top of page

A 2022 meta-analysis study from the University of Bergen in Norway has shown that you can increase your life expectancy by 8-13 years by eating more plant-based foods.


Changes in life expectancy were estimated with sustained changes in the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, refined grains, nuts, legumes, fish, eggs, milk/dairy, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages.


Surrey dietitian

Key findings:


· The largest gains can be made by eating more legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans), whole grains and nuts, and less red meat and processed meat.


· Changing from a typical Western diet to a more plant-based diet in our 60’s increases life expectancy by 8 years in women and almost 9 years in men, and 80-year-olds would gain 3-4 years.


· The biggest increase in life expectancy was seen for those in their 20’s where life expectancy would increase by 12 years for women and 13 years for men.



5 easy ways to include more plant-based foods in your diet:


1) Swap animal protein sources for plant-based protein sources


There are many varieties of legumes, including kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, soy beans and lentils.


Legumes are very nutritious and provide a source of fibre, protein, carbohydrate, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous. They are practically free from saturated fat and cholesterol. Legumes are included as part of many healthy eating plans such as the Mediterranean diet and the low glycaemic index (low GI) diet. Legumes can play an important role in the prevention and management of many different health conditions.


Practical tip: Start by adding some legumes to dishes you usually prepare. For example, you could add lentils to your spaghetti bolognaise, mixed beans to your chilli con carne, and chickpeas to your salad.



Surrey dietitian

2) Eat a rainbow of different coloured fruits and vegetables


Natural compounds called phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their different colours. Phytochemicals are often antioxidants which are natural chemicals with anti-inflammatory properties. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables provide the body with different types of antioxidants and have therefore been associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease and cancer.


Eating a rainbow of different coloured fruits and vegetables will help you to achieve your 5-a-day whilst also making your meals look more attractive.


Practical tip: Include at least one type of fruit and/or vegetable at every meal.


3) Include more whole grains


Whole grains include all parts of the grain, with nothing removed. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, rolled oats, wholegrain barley and rye and whole wheat.


Whole grains are also sources of antioxidants which are natural chemicals with anti-inflammatory properties. These have anticancer and cardioprotective properties.

Whole grains are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fats. They may help to reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and with weight management.


Practical tip: Swap refined starchy foods such as white bread, rice and pasta for whole grain alternatives such a brown rice, quinoa and bulgur wheat.



Surrey dietitian


4) Snack on fruit, nuts and seeds


Nuts and seeds are very nutrient dense foods and are a source of protein, fibre, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals. Studies have associated consumption of nuts and seeds with reduced incidence of coronary heart disease and gallstones in both genders, and diabetes in women. Some evidence has also shown beneficial effects on hypertension, cancer and inflammation.


Practical tip: For a balanced snack combine some fruit with nuts and/or seeds. The carbohydrate from the fruit will provide you with a faster source of energy, and the protein and fats in the nuts and seeds will give you longer lasting energy.


5) Cut down on processed meat


Processed meat includes bacon, sausages, ham, chorizo, canned meat and hot dogs. These types of meats have been processed in some way to preserve the flavour.


Consumption of processed meat has been linked to increased incidence of certain cancers as well as heart disease and diabetes. The current evidence suggests “the higher the intake of processed meat, the higher the risk of chronic diseases and mortality”.


Practical tip: Start by limiting your intake of processed meat to only 2 portions per week.



Surrey dietitian

Reference List


British Dietetic Association. 2022. Wholegrains: Food Fact Sheet. Accessed 9th October 2022. Available at: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/wholegrains.html


British Heart Foundation. 2022. Heart matters. Accessed 9th October 2022. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/5-a-day/colourful-foods


Fadnes, LT., Okland, JM., Haaland OA and Johansson, KA. 2022. Estimating impact of food choices on life expectancy: A modelling study. PLOS Medicine 19(3). Accessed 9th October 2022. Available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003889


Polak, R., Phillips, EM. 2015. Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake. Clinical Diabetes 33(4). Accessed 9th October 2022. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4608274/


Ros, E. 2010. Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Nutrients 2(7). Accessed 9th October 2022. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/

91 views0 comments

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

Experience of Menopause varies from one woman to the next and this is partially due to our diet and lifestyle which can play a part in influencing the onset of menopause and the severity of its symptoms.


