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PCOS: Top 3 Supplements

I typically get asked “what more can I do if I have PCOS?”

Supplementation along with regular acupuncture treatments is one way that you can positively affect your PCOS diagnosis.

Insulin Resistance

With the correct supplement regimen you can impact your menstrual cycle and increase ovulation by treating insulin resistance.

What does insulin resistance have to do with ovulation, you might ask? A major component that contributes to anovulation in people with PCOS, is insulin resistance. This is when muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond efficiently to insulin, making it more difficult for the cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.

This in turn leads to anovulation because higher blood glucose levels cause the ovaries to produce too much testosterone, which interferes with the development of the follicles and prevents normal ovulation. It might go without saying but irregular ovulation is a key factor that can contribute to difficulty in getting pregnant.

Top 3 supplements to help reduce insulin resistance and improve ovulation: 

1. Myo-Inositol 

Myo-Inositol is a part of the B complex vitamin group. It is involved in the metabolism, transport and breakdown of glucose and its conversion to glycogen.

It’s a key factor involved in insulin signalling and it acts as an intracellular secondary messenger, regulating a number of hormones such as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) (1).

People with PCOS typically have low levels of myo-inositol so supplementation can help improve insulin sensitivity, hormone regulation and improve menstrual/ovulation cycles. 

In a double blind clinical trial, people with PCOS received myo-inositol or a placebo. Results showed that myo-inositol increased insulin sensitivity, improved glucose tolerance and had a positive effect on ovulation.  The myo-inositol group had a 70% ovulation rate, compared to a 21% ovulation rate in the placebo group. Also, the Myo-inositol group had a 66% reduction of serum total testosterone (2). 

2. N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

NAC is an amino acid that helps to replenish glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants our bodies need. This antioxidant improves circulating levels of insulin and insulin sensitivity in hyperinsulinemic women with PCOS (3).

Due to NAC’s ability to positively improve insulin sensitivity, it helps people with PCOS to ovulate more regularly. Also, because of its ability to support ovulation, NAC has been used effectively as an adjuvant to Letrozole to help it perform better for ovulation induction. Letrozole is a common medication that is used to help those with PCOS ovulate. 

In a double blind study comparing 2 groups of people with PCOS, the first group was in the NAC + Letrozole group and the 2nd group was in the  Placebo + Letrozole group. The NAC + Letrozole group had bigger follicle development and a 20% higher pregnancy rate compared to the Placebo + Letrozole group (4).  

3. Omega 3 from Fish Oil (DHA + EPA) 

Omega 3’s from fish oil help to improve PCOS by decreasing testosterone, helping to increase ovulation and menstrual regulation.  As mentioned before, insulin resistance increases the ovaries’ production of testosterone and contributes to anovulation. 

In a double blind clinical trial, people diagnosed with PCOS that had elevated testosterone and irregular menstrual cycles were divided into two groups. 

The first group was given Omega 3’s from fish oil for 8 weeks while the second group was given a placebo for 8 weeks. The omega 3 group had a reduction of serum testosterone and were 24% more likely to have a regular menstrual cycle compared to the placebo group (5). 

Not all omega 3’s are the same though: omega 3’s from fish oil are more effective than omega 3’s from non-animal products (plants). This is because omega 3’s from non-animal products are composed of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) and only a small portion of this is converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 

DHA + EPA are what make up the omega 3’s from fish and they don’t need to be converted.  

Contact Us

It is important to mention that it’s best to speak with a qualified practitioner prior to starting a supplement regimen for safety and dosing.

The practitioners at Whole Family Health are always happy to assist you in your fertility journey, contact us today to book a free 15-minute phone consultation! 

References

  1. PMID: 17035995
  2. PMID: 19499845
  3. PMID: 15145276
  4. PMID: 30050888
  5. PMID: 24639805

photo: @byeen0402

Mindfulness and the Mind’s Cycle of Stress

The Downward Spiral

Mindfulness is not a linear process. It’s not about getting anywhere or achieving a particular outcome. It’s a process, which some describe as a spiral. 

On autopilot, we tend to spiral downward into a self-perpetuating cycle of reactivity that goes something like this:

We encounter some event or stimulus, and it has a feeling tone: it’s either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral

If it’s neutral, the tendency is to dismiss or ignore it, but if it’s a strong feeling tone, it hijacks our attention and the mind fixates on it – giving rise to thoughts and emotions about it.

If it’s pleasant, the tendency is to try to hang on to it, while if it’s unpleasant, we tend to push it away or try to make it stop.

If we react un-skillfully, we may get temporary relief, but in the long term we develop maladaptive coping strategies and our resilience to discomfort dwindles. 

This self-perpetuating cycle can lead to chronic stress, depression and anxiety.

The Upwards Spiral

However, with Mindfulness, this downward spiral pattern can be disrupted. 

When we’re not in autopilot we can begin to spiral upward instead:

We encounter some event or stimulus and we are more awake, open and receptive to the internal and external experience of it.

