Benefits of omega-3 supplementation in polycystic ovary syndrome

 
 
 

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common endocrine disorder in women. It is estimated to affect between 6 and 10% of women of reproductive age, and is associated with menstrual irregularity, hyperandrogenism (excessive androgens production and secretion), insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity. Presence of metabolic syndrome (a combination of elevated blood pressure, waist circumference of 35 inches or greater, blood glucose higher than normal, levels of “good” cholesterol [LDL] lower than normal, and high levels of fats in the blood [triglycerides]) is higher in women with polycystic ovary syndrome than in the general population. The main complications of polycystic ovary syndrome in adolescence are: amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), oligomenorrhea (abnormally infrequent menstrual periods), hirsutism (excessive hair on the face, abdomen, and chest), obesity, and acne. In fertility ages, the most commons complaints are infertility and irregular ovulation.

The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is not yet clear, but genetics and lifestyle factors contribute significantly to its development.

The recommended treatments for polycystic ovary syndrome, especially for women with obesity, are lifestyle and nutrition interventions, and weight loss. Metabolic disorders in women with polycystic ovary syndrome may be improved by dietary factors; among them, omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in immune regulation, insulin sensitivity, cellular differentiation, and ovulation, and they have also a beneficial effect on some cardiometabolic risk factors. Since insulin resistance can stimulate the production and secretion of androgens (leading to ovarian failure), improving it is of great importance for polycystic ovary syndrome. Omega-3 fatty acids increase the sensitivity to insulin. Besides, omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial effects on total and LDL-cholesterol (“good” cholesterol); therefore, omega-3 fatty acids supplementation had a beneficial effect on some cardiometabolic risk factors.

Among studies which have evaluated the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in women with polycystic ovary syndrome there are some similarity and differences; these discrepancies could be explained by differences in the dose of omega-3 fatty acids, duration of intervention period, and differences in studied women. Despite these discrepancies, overall omega-3 fatty acids may be recommended for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome with insulin resistance or/and high total cholesterol, and triglycerides. Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation has also shown to decrease waist circumference and interval between periods. Furthermore, the co-administration of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids has beneficial effects on mental health (depression, anxiety and stress), serum total testosterone, and markers of inflammation.

All in all, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids seems to be beneficial in polycystic ovary syndrome.

Bibliography: 

Jamilian M, Samimi M, Mirhosseini N, Afshar Ebrahimi F, Aghadavod E, Talaee R, et al. The influences of vitamin D and omega-3 co-supplementation on clinical, metabolic and genetic parameters in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Affect Disord. 2018;238:32-38.

Khani B, Mardanian F, Fesharaki SJ. Omega-3 supplementation effects on polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms and metabolic syndrome. J Res Med Sci. 2017;22:64.

Yang K, Zeng L, Bao T, Ge J. Effectiveness of Omega-3 fatty acid for polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018;16(1):27.

 
 

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