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Women’s Health: Nutrients improve women’s reproductive health & PCOS

Women's Health Blog_June 2021

Vitamins D, B6, and EGCG reduce fibroids

Uterine fibroids (UF) tend to occur during childbearing years, and while they do not increase chances for uterine cancer, they can create discomfort and alter the menstrual cycle. Doctors don’t know what causes UF but suspect hormonal changes play a role. UF contain more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal uterine muscle cells, and tend to shrink after menopause, when hormones naturally decline. Recent studies have found low levels of vitamin D increase chances for UF.

In this study, 30 women with UF took no treatment or 1,000 IU of vitamin D, 150 mg of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and 5 mg of vitamin B6, twice per day.

After four months, total UF volume decreased 34.7 percent in those taking the nutrient combination, while UF volume increased 6.9 percent in the non-treatment group. Women taking the nutrients also reported less severe symptoms including more normal menstrual cycle, less pelvic pressure and pain, less frequent urination, constipation, and back or leg pain.

Reference: European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences; 2020, Vol. 24, No. 6, 3344-51

Curcumin improves blood sugar in PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is named for one of its symptoms: cysts that develop on the ovaries. Characteristics include higher-than-normal levels of male hormones, and PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder in women of childbearing age. About half of women with PCOS develop metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, raising chances for type 2 diabetes.

This review of three studies covered 168 women with PCOS, aged 27 to 31, who took a placebo or 500 to 1,500 mg of curcumin per day, for six to 12 weeks.

Overall, compared to placebo, women who took curcumin had significantly greater improvement in fasting glucose and insulin levels, less insulin resistance, and greater insulin sensitivity. The curcumin group also saw decreases in total cholesterol with increases in HDL, the good cholesterol.

Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 2, 684

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