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The Daily Tonic: PCOS, Infertility, and What Your Diet Can Do To Help

Well… it’s official—we are all at the beginning of a sci-fi movie. Apparently, Google’s AI (artificial intelligence) has to come to life according to one engineer. Now, I am not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds scary. Here is something else that is pretty scary, but that we do know more about—infertility, particularly in women. Let’s dive in.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a big deal. PCOS has been shown to affect up to 12% of US women of reproductive age. To give you a better sense of those numbers, that is over 5 million women. It is also the most common cause of female infertility.

And if that isn’t enough to raise serious alarm, this lifelong health condition continues far beyond the child-bearing years. PCOS has been closely correlated with insulin resistance in women, increasing their risk of type 2 diabetes. Women with PCOS also have higher levels of androgens (male hormones that females also have), which can cause irregular periods, acne, thinning hair, and excess hair growth on the face and body.

So yea… it is a pretty big deal.

Now, the tricky part in finding a solution here is that there still is not an exact cause identified for PCOS. There have been numerous studies that have shown a correlation between PCOS and excess weight, but the connection there is a bit complicated.

It is a bit of a chicken and egg question. Does being overweight cause PCOS, or does PCOS cause you to become overweight? The relationship is unfortunately pretty complicated and not well understood. Being overweight is associated with PCOS, but many women of normal weight have PCOS, and many overweight women don’t.

With that said, there was a new study conducted that aimed to find a connection between PCOS, diet, and exercise. In this study, researchers looked at the dietary and exercise habits for a group of over 40,000 women with and without PCOS.

Their conclusion?

“Collective evidence supports that women with PCOS have a lower overall diet quality, poorer dietary intakes and lower total [physical activity]… versus those without PCOS.” 

No shockers there, but it is meaningful to see that conclusion drawn from such a significant sample size.

The key takeaway? Whether you are a woman of child-bearing age or not, there is one thing that is very clear and seems to pop up time and time again; Diet and exercise are key if you are looking to avoid pretty much any negative health outcome.

Now, will there be outliers that exercise daily, eat well, and still end up suffering from conditions like PCOS? Of course, but even in those cases the evidence strongly suggests that you can mitigate symptoms by simply paying close attention to your nutrition and exercise habits.

That’s the magic pill: diet and exercise. Who would have guessed?

What do you think?

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