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Does Myo-Inositol help with weight loss in women with PCOS?

4 min read

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a woman's ovaries work. It is a condition characterised by hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, and/or the development of small cysts on one or both ovaries (polycystic ovaries)

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it often runs in families. It's related to abnormal hormone levels in the body, including high levels of insulin which is a hormone that controls sugar levels in the body.

The hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and inflammation related to this condition can make it difficult for women with PCOS to lose weight.

Even a small weight loss can help to improve insulin resistance, hormone levels, menstrual cycles, fertility, and overall quality.

Can Myo-Inositol help with weight loss?

If you have PCOS, several supplements may help manage weight and symptoms.

Myo-inositol is a supplement that may lead to weight loss in women with PCOS. In a randomised study in 92 women with PCOS, 50% were given 4 grams of myo-inositol per day for 14 weeks. While those in the inositol group lost weight, those in the placebo group showed weight gain.

Carnitine, an amino acid found in meat, may also lead to weight loss. In a 12-week study in 60 overweight women with PCOS, those who took 250 mg of carnitine per day lost an average of 2.7 kg, compared to a 0.1-kg weight gain in the placebo group.

What is Myo-Inositol?

Myo-inositol is the most common form of inositol found in nearly all plants and animals. Though it used to be referred to as Vitamin B8, inositol is not actually a vitamin. It’s a type of sugar that helps your body process insulin. Myo-inositol is a specific form of inositol.

All cells need myo-inositol to survive. Once they take it in, they transform it to phosphatidylinositol, a crucial component of cell membranes. Myo-inositol also helps orchestrate the activity of hormones.

How can a natural sugar possibly cause someone to lose weight?

The answer lies within the hormone insulin. When you eat, your body starts to break down your food into sugar in your blood (blood glucose).Your pancreas is then supposed to release insulin to help the body move sugar out of the bloodstream to turn it into energy for the rest of your body.

However, if you have a metabolic condition (like diabetes or PCOS), your pancreas may have trouble making insulin and your cells may find it harder to use insulin, known as "insulin resistance".

Insulin resistance is strongly associated with a higher weight; although you can have insulin resistance with a normal BMI, insulin resistance left unchecked can develop into weight gain and diabetes.

That’s where inositol comes in. Inositol can mimic the effects of insulin, so that even if your body has stopped responding to insulin, inositol can still perform a similar function and lower your blood glucose.

Other dietary considerations to help manage PCOS and weight loss

While Myo-Inositol and Carnitine may help with weight loss, there are some very simple dietary and lifestyle considerations to consider which would also make a considerable difference.

  1. Exercise regularly - Exercise is a well-known strategy to improve weight loss.
  2. Reduce your carbohydrate intake - Lowering your carb consumption may help manage PCOS due to carbs’ impact on insulin levels.
  3. Eat plenty of fibre - Because fibre helps you stay full after a meal, a high-fiber diet may improve weight loss in women with PCOS.
  4. Eat plenty of protein - Protein helps stabilise blood sugar and increases feelings of fullness after a meal.
  5. Eat healthy fats - Having plenty of healthy fats in your diet may help you feel more satisfied after meals, as well as tackle weight loss and other symptoms of PCOS.
  6. Eat fermented foods - Healthy gut bacteria may play a role in metabolism and weight maintenance. Studies suggest that women with PCOS may have fewer healthy gut bacteria than women without this condition.
  7. Limit processed foods and added sugars - Processed foods and added sugars may raise blood sugar levels and increase your risk of insulin resistance, which is linked to obesity .
  8. Reduce inflammation - chronic inflammation which is common in women with PCOS is linked to obesity. A diet like the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and omega-3-rich foods, such as fatty fish may protect against inflammation.
  9. Get enough sleep - If you have PCOS, you may experience sleep disturbances, including excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea, and insomnia. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase the activity of hormones that drive hunger, such as ghrelin and cortisol, which may cause you to eat more throughout the day.
  10. Manage your stress - Because stress is a risk factor for weight gain, managing your stress can help manage your weight.

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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.