PCOS Review Newsletter #101

A free health newsletter for women with polycystic ovary syndrome or polycystic ovaries.   Issue #101      March 7, 2010


1) Take B-Vitamins with Metformin for Better Results

2) Nuts Have Multiple Health Benefits

3) Optimists Live Longer

1) Take B-Vitamins with Metformin for Better Results

Metformin can be effective but it has side effects. One of the side effects is that it simultaneously increases levels of homocysteine and reduces levels of two B-vitamins: folate and B12.

A high level of homocysteine is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, is a possible risk factor for bone loss, and has been shown to shrink the size of your brain.

Some women with PCOS already have elevated homocysteine and many show early signs of cardiovascular disease. So when they take metformin, their homocysteine could go even higher.

The B-vitamins are needed to keep homocysteine under control. When B-vitamins are depleted, it is more difficult for you to manage homocysteine.

Therefore, B-complex vitamin supplementation is recommended if you are taking metformin.

This dynamic was confirmed in a study of women with PCOS just published by the University Magna Graecia in Italy. In this study, the women were divided into two groups. The first group took 1,700 milligrams of metformin and 400 micrograms of folate daily for six months. The other group took the metformin plus placebo pills. The women were also evaluated for signs of cardiovascular disease.

At the end of six months, the placebo group experienced a significant increase in homocysteine as compared to the group taking folate. More importantly, the group taking folate showed fewer signs of cardiovascular disease at the end of six month.

A primary dietary source of folate is leafy green vegetables. But since most of us don't focus on leafy green vegetables, supplementing with a high-quality multi-vitamin is a wise move. This multi-vitamin product contains 800 micrograms of folate, twice the amount used in the above study. It also has vitamin B12, which is crucial for controlling homocysteine.

Palomba S et al, Effects of metformin with or without supplementation with folate on homocysteine levels and vascular endothelium of women with polycystic ovary syndrome, Diabetes Care. 2010 Feb;33(2):246-51

2) Nuts Have Multiple Health Benefits

Tree nuts are an integral part of the PCOS diet described in The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility ebook.

Why were nuts included in this diet? Everyone knows how fattening they are, right?

The truth is that tree nuts (such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts) contain a wealth of nutrients that improve your health.

Some components of nuts may protect against inflammation and insulin resistance, which are problems that PCOS women have.

These components include protein, magnesium, fiber, alpha-linolenic acid, L-arginine, antioxidants, monounsaturated fatty acids, alpha-tocopherol, folic acid, copper, phytosterols and other phytochemicals.

Tree nuts are best known for their ability to help protect you from cardiovascular disease. For example, the Department of Nutrition at Loma Linda University reported "…an 8.3% reduction in risk of death from coronary heart disease for each weekly serving of nuts."

Nuts have also been shown to be effective for reducing health problems associated with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome has many similarities to PCOS.

Eating nuts may also reduce DNA damage, according to a recent study from the Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus in Spain. It's critical that you protect your DNA because it contains the genetic instructions for every cell in your body.

Please don't eat any nuts that are cooked in oil. Those nuts are bad for you. Also please avoid any nuts that are coated with honey or any other material. Eat only pure, raw nuts in moderation.


Sabate J et al, Nuts, blood lipids and cardiovascular disease, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(1):131-6
Casas-Agustench P et al, Effects of one serving of mixed nuts on serum lipids, insulin resistance and inflammatory markers in patients with the metabolic syndrome, Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Dec 21. [Epub ahead of print]
López-Uriarte P et al, Effect of nut consumption on oxidative stress and the endothelial function in metabolic syndrome, Clin Nutr. 2010 Jan 9. [Epub ahead of print]

3) Optimists Live Longer

Winston Churchill said: "A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty".

Optimism and pessimism are prisms through which you see your world. Optimism and pessimism are the stories you tell yourself about the world.

Optimism is a learned skill and if you have the desire, you can alter the way you choose to look at the world. It takes a while to break old habits of thinking, but it can be done.

Having an optimistic approach to your life is part of your healing process with PCOS and a prerequisite to a life that has joy, interest and meaning for you.

Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist will also influence your lifespan, according to research.

Duke University studied 7,007 people over a 40-year span. They found that the most pessimistic people were the ones most likely to die. The optimists were more likely to live a longer life.

Why not take a moment right now to reframe how you look at PCOS? Can you find a way to feel more optimistic about it?

Brummett BH et al, Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period, Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Dec;81(12):1541-4

Thought for Today: "When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -- Marcus Aurelius

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