PCOS Review Newsletter #109

1) Got Milk? Get Acne!

Do you drink cow's milk and consume lots of dairy products? Do you also have problems with acne, hirsutism or hair loss?

According to research, there may be a link between components of cow's milk and acne, as well as other symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.

The recommended diet by authors of The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility ebook excludes milk and dairy products. The authors described numerous reasons for not drinking milk.

One of those reasons is a protein called "insulin growth factor-1" or IGF-1. Since the ebook was written, additional evidence has come to our attention to implicate IGF-1.

The IGF-1 problem is a bit complicated, but let's try to connect the dots anyway.

IGF-1 is a "growth factor" that regulates cell growth and development. There is lots of IGF-1 in cow's milk because cow's milk is intended to make baby cows grow fast into mature cows.

But you are not a baby cow. You are an adult human being. So what do you think all this IGF-1 is going to do inside your body? No one knows for sure, but the evidence so far is troubling.

1) IGF-1 stimulates cell division and retards cell death. Therefore, it is a supporter of cancer growth.

2) IGF-1 in milk appears to increase your insulin levels and possibly increases IGF-1 production inside your body. Excessively high insulin levels are a huge problem for women with PCOS, resulting in a condition called "insulin resistance." Insulin resistance in turn is a driving force behind infertility, weight gain, and all the other symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

3) IGF-1 stimulates an enzyme called 5alpha-reductase. 5alpha-reductase in turn stimulates the production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is thought to be the #1 cause of acne, hirsutism, and hair loss.

4) IGF-1 stimulates production of male hormones by your ovaries and adrenal glands. This is exactly what you don't want to happen. Your male hormone levels are already too high.

5) Increased IGF-1 levels during pregnancy may unfavorably affect the "fetal programming" of the baby that is developing in your uterus. There may be future health consequences for your child.

Enough about IGF-1.

Milk has another problematic compound called 5alpha-P. 5alpha-P is converted into DHT, which in turn worsens acne, hirsutism and hair loss.

5alpha-P also appears to make you more sensitive to estrogen. Many women who have PCOS also have a condition called "estrogen dominance", where they have too much estrogen in relation to progesterone. So, if you have too much "unopposed" estrogen and if 5alpa-P makes you more sensitive to estrogen, you open yourself up to increased risk of estrogen-related disorders such as endometriosis, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer.

Folks, this is only the tip of the iceberg regarding milk. Please review chapter 5.2 "The Problem with Milk" in the diet ebook for more information.

Milk and dairy products are a mixed bag. Dairy has some good things and some bad things. If you consume a lot of dairy products, we suggest you think about cutting back. If you're worried about getting enough calcium, simply take a high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.

Sources: Melnik B et al, Role of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, hyperglycaemic food and milk consumption in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris, Exp Dermatol. 2009 Oct;18(10):833-41
Danby FW, Acne, dairy and cancer: The 5alpha-P link, Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Jan;1(1):12-6
Melnik B, Milk consumption: aggravating factor of acne and promoter of chronic diseases of Western societies, J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2009 Apr;7(4):364-70
Melnik B, Milk--the promoter of chronic Western diseases, Med Hypotheses. 2009 Jun;72(6):631-9

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