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Can a supplement improve symptoms for patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome?

In a nutshell

This study examined if a micronutrient supplement could improve hormone imbalances in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The authors concluded that the supplement improved some hormone levels in patients after 3 months.

Some background

PCOS is a disorder experienced by women involving irregular menstrual periods and infertility.  It is caused by imbalanced hormone levels. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are two hormones that are typically present at the same levels. However, in PCOS, LH levels are higher than FSH levels. Testosterone and anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) are hormones usually present at low levels in females but are higher in patients with PCOS. Other hormones that are affected include estradiol, sexual hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and androstenedione.

Oral contraceptives are one treatment option for PCOS. However, not all women experience symptom relief. Some dietary micronutrients have been shown to help improve symptoms. These micronutrients include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Whether micronutrient supplements can help improve symptoms of PCOS is unclear.

Methods & findings

This study had 60 women with PCOS. 30 patients received a micronutrient supplement called PROfertil for 3 months. This supplement contained omega-3, vitamin E, selenium, folic acid, catechin, glycyrrhizin, and CoQ10. The other 30 patients received a folic acid supplement (control group) for 3 months.

In the supplement group, the ratio of LH to FSH decreased from 2.5 to 1.9 and remained at 2.0 in the control group. LH levels also significantly decreased from 13.2 mU/mL to 10.7 mU/mL. In the control group, LH levels slightly decreased from 11.2 mU/mL to 10 mU/mL.

In the supplement group, testosterone levels significantly decreased from 0.5 ng/mL to 0.43 ng/mL. In the control group, testosterone levels slightly increased from 0.43 ng/mL to 0.44 ng/mL. AMH was significantly reduced from 8.2 ng/mL to 7.3 ng/mL in the supplement group but remained at 8 ng/mL in the control group.

The levels of estradiol, FSH, androstenedione, and SHBG levels remained unchanged in either group. No patients reported any side effects.

Methods & findings
The bottom line

The authors concluded that a micronutrient supplement including omega-3 and CoQ10 improved some hormonal imbalances in patients with PCOS.

The fine print

The manufacturer of the micronutrient supplement, Lenus Pharma GesmbH, funded this study. This study also had a small number of participants and a short follow-up period. Hormone levels may have been affected by other factors including the time of a patient’s menstrual cycle.

What’s next?

Talk to your doctor about dietary nutrients or supplements that may help improve symptoms of PCOS.

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Published By: Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Date: Nov 11, 2020
Original Title: The impact of a standardized micronutrient supplementation on PCOS-typical parameters: a randomized controlled trial.

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