Omega-3 and polycystic ovary syndrome

 
 
 

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most usual endocrine disorder (among women, of course) and the percentage of women affected is growing. It consists in having many small cysts on the ovaries, which, moreover, make more androgens than normal (androgens are male hormones that females also produce), and can affect the woman’s menstrual cycle (missed or irregular periods). It can also affect her ability to have children (the most common cause of female infertility), her hormones, heart and blood vessels, and her appearance (high androgen levels can lead to acne, excessive hair growth and weight gain).

The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is not known, but it appears to be due to genetic and environmental factors. It is most commonly seen in obese women and it is associated with infertility, type 2 diabetes, lipid and lipoprotein disorders, mild chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

Researchers have studied the effect of omega-3 supplementation in the treatment of overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Participants (78 in total), suffering from irregular periods, were randomly assigned to receive omega-3 (3 gr/day) or placebo for 8 weeks. Blood samples were collected before and after intervention.

The results of this study showed that, after 8 weeks, testosterone concentration (testosterone belongs to the group of androgens) was significantly lower in the omega-3 group compared with placebo; moreover, after the trial the percentage of menstrual regularity in the omega-3 group was significantly higher compared with the placebo group.

Omega-3 supplementation could reduce serum concentrations of testosterone and regulate menstrual cycle.

 

Bibliography:

Nadjarzadeh A, Dehghani Firouzabadi R, Vaziri N et al. The effect of omega-3 supplementation on androgen profile and menstrual status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. Iran J Reprod Med. 2013 Aug;11(8):665-672.

 
 

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