PCOS isn’t just about your ovaries

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

An intriguing article in New Scientist, describes PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) more as a “whole body” syndrome rather than “just” a condition of the ovaries (which is brilliant – see the graphics below).

PCOS is typically characterized by high testosterone levels (which can also cause acne, excess hair on the face and body and thinning head hair); irregular periods (suggesting estrogen/progesterone imbalance, and often interfering with fertility and leading to difficulty getting pregnant); and presence of “cysts” on one or both ovary (which are not actually cysts, but rather undeveloped eggs that are “trapped” in a state of immaturity).

PCOS is estimated to affect somewhere around 10-20 percent of all premenopausal women – making it more common than diabetes – and yet it is so poorly understood. A high percentage of women with PCOS also develop insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), gain weight, and see their moods fluctuate between depression and anxiety.

Luckily, there are a number of effective lifestyle approaches for restoring hormone balance, blood sugar control, and mood. These include the Mediterranean Diet (and my favorite version – the Mental Fitness Diet) to rebalance overall metabolism, as well as traditional herbal remedies such as Shatavari (to balance estrogen) and Fenugreek (to balance testosterone).

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About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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