Suffering from PCOS? Can your diet help?

Ladies…do you suffer from PCOS? Could diet be affecting your ovulation patterns?

Science is looking to answer these questions for you.

One symptom of this condition is anovulation. There are varying reasons why a woman doesn’t ovulate. Today, however, we will be looking at the correlation between anovulation, PCOS and dietary interventions that could help. In particular, we will look at how diet could be causing or contributing to related symptoms. Research discussed in this article suggests that advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in our bodies, food and environment can disrupt ovulation.

Firstly, what is PCOS?

PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is an endocrine system disorder. It is a very common cause of anovulation or irregular ovulation patterns. In fact, studies inform us that 70 % of sufferers experience problems with ovulating (Reference 1).

Symptoms or characteristics of PCOS include:

  • Anovulation or irregular ovulation
  • Excess levels of the male sex hormones (androgens) such as testosterone (hyperandrogenism)
  • Irregular menstrual cycles of differing lengths or
  • Absence of periods
  • Polycystic ovaries (enlarged ovaries which contain many follicles or fluid – filled sacs which surround the eggs)
  • Increased risk of developing mood and anxiety disorders (Reference 2)

Can certain diets be making ovulatory problems and PCOS symptoms worse?

Scientists are looking at whether our diets could be contributing to these ovulation problems for women with PCOS. In particular, the studies are looking at Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs).

Some info on Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs):

  • AGEs are formed when sugars react (non-enzymatically) with nucleic acids, proteins and lipids
  • AGEs can deposit in cell tissues and cause cellular damage (Reference 3)
  • AGEs are produced within cells
  • AGEs are also absorbed into the body from our diets
  • AGEs can promote inflammation in the tissues of ovaries

What is the link between PCOS and AGEs?

  • Recent data reveals that women experiencing this condition have elevated levels of AGEs circulating in their bodies (Reference 4)
  • Science shows a link between raised AGE levels and inflammation of ovary tissues in women with this condition (Reference 5)
  • Evidence links high levels of AGEs with dysfunction of the ovaries
  • Raised AGE levels can bring about anovulation, thus preventing ovulation
  • Diets with low AGEs seem to benefit the hormonal profile for PCOS sufferers (Reference 6)

Want to know how to reduce your intake of AGEs? Stay tuned for our next article on this hot topic! Coming soon….


edinburgh nutrition Team