Factors influencing menopause onset


Low BMI = early onset. Mainly due to women not eating enough to produce the hormones needed for a healthy functioning reproductive system.


High BMI = late onset. Having a high BMI has a negative impact on hormones, more body fat increases oestrogen levels in the body and low levels of leptin and adipokines which are involved in inflammation.


Smoking = early onset, although the mechanism is not clear it is thought that toxins in tobacco decrease oestrogen levels.


One research study showed that a high intake of oily fish and fresh legumes were associated with delayed onset of natural menopause by 3.3 years per portion/day. Omega 3 fats have been shown to improve antioxidant capacity which has a positive effect on hormone balance.


B6 and Zinc are important for antioxidant capacity and healthy ovaries. To find out about dietary sources of B6 and Zinc click here.



Diet and menopause
Surrey Dietitian


The stages that occur during the menopause:


Peri-menopause


Usually occurs 5 years before going through the menopause.


Symptoms may include:


· Irregular periods

· Hot flashes and sleep problems

· Mood changes

· Decreased fertility

· Changes in sexual function

· Changes in cholesterol levels

· Difficulty losing weight


Menopause


Occurs naturally as the ovaries age and produce less reproductive hormones. Eventually the ovaries stop releasing eggs. Women have reached menopause after 12 consecutive months of no menstruation. The average age at menopause in the UK is 51 years. Premature menopause can occur before the age of 45 and might be brought about by surgical removal or damage to the ovaries.


The symptoms are the same as peri-menopause, with the most common symptoms being hot flashes and night sweats.


Post-menopause


Likely to no longer experience symptoms of the menopause.


Likely to have an increase in risk of health problems, including:


· Bone deterioration.

· Heart disease.

· Changes in body composition, commonly more fat distribution around middle and less muscle mass.

· Higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

· Bladder and digestive issues.


What is happening at a hormonal level?


There are 5 hormones involved, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), Luteinizing hormone (LH), GnRH (Gonadotrophin releasing hormone), progesterone and oestrogen.


Oestrogen and progesterone are the most important because they decrease during menopause resulting in the subsequent effects of menopause.


Oestrogen and progesterone levels decline from the age of 35. Ovary follicles are exhausted and stop releasing eggs. Because they stop releasing eggs, they stop producing oestrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen in-particular is involved in almost every physiological function including weight management, bone health, brain function, skin health, cholesterol, libido and is the main cause of changes.


Although the menopause can be treated by hormone therapy (HRT), dietary changes can also be significant in symptom management.


Menopause and change in body composition


Due to reductions in oestrogen, progesterone and the aging process, muscle mass decreases and abdominal fat increases.


The changing hormone levels during the menopause cause increased glucose levels in the blood which means the body must produce more insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. This increase in insulin signals for the body to store fat.


The consequence of increased body fat means that menopausal women are more likely to develop pre-diabetes and inflammation in the body. The body is also generally under more oxidative stress.


For the reasons described above, dietary modification should aim to keep blood sugar levels under control.


Diet and menopause
Surrey Dietitian


A low glycaemic index (low GI) diet


The term glycaemic index refers to how quickly our blood sugars increase after eating a particular food or meal. High GI foods cause our blood sugars to enter a ‘rollercoaster’ cycle where they rapidly increase and decrease, whereas low GI foods keep our blood sugars steadier. The higher our blood sugar levels, the more insulin we produce. As discussed above, too much insulin signals to the body to store fat. Additionally, when our blood sugar levels drop, we produce more of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol which signal to our body to break down muscle for energy.