As a result, we are more aware of strong feeling tones as they arise. With increased awareness, we are able to bring in attitudes of mindfulness (like a beginner’s mind, patience, kindness, etc.) which help prevent us from being hi-jacked.

There is room for choice as to where and how to place our attention and we understand that we are not our experiences.

This understanding creates space to observe experience objectively and to make choices about how to respond with more intention and skillfulness. 

Facebook Live Event

Tune in to our Facebook Page on Monday, Sept 14th at 7pm MT

Join Dr. Alda Ngo, Registered Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist and Mindfulness Instructor to explore how to stop the downward spiral of the mind’s self-perpetuating cycle of stress.

photo: Angela Glajcar

PCOS Holistic Nutritional Program

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 1 in 10 people and is the leading cause of infertility. It is commonly associated with insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

Research has shown healthy eating habits and regular physical activity helps to manage PCOS.

Our Holistic Nutritional Consultant has formulated a comprehensive nutrition program to help reduce symptoms, balance hormones, and optimize organ function by using food as medicine.

She uses a combined approach of both Eastern & Western philosophy to get to the root of the problem.

The 4 week PCOS Nutrition Program includes:


– Customized meal plans tailored to your unique body
 – Recipes & grocery lists
 – Weekly support check ins
 – Specific protocols to balance hormones
 – Lifestyle modification support

If you’ve been wanting to learn how to nourish your body so you can feel happy & healthy in your body – here is your chance!

Special Offer $256

until Sep 30, 2020
(Reg. $320)

For more information book in for a free 15-minute phone consultation.

Tune in to our Facebook Page on Thursday, Sept 24 @ 7pm MT

for our Video Premiere on PCOS Nutrition.

Alicia is going to give you a little sample of her PCOS Nutritional Program!

photo: Elena Ryzhkovich

PCOS Awareness: Facebook Live Events

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) effects 1 in 10 people. It is a genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder that can lead to life-long complications.

It can lead to severe anxiety, depression, obesity, endometrial cancer, type 2 diabetes, liver disease and cardiovascular disease.

10-15% of womxn are estimated to have PCOS. It affects millions of people worldwide and carries serious potential long term health consequences. Yet 50% of people living with it are undiagnosed.

It is the leading cause of infertility.

According to the National Institute of Health 50% of people with PCOS will develop type 2 diabetes before age 40.

Some studies show that people with PCOS have 3 times higher risk of developing endometrial cancer and may also be at increased risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

But there’s plenty one can do to address PCOS naturally and through lifestyle changes.

Tune in to our upcoming

Facebook Live Events for supporting PCOS:

Sep 10th:
Supplements for PCOS
with WFH Fertility expert Christina Pistotnik @yegacupuncture

Sep 14th:
Mindfulness for PCOS
with WFH Mindfulness Instructor Dr.Alda Ngo @mindfulnessforfertility

Sep 18th:
Yoga for PCOS
with WFH Fertility Yogi & Acupuncturist Mykayla Sorensen @mykayladoesacupuncture

Sep 24th:
Holistic Nutrition for PCOS
with WFH Women’s Health Holistic Nutritional Consultant Alicia Hamilton @wildbloom.botanicals

For more information on how we can support you with your PCOS symptoms, contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation.

Mindfulness for Fertility: Fall Online Program

Mindfulness has many proven benefits for those struggling with fertility issues.

It has been shown to reduce the emotional burden of fertility treatments, increase resilience and wellness while decreasing anxiety and depression.

The MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) Program is the most well established and scientifically tested mindfulness program.

Join Dr Alda Ngo and Stephanie Curran for this 8 week Online MBSR for Fertility Program.

They have over 35 years combined clinical experience supporting fertility patients and they have both had their own experiences struggling to grow their own families.

When:

Mandatory Orientation: Mon, Sept 28 (6-730PM PT | 7-830 MT)
Weekly classes: Mondays, Oct 5 – Nov 23 (6-830PM PT | 7-930 MT)
Day of Mindfulness Retreat: Sun, Nov 8 (9AM-3PM PT | 10AM-4PM MT)

Cost:

By Donation
(during these uncertain times and with many experiencing significant financial strain)

To register: www.mindfulnessforfertility.com

PCOS Awareness Month: 5 Common Signs

Today is World PCOS Day of Unity. Today is about coming together in solidarity for PCOS Awareness in support of the hundreds of millions of people impacted by polycystic ovary syndrome worldwide.

This day marks the beginning of PCOS Awareness Month, which is about improving the lives of those affected by PCOS and helping them to overcome their symptoms as well as prevent and reduce their risks for life-threatening related conditions.


5 common signs of PCOS are:

1. Irregular periods or maybe even no periods at all. The hormonal profile (ie. high androgens) of someone with PCOS disrupts ovulation, which often either delays ovulation, causing irregular and/or longer cycles or in some cases, no cycles at all.

