Significant Improvements in PCOS Symptoms with the Ketogenic Diet
PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is the number one leading cause of infertility in women in the United States. About 1 in 10 women end up suffering from PCOS. In this video I’m going to break down how a lower carb, ketogenic diet can actually have some very powerful effects when it comes down to reducing the instances of PCOS, but also improving fertility in those that do have PCOS. Hey, I’m Thomas DeLauer with Keto-Mojo and today I’m going to give you the science on how the ketogenic diet can not only help PCOS but can also help you live a healthy lifestyle in the first place.
The high-level overview of polycystic ovarian syndrome is where the ovary creates an egg but the egg either stays intact or doesn’t leave entirely, or if it does leave, there is a sac behind that can fill with fluid and ultimately trigger a cyst. That’s the basic overview, but in short, this can trigger a lot of pain and even worse, it can trigger infertility which can be absolutely heartbreaking and devastating for many people. If we start looking at what trigger PCOS, we can have a better understanding of how to start taking action to potentially prevent or help reduce some of the risks that are associated with it. The biggest factors that play a role are going to be your hormones and insulin. Now of course, insulin is a hormone, but insulin being a hormone that can drive a lot of other hormonal cascades truly affect PCOS in a different kind of way. You see, the biggest problem with PCOS is a high level of what are called androgens. So, we’re talking about testosterone, we’re talking about some of these other hormones that are designed to be in the female body in small amounts. But when you start having larger amounts of them, for any reason, it can trigger more cysts to form and it can trigger more infertility and it even more pain.
When we look at how insulin is related to androgens, it all starts to make sense. High levels of insulin cause the ovaries to slow down, it can throw off the cycle, it can throw off a lot of different things. If you have a lot of insulin that’s impacting the body, it can make the ovaries slowdown, which in turn, triggers more androgens and more testosterone, believe it or not. But it doesn’t stop there, what it ends up doing is insulin causes the ovaries to produce more testosterone and androgens when they are functioning. Even though they’re operating slower, they’re producing more testosterone. So you have, sort of, the double whammy effect, where you have the reduction of activity of the ovaries that’s triggering this hormonal response, in conjunction with a little bit more of a potent effect when it comes down to producing androgens in the first place. What ends up happening is it produces more androgens, but also decreases the amount of what is called sex hormone binding globulin. Sex hormone binding globulin is a carrier protein that takes the androgens and carries them around the human body. Normally these androgens are bound to the sex hormone binding globulin, but if you have less sex hormone binding globulin, it’s less carrier protein and more free and available androgens. Meaning you have more testosterone and you have more estrogens that are floating freely through the body, not bound to sex hormone binding globulin, allowing them to trigger these negative things that we don’t want, especially ones that are associated with PCOS.
When we look at how the ketogenic diet really can affect PCOS, the big part of it has to with its effect on insulin. By following a ketogenic or a lower carb diet, you’re reducing your levels of insulin dramatically. There was a meta-analysis that was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was a huge study. The study took a look at multiple different studies that ended up collectively leading to 18,555 women. What they looked at was the comparison of lower carbohydrate diets along with higher carbohydrate diets. They found that the higher carbohydrate diets led to a 78% increase in infertility amongst women. So, we know that that has to do with insulin, and we know that when you’re on a ketogenic diet, you are dramatically reducing your insulin levels.
That leads me to another study that was published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. This study took a look at 11 women that had PCOS and had them consume less than 20 grams of carbohydrates for six months. Now, of the five women that went the entire six months, it was found that two of them ended up getting pregnant during this time, that alone is amazing. The fact that a couple of these women were able to get pregnant when they otherwise weren’t able to, when starting a ketogenic or a low carb diet, is amazing in and of itself, but some of the stats are pretty darn cool too. There’s an overall 12% reduction in overall fat mass. Then there was a 22% reduction in free testosterone levels. There was 36% reduction in the luteinizing hormone to follicle stimulating hormone ratio, which means they had less of this androgenic activity going on. And then lastly, they had a 54% reduction in overall insulin levels. So not only were they improving a lot of these hormones and biomarkers, they were improving their instances of PCOS, and they were improving their fertility, showing that a low carb ketogenic diet has some powerful effects.
This is where the Keto-Mojo meter comes in. You see, the Keto-Mojo meter allows you to know when you’re in ketosis. Allows you to know when you’re reaping the benefits of a ketogenic diet and allows you to know that you’re on your path too, hopefully, improving your symptoms. By simply using the meter, it will tell you if you’re in that ketogenic state. It will tell you how deep of a ketogenic state you’re in, sort of a way of gamifying the process so that you can truly have a good solid idea of what is happening inside your body. Don’t leave it all to guesswork, you need to be leaving the measuring to the actual meter, so you know that you’re doing it right. As always, make sure you’re keeping it locked in here with Keto-Mojo and I’ll see you in the next video.