A new, small study of overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) finds that a ketogenic diet improved a number of metabolic markers of this common reproductive, endocrine disorder.

The study, conducted by a team from a trio of universities in Italy, followed 14 women with PCOS over 12 weeks. The subjects ate a Mediterranean ketogenic diet, along with some low-carb protein and herbal supplements.

The diet helped the women lose a significant amount of body weight and body fat, decreased their insulin resistance, improved all their disordered hormone levels as well as their blood lipids, and reduced their inflammation.

The researchers, who published at the end of February in the open source BMC: Journal of Translational Medicine, concluded:

Our results suggest that a ketogenic diet may be considered as a valuable non-pharmacological treatment for PCOS.

Study: Effects of a ketogenic diet in overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome

The study had its limitations: it was not randomized and did not have a control group; of the original 24 women enrolled, eight were excluded and two dropped out; and it only lasted 12 weeks.

It is also well established that any diet that helps women with PCOS lose a significant amount of weight will automatically improve their markers and symptoms of the condition. The women in this study lost an average of 9.4 kg, or about 20 pounds.

However, the study contributes to the growing body of evidence that a ketogenic diet works for weight loss and is a rational choice for women who want to try to improve the distressing symptoms of this hormonal disorder, which impacts up to 15% of women of reproductive age. Along with obesity and insulin resistance, PCOS symptoms also include irregular menstrual periods, infertility, acne, cystic ovaries, and male-pattern hair growth.

Diet Doctor has a number of success stories from women who have seen significant improvements to a wide range of PCOS symptoms, including improving their fertility.

As well, we have written guides and articles on the condition and the reasons why it might be helped by a low-carb or ketogenic diet. Check them out:

PCOS Success Stories

How to potentially reverse PCOS with low carb

Top 8 reasons to adopt a low-carb diet for polycystic ovary syndrome

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