PCOS, Insulin, Testosterone, and Vinegar?

The standard American diet (or SAD) has many downfalls and linkages to chronic disease. One of the most common is the creation of insulin resistance, a dynamic in which your cells are unable to access the glucose in your blood for fuel. If insulin resistance is allowed to persist, you end up with too little glucose inside the cell (causing low energy, mental sluggishness, carb cravings and a whole host of glands and tissues working sub-optimally). 

Plus you also end up with too much glucose outside the cell in the blood (causing inflammation in the arteries, nerves and eventually dysfunction in tissue itself e.g. kidneys, eyes). Over time, this dynamic progresses to Type 2 diabetes. The negative double whammy above is that those with type 2 diabetes have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Unfortunately, conventional medicine is typically not focused on identifying this dynamic early on so that it can be reversed (something we have helped many members to do effectively).  

Far in advance of any elevated blood sugar issues (meaning you are told your blood sugar lab work is “fine”), the body responds to the initial stages of insulin resistance by simply producing more insulin from the pancreas. This is a great example of how the body is constantly working to adapt to our lifestyle and keep us thriving. For short-term needs, higher insulin is not a concern. When our ongoing, daily diet demands higher and higher insulin levels however, hormone havoc can begin.

We closely evaluate our members’ symptoms to understand when this dynamic is perhaps well underway, and can then be confirmed via lab work.

For many people, diets with refined carbohydrates (e.g. foods made out of flour, sugars) or just too many carbohydrates overall (which varies by person based on your genetics and your lifestyle) will start the downward spiral of insulin resistance.  

We’ve known for some time that apple cider vinegar is effective at improving insulin sensitivity in response to higher glycemic meals (interesting studies if you wish can be found hereherehere, and here).  This is not "news" as people have known about the benefits of apple cider vinegar for years, but it is a wonderfully simple and helpful solution that also improves digestion. 

You can simply use 1-2 tablespoons in a small amount of water (not a lot – about 3/4 cup) taken prior to a meal.

What I am most excited to share with you is a new study that takes this benefit of apple cider vinegar to the next level. 

One of the most common causes of infertility in women is PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome). It also contributes to menstrual irregularities and lack of ovulation. When a woman doesn’t ovulate she doesn’t produce progesterone which is critical for hormone balance with estrogen.  

With ongoing lack of ovulation a woman can begin to struggle with symptoms of estrogen dominance (e.g. anxiety, headache, bloating/IBS, difficulty losing weight, mood swings, water retention).  This can be the case even if her estrogen levels are mid-normal!  Because there is a lack of that balance across the hormones that I mentioned earlier.

But the story gets richer... 

There are many lifestyle choices that can contribute to PCOS (e.g. mindset, stress, limiting beliefs, toxins, nutrient deficiencies), but diet is a major one.  A high-insulin-producing diet can cause a woman’s ovaries to produce higher levels of testosterone and to fail to ovulate.  High testosterone accounts for some of the other common symptoms that go hand-in-hand with PCOS (besides the cysts themselves) such as hair loss atop the head, abnormal body hair (e.g. chin, nipples, upper lip), aggressiveness, and irritability.  In this breakthrough study, apple cider vinegar was used not only to improve insulin sensitivity in PCOS patients but also to restore ovulation in half of the participants. Wow! That’s impressive. And a safe and easy thing for nearly anyone to try (just avoid it if you have active esophagitis or Barrett’s esophagus or a yeast allergy).

This was a small study that needs repetition and expansion, but it’s a big result for an extremely simple solution (to a common and debilitating syndrome) that honors the interconnectedness among our hormones.  

Metabolic hormones affect sex hormones. While I’m at it, here’s another study showing how thyroid hormone can be at play in this same mix too (and subclinical hypothyroidism is rampant – and often undiagnosed; we see this in our members often), but that’s another article for another day.  

At kNew Health, we customize a set of solutions for each of our members based on their unique needs – and the interconnectedness of their hormones.

by:Tracy Harrison (www.SchoolAFM.com)

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  • Thank you for this very helpful information to put in to use right away. Just realized I am putting too much water with my vinegar.

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