By choosing low GI foods and limiting intake of high GI foods, insulin levels are not as high, resulting in a lower tendency to store abdominal fat. We also reduce production of cortisol and adrenaline therefore reducing muscle breakdown.


High GI carbohydrates include foods with added sugar and refined carbohydrate such as white bread.


Low GI carbohydrates include complex carbohydrates such as granary bread, boiled new potatoes, wholegrain cereals.


You can also help to lower the GI of a meal or snack by adding protein and fibre. Protein and fibre take a long time to be broken down into sugar so will help to prevent rapid increases in blood sugar levels.



Diet and menopause
Surrey Dietitian

Be smart about the timing of your starch


Eating more of your starchy carbohydrate portions earlier in the day is another effective method for keeping blood sugar levels under control.


If you were to eat a high carbohydrate meal shortly before going to bed, your insulin levels would be higher because you are inactive and therefore not using up the sugar in your blood for energy.


You might want to start by swapping starches such as pasta, rice and potatoes for pulses and beans.


Doing some form of exercise, even going for a short walk after a meal can also help to improve insulin sensitivity.


Low carbohydrate diets


Low carbohydrate diets can be effective in the short term for weight loss and improving blood sugar control but unfortunately, evidence has shown that sticking to a low carbohydrate diet long-term is not sustainable. Carbohydrates remain an important part of our diet. They are our primary energy source so without them we would likely feel low in energy and potentially quite hungry. Restricting whole food groups is also likely to lead to increased cravings.


Carbohydrates are a rich source of fibre and micronutrients and help to optimise the good bacteria in our gut therefore aiding digestion, immunity, and mood.


If you are considering trialling a low carbohydrate diet, it should only be considered short term and I would recommend discussing this with a dietitian first.


Further tips for improving body composition:


· Reducing alcohol consumption.


Alcohol is a source of carbohydrate and is high in calories and therefore likely to increase visceral fat and decrease muscle growth. It also has a negative impact on sleep which can increase production of the stress hormone cortisol.


· Limit intake of trans fats.


Trans fats increase fat storage around stomach.


· Combine resistance training and cardiovascular workouts.


For muscle maintenance try to do resistance training once a week or three times a week to gain muscle mass.


Cardiovascular exercise can help to burn calories and therefore shift visceral fat. As mentioned above, exercising after a meal may also be beneficial.


· Intermittent fasting (time restricted feeding).


The most common type is 16:8 – which involves a 16-hour fast each day, and an 8-hour eating window. The post-menopausal benefits are particularly high due to the potential to improve insulin sensitivity.


Heart health


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in post-menopausal women, this is due to reduced oestrogen levels. Oestrogen plays a role in normalising blood lipid profiles and reduces blood pressure.


As discussed above, weight gain is common during the menopause and being overweight increases risk to heart health.


Tips to optimise heart health:


· Reduce your intake of salt by adding less salt to food and eating less processed food and takeaways.

· Aim for at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Learn what counts as a portion here.

· Include omega 3 fatty acids contained in oily fish, rapeseed oil, flaxseed and avocado.

· Cut down on your intake of saturated fats found in butter, cheese and fatty meat.

· Choose wholegrain options such as wholemeal or granary bread, brown rice, oats and quinoa.

· Swap butter for a plant-based spread.

· Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2 units per day and include 2 alcohol free days a week. Learn your units here.

· Maintain a healthy weight. For more information about weight loss click here.

· Do not smoke.



Diet and menopause
Surrey Dietitian

Bone health


During the menopause women have reduced calcium and vitamin D absorption, resulting in increased bone deterioration and weaker bones.


It is recommended that all women (and men) in the UK take a daily Vitamin D supplement throughout the Autumn and Winter months as a minimum. This should provide at least 400IU or 10mcg of vitamin D daily. If you get little skin sunlight exposure in the Spring and Summer, then you should continue to take the supplement all year round.


