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PCOS, Menstrual Cycle Regulation and the Benefits of Functional Medicine 

PCOS, Menstrual Cycle Regulation and the Benefits of Functional Medicine (specifically a low carb diet)

Based on my journey as a holistic nutrition student, and personal research over numerous years, I have compiled a synopsis of the pertinent points that someone needing knowledge of PCOS will find relevant. PCOS is a syndrome that affects 10% of all females which is 1 out of every ten and probably someone in your personal cohort. If the knowledge isn’t pertinent for you, it certainly is for someone for whom you care dearly. 
 
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Two common symptoms include extremely irregular periods, or no period at all which results in cysts on one's ovaries. If these cysts are not dealt with they can become cancerous. Left untreated PCOS can increase a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer. There is no cure for PCOS, however it can fluctuate and fortunately there are many functional medicinal methods to manage it throughout one's life.
       
In Western medicine, a doctor's immediate response to PCOS often includes prescribing a pharmaceutical treatment such as the birth control pill, which doesn’t actually address the root of the problem. It’s a treatment to bring on a period rather than a preventive measure to achieve optimal health. Those with PCOS are often susceptible to anxiety and depression, and their mental health is even more jeopardized when taking an oral contraceptive, creating space for an increase in strenuous depression and anxiety. In addition, fertility is often a concern with those with PCOS and coping with PCOS with functional medicine can reduce the risk of infertility. When the female body is under stress, or lacking in essential nutrients, it makes it even more difficult for it to feel safe, heal or ovulate on its own.

Nutrient depleted by the birth control pill and the best foods to fill this depletion gap:
  • Folic Acid - Leafy greens, eggs, seafood, legumes, beats, asparagus, beef liver
  • Vitamin C - Oranges, strawberries, broccoli, brussel sprouts
  • Vitamin E - Nuts, seeds, avocado, spinach, trout
  • Vitamin B2, B6, and B12 - Spinach, chicken, eggs, organ meats
  • Magnesium - Cacao, avocado, nuts, seeds, leafy greens
  • Zinc - Hemp seeds, oysters, pumpkin seeds
  • Selenium - Brazil nuts, fish, chicken, eggs
How can functional medicine be so beneficial to treat PCOS? 
From a functional medicinal outlook, improving insulin sensitivity and reducing androgen levels
can be instumental to restore hormonal balance. Supplements that can be incorporated to achieve this are Chase Tree (Vitex) and Inositol (however these are to be discussed with a professional health practitioner prior to use).

Why a low carb?
It is a beautiful thing to acknowledge that food is medicine and can be used to achieve optimal brain, body and gut function. A well designed lifestyle and avoiding fragmented foods can help restore insulin levels, blood sugar levels, energy levels and mood. The root of dealing with PSOC and stabilizing hormones, is related to blood sugar glucose levels, and improving one’s diet to overall enhance one’s quality of life in the long term.

For example: Opting for grain free options such as Rawcology’s Grain-Free Granola can help your blood sugar from spiking, or pairing a carb with a healthy fat or protein can help with insulin resistance, prevent blood sugar levels from spiking, restore energy levels and increase brain function. 2 simple examples to stabilize insulin levels:

1. Low carb: Opting for low glycemic foods (berries, leafy greens, and healthy good quality fats
(seeds, nuts, avocado) and proteins (wild salmon, chicken).
2. Pairing a carb with a protein or fat: This could be as simple as eating nut butter with a fruit.

My favorite grain free granola recipe often includes a smoothie bowl.
Rawcology's Blueberry Grain Free Granola health benefits:
  • Superfood ingredients: Canadian wild blueberry powder, acai, sprouted seeds, and coconut.
  • Wild blueberry powder and acai are both high-performance ingredients, and provide potent
  • sources of antioxidants, and help fight inflammation.
  • Sprouted pumpkin and sunflower seeds are a raw source of protein, magnesium, and zinc.
  • Naturally sweetened with coconut sugar, this flavor has only 1 gram of clean sugar per serving, making our granola a low-carb, on-the-go snack.

Easy delicious smoothie bowl recipe with our Blueberry Acai Grain-Free Granola: The Berry Berry Bowl
Base:
  • 1⁄2 Banana
  • Handful spinach
  • 1⁄2 cup blueberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1⁄2 cup almond milk or nut milk of choice, 1⁄2 cup water
  • Ice
Toppings:
  • Rawcology Blueberry Acai Granola
  • Raspberries, blueberries and goji berries (any berry as berries are a great source of antioxidants
  • and low on the Glycemic Index)
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin or almond butter
  • Cinnamon

Overall, by no means am I telling anyone to stop taking an oral contraceptive, but I am presenting an alternative natural, effective and mindful option to alleviate stress on one's body, a space to allow one’s body to heal naturally and possibly increase fertility. PCOS is complicated and all depends on one's bio-individuality, however we often lose sight of preventive measures and natural coping mechanisms along the way. A mindful diet, movement, hydration and a holistic approach can go a long way!


By: Chloe Tilp
Team Rawcology