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Vitamin D and Omega-3s for PCOS: A Randomized Trial

7/31/2018 12:10:13 PM
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is marked by ovarian cysts, hirsutism, menstrual irregularities, impaired fertility, and mood dysfunction. The biochemical imbalances of PCOS, which include hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance, oxidative stress, and chronic inflammation, increase a woman’s risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Like most metabolic diseases, lifestyle changes and nutritional support are foundational in reducing the risk of disease progression, complications, and comorbidities.
In the first randomized controlled trial of its kind, researchers assessed the effects of combined vitamin D and omega-3 supplementation on clinical, metabolic, and genetic parameters in women with PCOS. A total of 60 women (aged 18-40 years) with PCOS were randomized to take vitamin D (50,000 IU every other week) plus omega-3 fatty acids (2000 mg/day) or placebo for 12 weeks.    
Results showed that vitamin D and omega-3 supplementation significantly reduced total serum testosterone by a mean of 0.2 ng/mL after 12 weeks but did not affect other hormones (including sex hormone-binding globulin [SHBG], dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEAS], and free androgen index [FAI]). Vitamin D and omega-3s improved markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, as indicated by significant decreases in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and malondialdehyde (MDA), a significant increase in total antioxidant capacity (TAC), downregulation of interleukin-1 (IL-1), and upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Finally, vitamin D and omega-3 supported mental and general health, as indicated by significant improvements in scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), General Health Questionnaire (GHS), and Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS).
Complex chronic diseases, like PCOS, are often best managed by a comprehensive approach to improving nutritional status rather than by prescribing a single drug or nutrient. The results of this study demonstrate that the combination of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids has an immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effect in women with PCOS that translates to improvements in mood and overall health.     
Jamilian M, Samimi M, Mirhosseini N et al. The influences of vitamin D and omega-3 co-supplementation on clinical, metabolic and genetic parameters in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Affect Disord. 2018; 238: 32-38.
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