2. Hair Growth on the Chin, Upper Lip, Chest or Stomach. This is called hirsuitism. Again those with PCOS often have increased androgen levels, which cause this pattern of hair growth.

3. Weight Gain, Particularly Around the Stomach Area. People with PCOS often present with insulin and leptin resistance. Insulin resistance makes our bodies store fat more readily and gain weight especially around the abdomen, which we know is a risk factor associated with cardiovascular health. Leptin resistance confuses our brain into thinking that we are in starvation mode, which disrupts our hunger signals.

4.Acne. Again those elevated androgens are the culprit, stimulating excess sebum production in the skin, which leads to bacterial growth and clogged pores.

5.Depression and Anxiety. People with PCOS have higher rates of depression and anxiety. This can be related to underlying hormone imbalances, increased inflammation and straight up stress from having to deal with PCOS symptoms.


We’ll be posting some more juicy info and resources throughout the month to support you with your PCOS symptoms.

Also check out www.pcosawarenessmonth.org to find out more about the National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association. They’re doing such amazing work!

Check out @annaremarchuk on IG – thank you for your absolutely stunning work!

If you or someone you know has PCOS, we can help! Book in for a free 15-minute consultation to find out how we can support you.

In-Person Appointment: What You’ll Need To Know

Here is a summary of what you need to know for when you come to your in-person appointment:

  1. Do you have any of the following new symptoms that are not related to any pre-existing conditions: fever, cough, congestion, shortness of breath. If so, you cannot come to the clinic at this time, please notify us, self-isolate and call HealthLink 811.

  2. Have you travelled internationally within the last 14 days or have you had unprotected close contact with individuals who have a confirmed or presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19? If so, you cannot come to the clinic at this time.

  3. You will be required to complete 2 Pre-screen Surveys. The first one will be emailed to you 48 hours prior to your booked appointment, and the second one is to be completed in-person upon arrival at the clinic. 

  4. You are required to review and sign The COVID-19 Informed Consent to Treat Form before your first appointment following June 22nd. It will be automatically emailed to you.

  5. Please arrive 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. Please call us once you have arrived and wait in your vehicle or outside, until we phone to let you know when your treatment room is available. 

  6. We ask that you please come unaccompanied. If a companion is necessary, they will also be required to complete the Pre-screening Survey upon arrival at the clinic. We will also require your companion’s full name and phone number for our tracking registry of all people entering the clinic. (For contact tracing purposes.)

  7. Please don’t bring unnecessary belongings into the clinic. However, we encourage you to bring your own pen. If you do not have one, we will provide you with a disinfected pen.

  8. Please wear a mask to the clinic. If you do not have one, we will provide you with one for $2 + GST. 

  9. Please note that restrooms are for urgent use only.

  10. We will not be accepting cash payments at this time. We encourage you to use either contactless electronic payment through our Jane App booking system or our debit/ credit Tap POS system. If you would like to use the Jane App Payment system, it requires that we have your credit card number on file.

  11. All clients must use the provided hand sanitizer upon arrival, before payment and before exiting the clinic. 

  12. Please ensure we have your up-to-date address, email & phone number on file.

Thanks so much for your support and cooperation with helping us to keep our staff, clients and community safe! Please let us know if you have any questions.

SuperMoon Sleep

There was a supermoon a couple of nights ago, which means that the full moon was the nearest that it comes to the Earth in its elliptical orbit. This doesn’t happen often, and results in the moon appearing bigger and brighter than usual.

What an object of intrigue the moon is, with its clear influence over our oceanic tides, we have long been mystified about its influence over our own biological tides –  particularly our sleep and mental-health patterns.

Are you as pooped as I am? Maybe from overall mental-emotional exhaustion, or the inability to be as active in quarantine? All I know is that I didn’t sleep well that supermoon night, after finding myself mysteriously crying as we read ‘Rocks and Minerals of Canada’ at bedtime.

While ER staff swear that the full moon on their nightshift will bring increased lunacy and accidents, studies have found no such correlations.

However, the full moon has been correlated to subjects requiring an extra 5 minutes to fall asleep, a 30% decrease of deep sleep and a decrease in endogenous melatonin levels. One study was conducted under strictly controlled conditions, eliminating exposure and awareness of lunar cycles.

This study points toward an endogenous circalunar rhythm, similar to the circadian (daily) and circannual (seasonal) rhythms.

We are reminded of our human connectedness more than ever right now, and the bigger picture rhythms to which we are beholden.

Supermoon or not friends, try to sleep well. Sleep and the circadian system regulate immunological processes. I know it’s tempting to stay up late these days, but something magical happens in the early hours of nocturnal sleep, when certain immune responses are initiated, playing a role in the formation of immunological memory.

Are you having trouble with sleep? What sleep hygiene routines help you?

Do you have any questions about how we can help you with sleep?

Contact us to chat about it.

References

DOI link: https://doi.org/10.1016/J.CUB.2013.06.029

PMID: 22071480

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