Losing Weight With Pcos Low Carb May Help Insulin Response

Losing Weight With Pcos Low Carb May Help Insulin Response



PCOS is​ a​ condition that has a​ strong impact on​ a​ woman's fertility,​ and affects between 5% to​ 10% of​ women of​ child bearing age. Because a​ woman's body doesn't produce enough eggs when she suffers from PCOS,​ it​ can cause infertility and contribute to​ difficulties in​ falling pregnant.

Most cases of​ PCOS are not genetic,​ but they are all related to​ hormonal abnormalities. the​ reason not enough eggs are produced is​ because of​ an​ excess of​ the​ androgen,​ or​ 'male' hormones. Both men and women have androgen hormones,​ but men have them in​ much greater quantities. This hormonal imbalance means that the​ cysts that are a​ normal part of​ producing eggs,​ do not grow. So a​ woman with PCOS has a​ lot of​ small cysts on​ her ovaries that do not mature to​ release their eggs. Normally,​ once this process happened,​ the​ cysts would go.

Another consequence of​ the​ higher levels of​ androgen hormones is​ the​ increased risk of​ obesity,​ heart disease,​ diabetes,​ as​ well as​ a​ likelihood of​ having more facial hair.

Interestingly,​ low carb diets such as​ the​ zone diet may help overweight women with PCOS. a​ recent study of​ 11 non diabetic,​ overweight women with PCOS who had an​ average age of​ 33 was conducted. the​ study compared a​ 'standard' diet with 56% carbohydrates and 16% protein,​ with a​ lower carb diet of​ 43% carbohydrate and 15% protein. the​ fat component of​ the​ lower carb diet was a​ lot higher than the​ standard diet,​ by 14%. This is​ higher than it​ would be in​ the​ Zone diet. the​ fat content of​ the​ low carb diet was almost evenly split between polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids. the​ fat content of​ the​ standard diet was almost evenly split between the​ two types of​ fatty acids,​ but was slightly higher (by 3%) in​ the​ monounsaturated variety.

A third diet,​ one high in​ both carbohydrates and monounsaturated fatty acids,​ was also compared. the​ study participants only followed each diet for 16 days. They had a​ 3 week break between each diet,​ and tried all 3.

Because production of​ the​ androgen hormones are influenced by the​ presence of​ insulin,​ the​ researchers were interested in​ finding out whether a​ low carb diet could reduce the​ amount of​ insulin circulating in​ the​ body. They believed this would have an​ indirectly positive effect on​ PCOS.

The results of​ this study found that whilst hormones that were circulating weren't significantly affected by the​ lower carb diet,​ the​ women's cholesterol,​ fasting insulin levels,​ free fatty acids,​ and their response to​ insulin were positively affected. the​ fact that their response to​ insulin improved is​ an​ indicator of​ the​ possible benefit of​ a​ low carb diet to​ PCOS sufferers. And because the​ women only followed the​ diet for 16 days,​ this may be why their levels of​ circulating insulin were not more prominently affected.

The authors of​ the​ study state that: “Because elevated insulin is​ thought to​ contribute to​ the​ endocrine abnormalities in​ PCOS,​ a​ reduction in​ insulin would be expected to​ ultimately result in​ an​ improved endocrine profile."

They go on​ to​ say that these improvements indicate that using a​ low carb type diet,​ with a​ lower calorie intake,​ would probably benefit overweight women who suffer from PCOS.

Not all low carb diets are created equal however. the​ Atkins diet has been associated with an​ increased risk of​ heart problems for some,​ as​ well as​ being implicated in​ the​ hospitalization of​ others.

A 40 year old woman was hospitalized with very high levels of​ acids in​ her blood as​ a​ result of​ following the​ Atkins diet strictly for about a​ month. the​ release of​ acids in​ the​ blood,​ called ketosis,​ is​ an​ indicator of​ the​ 'success' of​ the​ Atkins diet,​ and is​ actually a​ result of​ the​ process of​ starving the​ body of​ certain nutrients beyond a​ threshold level. the​ nutrient being,​ of​ course,​ carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are a​ source of​ energy for the​ body,​ the​ only source used by the​ brain. But when the​ body is​ deprived of​ carbohydrates after the​ threshold level,​ it​ will use alternate methods of​ metabolizing energy. it​ uses stored fats and protein,​ but this is​ not a​ very biologically efficient way of​ producing energy for the​ body. So,​ there are a​ lot of​ acidic metabolic by products,​ called ketones. These are released into the​ bloodstream,​ to​ be excreted by the​ body.

In the​ case of​ this woman,​ these metabolic by products weren't excreted fast enough and built up in​ her bloodstream. She was vomiting 4 to​ 6 times a​ day. This build up of​ blood acids represented a​ dangerous situation and she was admitted to​ intensive care.

The Atkins Foundation responded that this woman must have had abnormal metabolic or​ clinical issues. But given that this woman,​ who was obese,​ is​ in​ a​ category at​ which the​ Atkins diet is​ marketed,​ there is​ a​ real cause for concern here. With obesity,​ there is​ a​ greater likelihood for both general medical problems,​ and metabolic problems. if​ an​ obese person did not have metabolic problems of​ one form or​ another,​ they would not be obese. Perhaps there were circumstances that were particular to​ this woman here,​ but until those potential dangers are understood more fully,​ this is​ a​ significant issue. It's ironic that a​ diet should be implied as​ not being suitable for anyone with metabolic issues,​ particularly if​ this diet is​ marketed as​ a​ 'way of​ life' - that is,​ recommended for long term use.


References:
1. nutraingredients-usa.com/news/ng.asp?n=67217&m=1NIU421&c=qgtqmovbyiaxdub
2. nutraingredients-usa.com/news/ng.asp?n=66493-atkins-low-carb-weight-loss




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