Enough calcium is also important, but avoid over-supplementing due to risks to heart health. Over-supplementing with calcium can lead to calcification of arteries which means more plaque is likely to form. Plaque formation in the arteries can lead to a blockage and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.


The recommendation for calcium is 700mg per day. Calcium is more bioavailable when we consume it in our diet rather than through supplementation. Aim to include 3 portions of calcium rich foods in your diet per day. You can find out more about how to get enough calcium in your diet here.


Intake of added sugars and alcohol should be limited, and smoking should be avoided. Studies have shown that too much sugar and alcohol and smoking can cause diminished bone health.


Take part in weight bearing exercise which will exert force through your bones and help to strengthen them.



Diet and menopause
Surrey Dietitian

Soy and phyto-oestrogens


During menopause a woman’s ovaries stop producing the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. A decline in these hormones can cause menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, anxiety and low mood, all of which can contribute towards disrupted sleep.

Plant oestrogens called phyto-oestrogens may help to reduce the severity of night sweats, changes in mood and help you to get a good night sleep. Plant oestrogens are very similar to human oestrogens, which if eaten regularly, and in sufficient quantities can partially mimic the action of human oestrogen.

Soya beans, soya-based foods and linseeds are sources of plant oestrogens. Soya-based foods include tofu, tempeh, edamame beans, soya drinks and soya yoghurts. Consuming these foods several times per day has been shown to be more effective than consuming one daily large dose. Soya can also help the body to absorb calcium and therefore strengthen bones.

It can take a few months to start seeing a benefit and consuming plant-oestrogens is more effective in some women than others.


Mental health


During the menopause many women experience emotional highs and lows, this is because oestrogen regulates many of the hormones which influence our mood such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.


It is normal to experience memory loss, lack of clarity and trouble sleeping. Mood may be further affected by changes in sleep pattern, reduced energy levels and stress due to weight gain.


Tips to improve your mood:


· Blood sugar control is very important so that stress hormones can be used to manage things that are actually stressful.

· Try to moderate caffeine intake because caffeine is a stimulant, and it therefore puts pressure on adrenal glands which produce stress hormones. Drinking too much caffeine is also linked to increased anxiety.

· Increase your intake of omega 3 rich foods. This may be of benefit as omega 3’s are the building blocks of neurones in the brain which can help to improve mood.

· Supplement with vitamin D because low levels are linked to poor mood.

· Consider mindfulness or cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).

· Take part in regular exercise.


Diet and menopause
Surrey Dietitian


Sleep quality


Drinking alcohol, particularly shortly before going to bed is likely to disrupt sleep. At lower doses, alcohol has a stimulating effect due to the release of dopamine in the brain. This takes effect about an hour after consuming the alcohol. Drinking alcohol at higher doses has the opposite effect and is likely to make you feel more tired. Although this may help you to fall asleep initially, this is shortly followed by a rebound stimulant effect 2-3 hours later which could then lead to you waking in the night. Either way, you are unlikely to wake in the morning feeling well rested.

Caffeine has a similar stimulating effect. If you struggle to sleep, I recommend you aim to stop drinking caffeinated drinks after 3pm.

A few studies have shown that consuming large quantities of refined carbohydrates just before bed can cause a decline in the levels of the sleep hormone serotonin in the brain. This suggests that it would be better to avoid consuming foods such as cakes, pastries, biscuits and chips just before bed.

Emerging research has however shown that consuming small quantities of food containing the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan may help promote sleep. Tryptophan helps with the production of sleep hormones serotonin and melatonin. The best sources of tryptophan include eggs, fish, meat, soya beans and cheese. Tryptophan containing foods do need to be consumed with a carbohydrate food to have a sedative effect.


