Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of infertility worldwide and is thought to affect 6% to 10% of women in the reproductive age group, although this rate is believed to be as high as 15%. PCOS is associated with no single clinical symptom and is typically characterised by irregular menstrual cycles or no periods at all, and a difficulty getting pregnant.
What is the role of Myo-Inositol and fertility in women with PCOS?
Research suggests that women with PCOS have an imbalance of the inositol compound in their body.
Inositol is a natural organic compound, similar to glucose, but with several substantially different biological functions. Inositol is produced by the body and is found naturally in foods. It has been studied extensively for use as a dietary supplement due to its many potential health benefits for women with PCOS. Fertility specialists worldwide are keenly interested in inositol because research indicates it can help to promote ovulation and pregnancy.
Inositol helps to increase cells’ sensitivity to insulin. Normally, the cells in our body receive energy by absorbing glucose with the help of this hormone. In PCOS, your cells become less sensitive to insulin, causing increased blood sugar levels since the glucose is unable to be absorbed properly.
Why are fertility specialists are so excited about this natural treatment?
Whilst research is ongoing, a great number of clinical studies have concluded that myo-inositol is a secure and cost-effective alternative in the treatment of PCOS, with no side effects observed in the standard dosage.
In 2004 a clinical analysis on multiple studies of Inositol treatment in women with PCOS demonstrated how this supplement is effective in promoting ovulation in patients - the findings stated:
"Inositol appears to regulate menstrual cycles, improve ovulation and induce metabolic changes in polycystic ovary syndrome".
In 2017 a further study Myo-inositol effects in women with PCOS: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials positively concluded:
The present meta-analysis of nine randomised controlled trials revealed that myo-Inositol alone or combined with d-chiro-inositol improves the metabolic profile of women with PCOS, also increasing sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) when supplementation lasted at least 24 weeks.
In 2021 a study Impact of myo-inositol treatment in women with polycystic ovary syndrome in assisted reproductive technologies reviewed literature on the impact of myo-inositol in PCOS women in assisted reproductive technologies. They concluded that myo-inositol is effective in normalising ovarian function, improving oocyte and embryo quality in PCOS.
When it comes to menstrual cycle disorder in PCOS, Myo-inositol reduces androgen levels (testosterone and androstenedione), corrects the follicle stimulating hormone ratio, restores normal menstrual cycles and induces ovulation. It also increased ovulation frequency and improved egg and embryo quality.
"My-inositol, at a dose of 4 g per day (2 g twice per day), three months prior to ovarian stimulation, is effective in normalizing ovarian function, improving oocyte and embryo quality in PCOS"
Although these are favourable conclusions we've outlined above, people should understand its connection to PCOS while always consulting your health professional before starting any supplements.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.