Scientists have shown that a compound found in grapes and red wine, resveratrol, helps balance hormone levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The abnormal hormone levels that characterize PCOS can lead to infertility, hirsutism, weight gain, acne, and male pattern baldness. In addition, the hormonal imbalance can cause insulin resistance, increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes.
Approximately five to ten percent of women at childbearing age are affected by PCOS, a condition responsible for 70 percent of the infertility concerns in women who have trouble ovulating. About 40 percent of women, aged 20 to 50, with glucose intolerance or diabetes have PCOS.
The resveratrol study involved 30 women with PCOS, recruited through the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poznan, Poland. Half of them were given a 1,500 mg daily dose of resveratrol, and half received a daily placebo. At the start of the study, and after three months treatment, the participants’ hormone levels and diabetes risk factors were assessed.
At three months, the group that received the resveratrol supplements:
Showed a 23.1 percent drop in their testosterone levels.
Demonstrated a 22.2 percent decrease in DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), a hormone the body can convert into testosterone.
Had their fasting insulin levels diminish by 31.8 percent, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In contrast, the placebo group experienced a 2.9 percent rise in testosterone levels, and a 10.5 percent increase in DHEAS.
Resveratrol is often studied for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and heart-healthy properties. Beside red wine and grapes, resveratrol is abundant in peanuts, pistachios, cacao beans, and a variety of berries. As an antioxidant, resveratrol protects the body from harmful molecules called free radicals by capturing, neutralizing, and helping dispose of them. Now, the Poznan study suggests resveratrol can aid hormonal balance as well.
“This nutritional supplement can help moderate the hormone imbalance that is one of the central features of PCOS,” says Dr. Antoni J. Duleba, the study’s senior author. “The findings [also] suggest resveratrol can improve the body’s ability to use insulin and potentially lower the risk of developing diabetes.”
Future research by Duleba and colleagues may focus on understanding how resveratrol adjusts hormonal imbalances in women.
Sources: Medical News Today; Endocrine; Medical News; PCOS Foundation
Photo credit: Giorgio Montersino