Melatonin supplementation has been demonstrated to improve sleep quality. In the UK, melatonin is only available on prescription. Consuming certain foods however can help to increase our levels. Foods containing melatonin include nuts, seeds, strawberries, grapes and oats.

Studies have also shown the importance of having a high enough intake of vitamins and minerals. For most people, it is possible to achieve a sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals by following a well-balanced diet, including consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables. For some people who struggle to meet their requirements for certain vitamins and minerals, I may recommend supplementation, but this would be recommended on an individual basis.



144 views1 comment

PCOS dietitian surrey

What is Polycystic ovary syndrome?


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a very common condition, affecting approximately 1 in 10 women in the UK.


A diagnosis of PCOS is likely to be made in women who have 2 or more of the following:


1) The presence of fluid filled sacs known as follicles surrounding the eggs on the ovaries.


2) Irregular periods due to not ovulating (releasing eggs from the ovaries).


3) Higher levels of male hormones known as androgens (e.g., testosterone) which may cause physical signs such as excess facial hair.


What are the symptoms of PCOS?


If you have PCOS then you may experience some or all the below symptoms.


1) Irregular periods

2) Excess hair growth

3) Weight gain or difficult losing weight

4) Fatigue

5) Acne

6) Hair loss from head


Having PCOS can also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease, particularly if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and/or carry excess fat around your middle.


Insulin resistance


Many of the side-effects associated with PCOS are because of insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that is released by the pancreas when we eat. Insulin allows the energy from our food to be used for fuel by moving the sugar from our blood into our muscles and tissues.


Most women with PCOS have a 35-40% decrease in insulin sensitivity which means that they must produce more insulin for it to do its job correctly. Unfortunately, insulin increases the production of the male hormone testosterone which causes a hormone imbalance and contributes to the above symptoms.


Weight loss


If you are overweight, then losing weight (even just 5-10%) is likely to help manage the symptoms of PCOS. Unfortunately, weight loss in PCOS can be more challenging for 2 reasons…


Firstly, research has consistently shown an association between insulin resistance and having a higher body fat percentage.


Secondly, women with PCOS are likely to have a lower basal metabolic rate (BMR, the number of calories burnt at rest). One study showed that BMR can be 14-40% lower compared with women who don’t have PCOS.


As we know, to lose weight we must be eating in a calorie deficit. Having PCOS means that to lose weight, fewer calories must be consumed, or more calories must be expended through exercise. Although the exact cause of this is not known, one study suggested that it may be due to lower lean body mass observed in PCOS.


Weight loss is not an easy thing alone, but when you add in the complications of PCOS, things get even harder. I can certainly empathise with women with PCOS who struggle with their weight. However, being armed with this information can help us to better understand how to tackle weight loss.


PCOS dietitian surrey


A healthy diet


The general guidelines for managing PCOS suggest following a healthy diet and this is certainly a good place to start.


Aim to have a varied diet, focusing on increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables and limiting your intake of foods high in fat and added sugar.


A Mediterranean style diet, high in omega 3 fatty acids, wholegrains and antioxidants has been suggested as one of the best diet types for managing PCOS.


Oxidative stress (antioxidant imbalance) has been associated with PCOS and therefore including plenty of antioxidant rich fruit and vegetables may be significant in symptom management.


If you are trying to conceive, it is especially important to make sure you are following a well-balanced diet.


As a starting point, try the following tips to help you improve the balance of your diet:


1) Base your meals on high fibre starchy carbohydrate

2) Eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables

3) Eat more fish, including one portion of oily fish per week

4) Cut down on saturated fat and added sugar

5) Eat less salt

6) Maintain a healthy weight

7) Aim for at least 6-8 glasses of fluid per day

8) Eat regular meal patterns


Low Glycaemic index


The term glycaemic index refers to how quickly your blood sugars increase after eating a particular food or meal. High GI foods cause our blood sugars to increase rapidly, whereas low GI foods do not (as illustrated below). The higher, our blood sugar levels, the more insulin we produce. As we know, PCOS is associated with insulin resistance which means that even more insulin is released and along with that comes the symptoms of PCOS.


