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PCOS and Probiotics

Probiotics supplements are among the most-trendy and widely selling supplements on the market. All thanks to the ever-growing interest in gut health among health-conscious consumers. The question now is whether probiotic supplements help with PCOS?



What is PCOS?


Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is both a metabolic and hormonal condition that affects 8% to 13% of women in the US. It’s a very complicated syndrome associated with many tedious and irritating symptoms. The most common type of PCOS ties closely with metabolic irregularities like abdominal obesity and insulin resistance.


The root cause of PCOS remains unclear, but factors like genetics, immunity, stress, alteration in hormone secretion are believed to cause this condition. One theory in medical science proposes that an imbalance in the gut microbiome might contribute to PCOS development.



PCOS and gut health


The microorganisms in your GI tract outnumber your cells by 10-1, and they weigh around 1 kg. This makes it obvious how they can affect your health significantly. The composition of your gut depends on your lifestyle, diet, and exposure to medications. It also changes from person to person and will change as you grow old. Your gut’s microbiome plays a key role in numerous aspects of your well-being including:

  • Promoting healthy weight and metabolism
  • Controlling inflammation
  • Breakdown and rebuilding hormones
  • Absorption of minerals including iron, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.

What happens when the microbiome is not balanced?


When things like medications, stress, and hormonal changes upset the gut flora, the healthy commensal bacteria may also lose their balance. As a result, all the essential functions of the microbiome will also be disrupted.


How do imbalances in the gut flora relate to PCOS?


While there has always been some debate over what makes up PCOS, two biochemical factors are common among women with PCOS:

  • Insulin resistance (metabolic dysfunction)
  • Chronic inflammation

Women with PCOS suffer from chronic inflammation, which can affect insulin and weight gain. They also have less diverse bacteria in their microbiome.


Now, it appears that gut microbiota also plays a major role in regulating of androgen and estrogen hormones, which can affect weight, mood, and libido. When there is an imbalance in the gut microbiome, the gut can’t regulate these hormones, which could lead to conditions like PMS, obesity, infertility and metabolic syndrome.


Probiotics and PCOS symptoms


  • Obesity and inflammation

Women with PCOS suffer from chronic inflammation and these could affect weight gain and insulin resistance. Research shows that changes in the gut flora, using probiotics, reduce inflammation which resulted in decreased body fats and weight gain.

  • Depression

Did you know that 80%- 90% of the serotonin is produced in the gut? It’s no wonder why women with PCOS often suffer from depression. Serotonin is a chemical substance that influences nearly every brain cell. It is involved in many processes in the body. Decreased level of serotonin causes depression. People with PCOS who take probiotic supplements seem to be better able to deal with stress. Probiotics also appear to improve symptoms of depression.

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