Mediterranean diet may help women with polycystic ovary syndrome
The study states that a diet close to the characteristics of the Mediterranean diet could be a possible intervention for women with polycystic ovary syndrome after promising results in mice.
If patients are advised to ensure a proper and balanced diet, the researchers stress that they should benefit from more precise indications in this area.
Lifestyle interventions, primarily dietary, are the first-line treatment for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), but the optimal diet remains undefined. As Inserm explains, it is the most common hormonal disease in women of childbearing age, characterized by excessive production of testosterone, generally produced in small amounts in the female body.
This high level of testosterone is responsible for several types of abnormalities: irregular menstruation, acne, excess hair, hair loss, and the presence of a large number of unfinished follicles in the ovaries.
In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from the University of Sydney say that the Mediterranean diet can be studied as a possible therapeutic intervention against this disease that can lead to fertility disorders and metabolic complications (diabetes), after mice exhibiting characteristics of the same showed promising results following a similar diet. This is because PCOS mice that consumed a particular balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein were able to ovulate again, giving researchers a glimpse of a possible treatment for this disease in women.
A beneficial effect on ovulation disorder?
There is no treatment to cure PCOS, apart from symptomatic treatment based on a healthy lifestyle, possible medication, monitoring of possible complications, and management of infertility. The researchers note that "this is the first time that dysfunctional reproductive function in PCOS mice has been restored by diet." Therefore, they found that a precise ratio of macronutrients appeared to reverse the effect of PCOS on the reproductive health of females who presented them.
It is encouraging that this proportion of foods is similar to that of the Mediterranean diet. "This is an exciting result because it has the potential to restore ovulation in women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome without the use of drugs," said Professor Kirsty Walters, who conducted the study.
Currently, women with PCOS are advised to adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the severity of symptoms, which often include weight gain. But according to the researchers, this finding provides evidence that a specific dietary intervention is possible as a promising strategy for the treatment of PCOS, particularly at the reproductive level.
"While we should test the effects of this diet in women with PCOS in future studies, I think our research is a stepping stone towards which diets we should explore further," adds Professor Kirsty Walters. Previously, the mice were given 10 different diets with different macronutrient mixtures. Which allowed the researchers to first point out that they tended to gain more weight than mice without PCOS despite eating the same amounts of food. This suggests that other mechanisms are involved, in addition to food intake, in this weight gain.
"The study suggests that it is not the amount of food that causes weight gain, so identifying the other mechanisms involved could provide researchers with a new direction in developing treatments for the disease." Today, it is advocates lifestyle modification for women with PCOS, that is, eating a healthy diet and exercising, but there is no specific guide yet on what the optimal diet should be. So far there has been little research on what the specific macronutrient balance should be, and that is what we wanted to know. "
The next step for the scientific team will be to conduct a study to find out if a Mediterranean diet as such has any benefit for women with PCOS and to discover the mechanism behind the unwanted weight gain that affects so many women with this disease. Keep in mind that the Mediterranean diet is often featured for its beneficial effects on health, especially in terms of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.