By choosing low GI foods and limiting intake of high GI foods, insulin levels can be reduced and in turn symptoms are improved.


High GI carbohydrates include foods with added sugar and refined carbohydrate such as white bread.


Low GI carbohydrates include complex carbohydrates such as granary bread, boiled new potatoes, wholegrain cereals.


You can also help to lower the GI of a meal or snack by adding protein and fibre. Protein and fibre take a long time to be broken down into sugar so will help to prevent rapid increases in blood sugar levels.



PCOS dietitian surrey

Low carbohydrate diets


Many studies have shown that reducing carbohydrate intake can be a very effective method for improving insulin sensitivity, but carbohydrates, however, remain an important part of any diet. Carbohydrates are our primary energy source so without them we would likely feel low in energy and potentially quite hungry. They are also a rich source of fibre and micronutrients and usually quite an enjoyable component of the diet.


A low carbohydrate ketogenic (AKA keto) diet has been researched extensively and some research has linked it to reduced blood sugar levels and improved insulin resistance. This is however likely due to taking in fewer calories resulting in weight loss.


The standard version of a ketogenic diet recommends limiting your carbohydrate intake to 10% of your total energy and aims for 70% of total energy from fat.


One issue with the keto diet is that generally it is quite difficult to stick to due to the reasons mentioned above. It tends to work in the short-term but longer-term studies have shown reduced compliance and a tendency to regain any weight that was lost.

Another downside to the keto diet is that it is low in fibre, generally high in saturated fat and due to its restrictive nature may leave you lacking in some micronutrients. This is likely to increase the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and digestive issues. For these reasons, I would not recommend doing the keto diet long-term but for most people it would generally be considered safe to do in the short-term and may be a useful tool to help kick-start your weight loss journey. You should always consult with your dietitian or GP before considering a keto diet.


Reduced carbohydrate diets which allow for higher carbohydrate intakes than the keto diet have also been studied with some promising results.

A 2019 meta-analysis study involving 327 women with PCOS concluded that a reduced carbohydrate diet (45% of total energy or less from carbohydrate) combined with a reduced fat diet (35% of total energy or less from fat) was the most effective dietary method for improving insulin sensitivity and promoting weight loss.


Exercise


Exercise improves insulin sensitivity because it encourages sugar to move from our blood and into our muscles to be used for energy. Research has shown that high intensity aerobic exercise is particularly beneficial.


Given that individuals with PCOS are likely to have lower BMR’s, if you are trying to lose weight it would also be sensible to include resistance training exercise as part of your routine. Resistance training exercise helps to build muscle and having a higher muscle mass means your BMR increases, making it easier to lose weight.



PCOS dietitian surrey

Supplements


Vitamin D


Women with PCOS are at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps to reduce inflammation which is a contributing factor to the symptoms of PCOS. And although the mechanism is not fully understood, it has also been shown to improve regularity of periods.


Given that our main source of vitamin D comes from the sun and in the UK sunlight exposure is limited, I recommend taking a daily 10mcg vitamin D supplement. It may also be worth asking your GP to perform a blood test because if you are vitamin D deficient then you may need a higher dose initially to restore your levels to within the normal range.


Inositol


Inositol is a sugar alcohol (type of carbohydrate) which plays an important role in insulin sensitivity. Many randomised control trials involving inositol supplementation in women with PCOS have shown positive outcomes such as improved fertility, reduced insulin resistance and decreased testosterone production.


Vitamin E


Vitamin E has been shown to have antioxidant effects. More recent evidence has also shown that vitamin E can improve endometrial thickness in women with unexplained fertility. One study showed that combined vitamin E and omega 3 supplementation for 12 weeks resulted in significant improvement in insulin resistance and reduced testosterone levels in women with PCOS.


