PCOS Review Newsletter #83

1) Fat Intake May Impair Brain Function

2) New Way to Take Metformin for PCOS?

3) Start a Gratitude Journal

1) Fat Intake May Impair Brain Function

We hope you're not consuming a lot of saturated animal fats and milk products containing saturated fat. But if you are, they could be causing problems for your brain function, according to recent studies.

A study from the University of Kuopioin in Finland found that higher saturated fat intake from milk products and spreads during midlife may be associated with poorer cognitive function, increased risk of clinical mild cognitive impairment later in life, and poorer memory.

The saturated fat issue is one reason why you won't find milk products in our recommended diet in The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility.

In the Finnish study, those who consumed fish and polyunsaturated fats (oils from plant material and fish) had better cognitive function and memory.

Another study, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, showed that "higher intakes of saturated and trans fat since midlifeÂ…were each highly associated with worse cognitive decline" in women with Type 2 diabetes. (Since diabetes is an end point for a significant proportion of women with PCOS, this information may apply to you.)

For more information about saturated fats and trans fats, please refer to Section 6 of our PCOS diet book.

Eskelinen MH et al, Fat intake at midlife and cognitive impairment later in life: a population-based CAIDE study, Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2008 Jul;23(7):741-7
Devore EE et al, Dietary fat intake and cognitive decline in women with type 2 diabetes, Diabetes Care. 2009 Apr;32(4):635-40

2) New Way to Take Metformin for PCOS?

Some women with polycystic ovary syndrome take metformin (Glucophage) but have to discontinue it because it can cause stomach or GI problems. Common side effects of oral metformin are nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, increased abdominal gas, and a metallic taste.

Here's an idea for getting around this problem.

Why not apply it as a topical cream?

Metformin can be used topically to avoid the side effects of the oral medication. Topical metformin may allow you to use less of the drug and still receive the same effects.

You can have your doctor write a prescription for topical metformin. This prescription can be filled by a pharmacy that is called a "compounding pharmacy". A compounding pharmacy will make a customized cream that contains the metformin.

According to information provided to us from one compounding pharmacy, topical metformin should be applied to the ovarian area of the lower quadrant (alternating right and left) and dosing is typically started at 50mg twice daily and increased as needed.

If your doctor doesn't know of a compounding pharmacy, you can search for one on the Internet, or visit the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists website.

3) Start a Gratitude Journal

Setbacks and frustrations are a part of everyday life. Sometimes it's really easy to slip into a negative mindset and look at things from the perspective of "what I don't have".

The problem is that a negative mindset impairs your ability to effectively deal with PCOS. For one thing, it may cause an increase in stress hormones, which can worsen PCOS-related symptoms. A negative outlook can also contribute to depression.

It's natural to focus on what went wrong in your day and forget about what went right. A good way to counteract this tendency is to focus on what's right in your life and the things you can be grateful for.

Start a gratitude journal and, each day, write down five things that you're thankful for. Do this for at least two weeks and notice how much better you feel.

Take any notebook and turn it into a journal that'll be a record of all the things that make you happy.

Fill the first few pages of your journal with the following wonderful details about:

Positive thinking has power and practicality.

1. Your family.

Think about why your family members are special to you. Is your mom funny? Is your dad an advice champ? Is your sister sweet? If your family treasures conversations over dinner, then write that down. You could also highlight the traits that your clan is famous for. Think about the things that make you proud to be part of your family.

2. Your friends.

What endears your friends to you? Do they make you laugh when you're down? Do they keep your feet on the ground? Remember the times when you realized that the bond you share had a profound effect in your life. Pick moments where your friends proved that they would be there for you no matter what.

3. Your home.

The place you live in may not be perfect, but surely there are things you love about it. Maybe you take pride making your home livable, comfortable or stylish? Think about the memories that you made in your home. Did you have an impromptu party with your friends one night? Did you have a blast trying to paint your walls? Every home has happy moments that should be relived.

4. Your work.

Work is often associated with stress. But that's not all there is to it. Your job is where you acquire new skills. You get a chance to learn from a mentor and, perhaps, be one yourself. You also bond with the people you work with. Your workplace offers a lot of silver linings despite deadlines, marathon meetings or difficult clients. Write down what makes your workday worth it. Is it the lunchtime chats with your workmates? Or is it the sheer joy of loving what you do? In this way, you'll see your office as a happy place. Write down the things that make you look forward to work.

5. Your neighbors.

Even if you aren't that chummy with your neighbors, they play a part in making your life pleasant. Maybe the mother next door always tells her kids not to bother you when you go out for your run. Perhaps, the nice man two doors down recommended some reliable dog walkers to you. Or maybe you like the fact that the family living across the street just minds their own business. These are neighborly niceties that you may overlook.

You can go on to write about the things that you're grateful for in other aspects of your life. You'll realize that your blessings outweigh the setbacks.

You'll see that your life is actually more wonderful than you think. The fact that you have so many good things going for you will help you keep your chin up. You only need to go through the pages of your gratitude journal when you're feeling blue.

And it will help you better manage PCOS too!

Thought for Today: "Fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run." -- Joseph Rudyard Kipling

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