovarian dysfunctions- PCOS sufferers often also suffer from insulin resistance and of a compensatory hyperinsulinemia. It is typically characterised by irregular menstrual cycles such as the absence of cycles, infrequent cycles, excess androgen production, obesity and polycystic ovary morphology on ultrasound.
What is myo-inositol & D-chiro-inositol?
Inositol can be found in fruits, nuts and beans; can be produced in the body from glucose and also taken as a dietary supplement. Myo-inositol (MI) and D-chiro-inositol (DCI) in particular are known as insulin-sensitising agents and both mediate different actions of insulin. Inositol – as a group of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids – also acts as an antioxidant by reducing the oxidative damage stress by scavenging free radicals that are released in the body as a result of oxidative stress.
How can myo-inositol & D-chiro-inositol benefit PCOS sufferers?
As MI & DCI are known to play a key role in mediating different actions of insulin, they have been proven to improve insulin resistance as well as serum androgen (male hormone) levels and many features of the metabolic syndrome. Studies show that women with PCOS show altered metabolic parameters and reduced availability of inositol. The inability for PCOS sufferers to metabolise inositol adequately may contribute to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, therefore Inositols can be therapeutic for PCOS as they help to regulate metabolism whilst promoting ovulation as they act as insulin-sensitising and free radical scavengers. MI has also been shown to help known characteristics of PCOS such as menstrual cycles, ovulation and androgen levels, whilst DCI has demonstrated positive effects on insulin resistance and hormonal balance. It has also been shown that combination of MI & DCI as pre‐treatment and as stimulation therapy in IVF reduces insulin resistance, thereby improving ovarian function, oocyte quality, and embryo and pregnancy rates while reducing the amount of gonadotrophin needed during stimulation.