Dietary sources of vitamin E include plant oils such as rapeseed or olive oil, nuts and seeds and wheat germ (found in cereals and cereal grains). If you are unlikely to consume these foods on a regular basis then you may want to consider a vitamin E supplement.


Chromium


Some women with PCOS show reduced chromium levels which has been linked to insulin resistance and reduced testosterone. The recommended dosage is 200µg of chromium picolinate per day for 3 months to observe the benefits.


Zinc


Women with PCOS who do not eat a varied diet are at increased risk of zinc deficiency which has been linked to insulin resistance and high cholesterol. Studies have shown improvements in both factors by taking 50mg of zinc sulphate daily for 8 weeks.


As a first line approach I would not recommend zinc supplementation, I would encourage you to try and get enough zinc through diet. Dietary sources of zinc include meat, beans, pulses, nuts, wholegrains, and milk.


N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC)


NAC has antioxidant activity and, in many studies, has been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress and consequently improve fertility and ovulation rates for women with PCOS. In most studies, the suggested dosage is 600mg per day.


Carnitine


A 2019 study involving 80 women with PCOS found that supplementing 3g of L-carnitine daily for 3 months showed significant improvement in insulin sensitivity and reduced BMI. More regular menstrual cycles and reduced presence of facial hair also occurred.


Supplements, the bottom line


In the first instance, I tend to recommend addressing diet before considering the use of supplements. As a second line approach supplementation is another tool that may also help to relieve some of the symptoms of PCOS. If you want to try a supplement, then always consult with your GP or dietitian first. I would also always recommend trying one supplement at a time, otherwise you won’t know which one has or hasn’t worked for you.



PCOS dietitian surrey


Sources


BDA. 2019. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-diet.html


Bhasin, G., Wang, ET., Alexander, CJ., Pal, M., Azziz, R and Pisarska MD. 2013. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have lower basal metabolic rates compared to eumenorrheic controls. Fertility and Sterility 100(3): 38-39.


Chmelik, M. 2015. N-acetyl-cysteine to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome? Natural medicine journal. 7(6). Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2015-06/n-acetyl-cysteine-treat-polycystic-ovarian-syndrome


Georgopoulos, NA., Saltamavros AD and Vervita, V. 2009. Basal metabolic rate is decreased in women with polyscystic ovary syndrome and biochemical hyperandrogenemia and is associated with insulin resistance. Fertility and Sterility 92(1): 250-255. Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(08)01008-X/fulltext


Gunalan, E., Aylin, Y and Yilmaz. 2018. The effect of nutrient supplementation in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome-associated metabolic dysfunctions: A critical review. J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc. 19(4): 220-232. Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6250088/


Mavropoulos, JC., Yancy, W., Hepburn, J and Westman, EC. 2005. The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study. 2(35). Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1334192/ 4


Mohammadi, M. 2019. Oxidative stress and polycystic ovary syndrome: a brief review. International Journal of Preventative Medicine. 10(86). Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6547785/


NHS. 2019. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/


Paoli, A., Mancin L., Giacona, MC., Bianco., A and Caprio, M. 2020. Effects of a ketogenic diet in overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Journal of translational medicine 18(104). Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-020-02277-0


Salehpour, S., Nazari, L., Hoseini, S., Bameni, P and Gachkar, L. 2019. Effects of L-carnitine on polycystic ovary syndrome. JBRA Assist Repod 14;23(4): 392-395. Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31294953/


Thakker, D., Raval, A., Patel, I and Walia, R. 2015. N-acetylcysteine for polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled clinical trials. Obstet Gynecol Int 817849. Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4306416/


Zhang, X., Zheng, Y., Guo, Y and Lai, Z. 2019. The effect of low carbohydrate diet on polycystic ovary syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. International journal of endocrinology. Accessed 1st November 2021. Available at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ije/2019/4386401/

226 views0 comments

Blog

bottom of page