Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a complicated endocrine disorder affecting many different areas of a sufferer’s body and life. Reliable information can be hard to come by and symptoms such as infertility, excess facial and body hair, acne, fatigue and excess weight can leave women with PCOS feeling inadequate, demoralised and depressed with life.
There are many simple steps that women with PCOS can incorporate into their lives to gain control over PCOS and put them on the path to better health. In this series of articles, we will explore 20 simple and easy steps that can make a difference to PCOS.
Step # 14
Work with a qualified professional to choose a selection of herbs and nutrients which support healthy carbohydrate metabolism: St Mary’s Thistle, Gymnema sylvestre, Cinnamon, Fenugreek, Green Tea, American Ginseng, Aloe vera, cruciferous vegetables
Gymnema sylvestre is considered the gold standard treatment for blood sugar and carbohydrate metabolism problems by herbalists. Gymnema takes away the desire to eat sweet foods, reduces the amount of sugar and carbohydrate that is digested from the food you eat, stimulates the production of insulin and increases cellular sensitivity to insulin. It has been shown in animal studies to reverse the damage that high blood sugar can do to the liver. It has been the subject of many clinical trials providing evidence of its ability to lower fasting blood glucose, increase glucose uptake by cells reducing insulin resistance, increase C-peptide (a measure of how much insulin the pancreas is producing), reduce HbA1c and glycosylated plasma protein levels and reduce the amount of insulin that diabetics require.
Cinnamon is a potent antioxidant containing nearly 7000 ORAC units per teaspoon. It also has a high manganese content and potent antimicrobial activity in addition to being very effective at lowering blood sugar, by up to 29% according to one study. Interestingly, although the study compared the efficacy of 1, 3 or 6 gram dosages and the higher dosage had a quicker and more profound response, the effect of the lowest dosage persisted for longer – 20 days after people stopped taking it.
American ginseng (panax quinquefolius) has been found in several studies to decrease fasting blood glucose levels and HbA1c levels without affecting insulin levels. It also reduces blood sugar levels after a meal.
Fenugreek has been found to reduce fasting blood sugar levels and both blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal.
Green Tea contains a substance called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is a potent insulin sensitizer, improving glucose tolerance and reducing the risk of Type II diabetes developing. EGCG also re reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver.
Aloe vera juice has been found in a study from Thailand to reduce fasting blood glucose levels with just a tablespoon of 80% juice twice a day.
St Mary’s thistle contains a compound called silymarin which has been found to decrease fasting blood glucose, mean blood glucose, HbA1c, insulin levels, C-peptide levels, insulin requirement and urinary glucose.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and contain a compound called 3,3′-diindolemethane or DIM which has a raft of potent biological actions including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-androgen and anti-microbial activity.
Next article in series: 20 simple steps you can take to control polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) #15
To read more articles by Anne Seccombe click on the links for Health, PCOS or Low Carbohydrate Lifestyles.
You can also find more information on PCOS at My PCOS Info.
This article was originally published at My PCOS Info – News & Research. Further references and links to the studies mentioned can be found there.
(C) Copyright 2012 Anne Seccombe. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without the express permission of the author. All rights reserved.