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Synbiotics to Support Metabolic Health in Women with PCOS

Tuesday April 10, 2018
Synbiotics to Support Metabolic Health in Women with PCOS

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a complex endocrine disorder that affects around one in ten women in the UK (1).


PCOS is associated with carbohydrate intolerance, insulin resistance and poor lipid profiles, leading to an increased risk of metabolic disorders. As the link between metabolic disorders and our gut microbiome has been identified (2), reshaping the gut microbiota with viable bacteria may improve our metabolic profile, reducing the risk of type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease (3).


A synbiotic is a combination of probiotic (good bacteria) with a prebiotic (the fibre element that feeds the good bacteria). 


According to a current study conducted in Iran, Samimi et. al tested the effects of synbiotic supplementation on the metabolic profiles of women with PCOS (3). A total of 60 women were provided with either a synbiotic mix or a placebo for a period of 12 weeks. The synbiotic formula consisted of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium (2x109), as well as 800mg of inulin.


The use of synbiotic supplements to improve metabolic status in women with PCOS was favoured over the placebo. Women that received the daily dose of viable bacteria achieved improved insulin sensitivity and reduced triglyceride levels. Consequently, an improved metabolic profile will reduce the individual’s risk of developing related diseases, such as type two diabetes. 


As a healthy gut is the foundation of optimal wellbeing, introducing beneficial strains of bacteria using synbiotics can significantly reduce disease risk, as observed in the study mentioned above. Although there is compelling evidence on the effects of viable bacteria on metabolic status, a longer trial is required to support the role of synbiotics in women with PCOS.


In conclusion, synbiotic strains can be safely administered to support the metabolic profile of women with PCOS. Although this research trial only studied women with PCOS, synbiotics are believed to exert therapeutic benefits across all populations, to promote general health and wellbeing.  


Author: Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.



1)      March WA, Moore VM, Willson KJ, Phillips DI, Norman RJ, Davies MJ. (2010) The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome in a community sample assessed under contrasting diagnostic criteria. Hum Reprod. 25(2):544-51.
2)       Boulangé, C. L., Neves, A. L., Chilloux, J., Nicholson, J. K., & Dumas, M.-E. (2016). Impact of the gut microbiota on inflammation, obesity, and metabolic disease. Genome Medicine, 8, 42.
3)      Samimi M, Dadkhah A, Haddad Kashani H, Tajabadi-Ebrahimi M, Seyed Hosseini E, Asemi Z. The Effects of Synbiotic Supplementation on Metabolic Status in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2018 Mar 12. doi: 10.1007/s12602-018-9405-z.

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Womens HealthMicrobiome, Friendly Bacteria


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