Irregular periods. Check.
Elevated insulin. Check.
Elevated cortisol, testosterone and estrogen. Check, check, check.
Excessive hair growth. Check.
Inability to lose weight. Check.
Did you check off each symptom?
If the answer is yes then you’ve probably already been diagnosed with PCOS. About 1 in 10 women are diagnosed with PCOS. PCOS is most commonly diagnosed among women who have high levels of hormones, are overweight, suffer from menstrual irregularity and have ovarian cysts. Though PCOS is a popular diagnosis these days, health professionals hesitate to pinpoint the cause. Not to mention each symptom is treated individually with medications.
PCOS stands for Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Sounds pretty ominous, right?
Let’s break this down.
Poly = many
Cystic= tiny tumors formed to wall off toxins
Ovarian= the tumors are found on the ovaries
Syndrome= A grouping of symptoms. A.K.A. we have no idea what the cause is.
Due to the name of the symptom, you might think that the ovaries are to blame. This is not the case! PCOS is often diagnosed in the absence of ovarian cysts. This is because a uniform definition for PCOS does not exist, because PCOS does not exist. By nature, a syndrome is a grouping of symptoms that consistently occur together. Doctors may diagnose you with FILL IN THE BLANK syndrome when they can’t quite identify the issue.
The Physiology of PCOS
Now that we’ve established that you don’t have a disease, let’s talk about why you’re experiencing these symptoms. The key elements of PCOS is inappropriately high levels of a hormone called, insulin. When carbohydrates (glucose) are detected in the blood, the pancreas releases the hormone, insulin. Once sufficient amounts of insulin are present in the blood, insulin signals to the cells to take up glucose. As a result, glucose concentrations in the blood drop to regular levels.
When chronically high levels of insulin are present in the blood, cells not only become insulin resistant (which could lead to diabetes) but levels of other hormones in the body unproportionately increase. High insulin levels stimulate the production of excess testosterone in the ovaries (Women make low amounts of testosterone). High testosterone levels cause many of the symptoms described in PCOS, including acne, excessive hair growth, dysfunctional bleeding and inability to ovulate.
How To Lower Insulin Levels
Diet and stress are the two most likely culprits that increase insulin levels in the body. Excess consumption of sugar and processed foods lead to chronically high insulin levels in the blood. The fastest way to lower your insulin levels is to commit to a low carbohydrate diet (even some fruits are off limits).
Emotional stress is the second culprit. The physiological response to stress results in the release of cortisol, a hormone made in the adrenal glands. Cortisol is your fight hormone. When your body is under stress, high amounts of cortisol is released into the blood stream. Cortisol impairs insulin secretion and disrupts insulin signaling, preventing glucose from being absorbed. This natural response is designed to increase energy availability while the body is under stress. The bottom line is that a highly stressed female maintains high amounts of hormones in the blood, promoting insulin resistance.
Contributing factors to PCOS:
To much PROCESSED soy. Soy contains a similar molecule to estrogen and therefore can block ovulation in women. Only eat organic, fermented soy products like fermented tofu. Harmful soy derivatives are ubiquitous in processed foods.
Hypothyroidism. The thyroid produces T3 hormone, which is necessary for the function of the ovaries. If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism you may be deficient in Iodine. There is nothing wrong with the thyroid itself. The thyroid is a part of the hormonal cascade.
Artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are endocrine disruptors: they impair insulin and leptin signalling.
Hormones from animal foods. Adopt a plant based diet with high amounts of beans, seeds, nuts and plant protein. Avoid dairy, meat, chicken and fish. These foods contain hormones that affect your natural hormone levels.
Anemia. It’s very dangerous to be anemic. Your cells are not receiving enough oxygen. Normal cells make adaptations and start forming cysts and fibroids in the hormonal glands.
Toxic foods. Fibroids and cysts are formed to wall off toxins from the body. Pesticides sprayed on produce are estrogen based and easily attach to female tissues.
Foods To Avoid in PCOS (video)
Is there a cure for PCOS?
According to the medical industry there is no cure for PCOS. Doctors will often recommend weight loss, which will help lower insulin levels. Popular treatments for PCOS include birth control, thyroid medication, metformin, and hormonal injections. These medications maintain your condition without addressing the underlying cause. I say skip all the BS and cure yourself with nutrition, exercise, and herbs.
Heal From PCOS Quickly:
The trick to healing PCOS is detoxing, weight loss, de-stressing and the use of hormonal balancing herbs.
- Give up processed foods, fast food and the microwave. Do not put damaged foods in your body.
- Eat as little animal foods as possible to avoid excess hormones.
- Control your blood sugar and lower insulin levels by eating a low carbohydrate diet. Use these supplements that help control blood sugar: cinnamon, bitter melon, apple cider vinegar.
- Detox for at least 3 months. Choose a detox that cleans your blood and lymph nodes.
- Take a vitamin D supplement
- Use licorice root and saw palmetto to reduce testosterone levels. Saw Palmetto acts as anti-androgen and reduces the conversion of testosterone to the more active form, DHT.
- Balance female hormones using herbs like, chasteberry, black cohosh and dong qui. Chasteberry inhibits prolactin synthesis and raises progesterone levels, restoring the necessary balance of the two hormones.
- Exercise makes you more insulin sensitive by increasing uptake of glucose into cells through glucose transporters.