Samantha, aged 25,  was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) which is characterized by horrible symptoms that include weight gain, hirsutism or masculine hair growth and pre-diabetes. To make it worse, she was not able to conceive and her menstrual cycle was abnormal.

She tried a whole lot of things including Clomid drugs to improve fertility, progesterone therapy, 2 rounds of IVF treatment and more. But nothing worked. Eventually, her insulin levels accelerated and she has now developed Type 2 Diabetes. Now, doctors prescribed drugs to manage insulin resistance, but things were again nowhere close to normal.

Samantha’s quest led her to natural remedies

Tired of relying on medications, Samantha started looking out for natural remedies to reverse her condition of insulin resistance. She found out about how low-carb ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting could be effective to stabilize insulin levels. Finally, she adopted healthy lifestyle measures including changing her diet, fasting, doing Yoga and more. Miraculously her insulin levels dropped, she lost weight, her excessive facial hair started to disappear, menstrual cycles were back again and she finally got pregnant!

“If PCOS was just about acne and missing a few periods, then it would not be so bad”. Unfortunately, PCOS is associated with several health risks including infertility, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 90–95% of women in infertility clinics who cannot conceive due to lack of ovulation suffer from PCOS.

In this article, understand the root cause of developing PCOS and what you can do to reverse Polycystic Ovary Syndrome with Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent fasting.

Signs and Symptoms of PCOS

  • Central Obesity
  • Menstrual and Ovulatory Irregularities
  • Acne
  • Hirsutism – Increases Facial and Body Hair Growth
  • Male Pattern Baldness – Alopecia
  • Lowered Tone of Voice
  • Clitoral Enlargement
  • Acanthosis Nigricans
  • Reproductive Issues such as Infertility, Complications in Pregnancy
  • Anovulatory cycles (when the ovary doesn’t release an egg)

What Causes PCOS?

In the study of diseases, the most crucial piece of information is to understand the underlying cause of the disease. If you do not understand the problem, then it is difficult to design therapies that have a reasonable chance of success.

The link with obesity suggests that excessive insulin in the body may have significant development in the progression of PCOS.

1. HyperAndrogenism

Firstly, Testosterone is the main androgen or male hormone that is responsible for the majority of the problems in PCOS. Patients who have PCOS have high levels of Testosterone. Therefore, we now need to understand which organ is responsible for the overproduction of testosterone in PCOS. Ideally, the ovaries and the adrenal glands contribute equally to testosterone production.

However, specifically, it is the theca cells within the ovary that are responsible for the production of testosterone.

Hormones always travel around the bloodstream by binding itself to a protein. Otherwise, the unaccompanied free hormones would stop by every tissue to exert their effects and never reach their intended destination. Testosterone also binds itself to a protein named Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG).

High levels of Free Testosterone

If SHBG is not available, Testosterone floats freely in the blood. As a result, testosterone in high levels manifests its masculinizing effects on neighboring organs without getting to its proper destination. Thus, you develop acne, excessive facial hair, and male pattern baldness.

Women with PCOS tend to have low levels of SHBG that bind testosterone. This overexerts the testosterone effect, even if the levels are not particularly high. But what causes this lack of SHBG in the first place?

The villain is too much insulin. Since Insulin is the major regulator of SHBG production in the liver, the higher the insulin, the lower the SHBG and the higher the testosterone.

Therefore we can conclude that high insulin levels are to blame for the high levels of testosterone in PCOS!

High Insulin > Low SHBG > High Testosterone > Hyperandrogenemia > Masculine Features

2. Polycystic Ovaries

Another iconic feature of PCOS which is obviously implied by its name is the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries. It’s normal for women to have few cysts on their ovary, but too much can signify a problem. These cysts are developed by a group of cells called Follicles.

High insulin levels are predominantly responsible for follicular arrest by disturbing the delicate balance of FSH to LH ratio that triggers the correct follicular development. This happens when high insulin levels make the follicle too sensitive to LH or Leutenizing Hormone and they respond too early in the menstrual cycle when they are not ready for ovulation.

As a result, small follicles stop growing and so they simply accumulate fluid and become cystic. This is what is visible on ultrasound as numerous small fluid-filled cysts clinching the diagnosis of PCOS.

The reason for the development of polycystic ovaries is a follicular arrest, which is ultimately caused by too much insulin.

Reverse Polycystic Ovary Syndrome with Ketogenic Diet and Fasting

As seen, the major cause for this condition is high insulin and the overlapping conditions of obesity and type 2 diabetes is another evidence as we see most women with PCOS are obese and diabetic. Therefore, to fix the root cause of this disease, the most potent solution is to reduce your insulin levels.
There are no drugs that can magically reduce Insulin. That is why lifestyle interventions are important to treat the root cause of PCOS:

1. Low Carbohydrate Diets

A low-carb diet, as opposed to a low-fat diet, is important to regulate insulin levels in your body. Eliminate all processed foods and consume whole natural foods. It can be difficult in the beginning, but you will eventually no longer crave for such foods.

2. Ketogenic Diet

Similar to the low-carb diet ketogenic diet significantly restricts carbohydrates while focusing heavily on healthy fats and moderate protein. As you restrict the carbs in your diet, you force your body to use fat for fuel instead of glucose.

3. Intermittent Fasting

Your body has glucose stores that are easy to access when the body is running low on energy. This is like a refrigerator where food can be accessed easily. There is also a freezer in the basement where long-term energy is stored and this is your fat cells.

With a high-carb lifestyle, you seldom access the freezer and only rely on the refrigerator. However, when you go on intermittent fasting, you can empty the fridge and access your freezer.

4. Supplements

Some handy supplements that focus on reducing insulin levels are Inositol, Chromium, Zinc, Magnesium, Saw Palmetto, Vitamin D and Folate. In addition, include Omega-3 Fatty acid as this will help with insulin resistance and improve SHBG levels.

The typical line up of prescription drugs and procedures for PCOS only mask the root cause rather than address the issue head-on. Instead, change your diet and lifestyle to reverse PCOS naturally.