A New Supplement to Help Women with PCOS

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects approximately 10% of women during their reproductive age.  It is often characterized by obesity, irregular menses, and impaired insulin function.  Obesity may play a role in the etiology, and with weight loss, there has been reported improvement in some of the clinical findings.

There is a recent large study that suggests a Carnitine supplement may be of benefit for these patients.  L-Carnitine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) that is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys.  It helps the body turn fat into energy, and your body usually can make all the Carnitine it needs.  In this study, the diagnosis of PCOS was made using the Rotterdam criteria.  To make the diagnosis, two of the following findings needed to be present:

  1. Irregular menses over 35 days or less than 8 menses per year caused by a problem with ovulation
  2. Signs of hirsutism indicative of increased testosterone
  3. Polycystic ovaries with 12 or more follicular cysts in each ovary

In this study, when 250 mg of L-Carnitine was given to women with PCOS, who were also on metformin, there was a significant reduction in weight based on BMI changes.  There was also an improvement in glycemic control.  The Carnitine was given for over 12 weeks.

Remember to always speak to your health care provider before considering starting any supplement.

-Dr. P

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