Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition associated with irregular menstrual periods, infertility, obesity, diabetes, excess hair growth, acne, and other hormonal difficulties. Pharmaceutical interventions provide some improvements but they do not correct many of the underlying factors and have side effects that may not be tolerated by all patients. Many PCOS patients are overweight and have dietary habits that exacerbate the condition.
In a new review published in Journal of Ovarian Research, researchers investigated the efficacy of quercetin supplementation in patients with PCOS. Quercetin is a polyphenol that has been shown to have both strong antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to support the treatment of metabolic and inflammatory disorders.
This review included a combination of three human clinical trials and five animal studies evaluating the effects of quercetin in PCOS. Five of the eight studies demonstrated beneficial effects of quercetin on the ovarian histomorphology, the maturation of the ovarian follicle, and luteinization processes. These studies showed that quercetin supplementation increases normal follicles in ovaries, restores the normal ovary anatomy, and improves histology in the uterus, which is comparable to or better than metformin. Quercetin was also shown to reduce testosterone levels, luteinizing hormone (LH), and improve insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in seven of the eight studies. This was demonstrated at a dose of 25 mg/kg. Hirsutism was only evaluated in two studies; however, both studies showed that quercetin improved the condition.
This review demonstrates that quercetin can help correct hormonal dysfunction and improve some of the metabolic features of PCOS by its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Additional nutrients to consider to support PCOS
Studies have shown that an inositol deficiency is common in women with PCOS. There appears to be a reduced ability to process, metabolize, and effectively use inositol from foods, which is a distinctive characteristic feature of PCOS; therefore, inositol should be viewed as a conditionally essential nutrient in these individuals.
Both myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol are essential for individuals with PCOS. Since this conversion is impaired in individuals with PCOS, it is essential to include D-chiro-inositol with myo-inositol supplementation. D-chiro-inositol is better for supporting insulin resistance and myo-inositol is needed for oocyte quality and maturation.
Also, essential fatty acids should be considered, as most individuals with insulin resistance are deficient. Fish oils may help improve insulin sensitivity and support a healthy inflammatory response.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS