Resveratrol supplement found to address hormone imbalance in women with PCOS
The natural compound, resveratrol may help to address the hormone imbalance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women and a common hormonal condition in women of childbearing age. The debilitating condition is found in those who have greater circulating androgens.
Androgen dominance can contribute to women having irregular or absent periods, weight gain, thinning hair and blood sugar imbalance. Women who have PCOS also face a higher risk of developing other health problems, such as type II diabetes.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, however some individuals may have a genetic predisposition and subsequently it may run in families.
Resveratrol is one of a group of plant compounds known as polyphenols found naturally in grapes and nuts. Superior sources of supplemental resveratrol include red grape skins. It is suggested that the compound has anti-inflammatory and free radical countering properties.
Study senior author Dr Antoni Duleba, of the University of California, said: “Our study is the first clinical trial to find that resveratrol significantly lowers PCOS patients' levels of testosterone as well as dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), another hormone that the body can convert into testosterone.
“This nutritional supplement can help moderate the hormonal imbalance that is one of the central features of PCOS.”
Thirty women with PCOS completed the randomised trial conducted at Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland, where they were given a resveratrol supplement or a placebo pill daily for three months. The participants had blood samples drawn to determine levels of testosterone and other androgen hormones. The women also underwent an oral glucose tolerance test to measure the risk of diabetes.
The researchers found total testosterone levels fell by 23 percent among the women who received the resveratrol supplement, and DHEAS dropped by 22 percent while the placebo group's testosterone levels increased by 3 percent and DHEAS increased by 10 percent.
Subjects taking the resveratrol supplement also saw a reduction in the risk of diabetes as fasting insulin levels dropped by 32 percent, improving their response to insulin.
"The findings suggest resveratrol can improve the body's ability to use insulin and potentially lower the risk of developing diabetes," Duleba said. "The supplement may be able to help reduce the risk of metabolic problems common in women with PCOS."
Note: Sources of supplemental resveratrol include red grape skins or the cheaper, but environmentally controversial Japanese knot weed.
To read the full study please click here.