Mediterranean diet could reduce symptoms of Polycyclic Ovary Syndrome


The Mediterranean diet could help relieve the symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Photo credit: Ezra McDermott

Researchers have discovered that a Mediterranean diet, rich in fish and plant-based foods, may be a potential treatment for women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

The University of New South Wales  study found that mice with PCOS symptoms had their reproductive functions restored and symptoms relieved when fed a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex hormonal condition that affects more than 10 per cent of women worldwide.

The symptoms include missed menstrual cycles, weight gain, infertility and an increase in male hormones such as testosterone.

While researches have been aware of the effects of diet on the condition for some time, this study found that the Mediterranean diet may be the most effective form of treatment.

UNSW women’s health researcher Dr Valentina Rodriguez Paris says that if this study had the same humans outcomes, women with PCOS will have a new way to treat the condition which could potentially reduce the chances of infertility and restore reproductive health without the need for drugs.

“This is a big breakthrough for us,” Dr Rodriquez says.

“It’s something anyone can adopt, it’s not an extreme diet.”

More than $400m  are spent on treating Polycystic ovary syndrome every year in Australia, and 70 per cent of women who suffer from it do not receive the proper diagnosis.

There is currently no cure for PCOS and medical treatments can be expensive, short term fix not all women can afford.

The most common prescribed treatment for PCOS is often weight loss, a task that is difficult for women with the condition, and doctors say is ineffective at treating symptoms.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature, found that a ratio of low protein, medium carbohydrate and fat appeared to reverse the effect of PCOS on the reproductive health of a subset of female mice with PCOS features.

In the study, mice with induced polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) that ate a particular dietary balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein were able to ovulate again.

POCS sufferer, 19-year-old university student Jade Morvinson says other diets she has tried have failed to alleviate her symptoms.

“I’ve tried every diet and nothings worked for me so far,” Ms Morvinson says.

“If this diet works it would be more than amazing.”