Research shows that inositol, a less common alternative to metformin, just as effectively treats PCOS symptoms and can normalize ovulation.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. Women with polycystic ovaries (PCO) have insulin resistance, an unfortunate condition that results in lowered ability to metabolize carbohydrates, which are starches and sugars. It contributes to weight gain in many PCO patients.
Frequently, the insulin sensitizing agent metformin (brand name Glucophage) is used in PCO patients to great benefit. In some cases, taking metformin can help lower insulin and balance hormone levels, which can alleviate many common PCOS symptoms. It is not clear that all PCOS patients need metformin, however.
Another issue is that some patients cannot tolerate metformin because of the intestinal side effects, which can include abdominal discomfort, cramping, diarrhea and nausea.
Inositol is superior to metformin in how the body uses insulin
While metformin is a very common treatment for PCOS, it is not the only treatment option. Another insulin sensitizing agent class is inositol. Research has shown that inositol improves the way the body uses insulin to help burn sugar. This can normalize ovarian function, and patients who previously were not ovulating may in some cases start ovulating on their own. It is thought that egg quality in certain women can be improved also by this improvement in general body metabolism.
Not to get too technical, but there are two different types of inositol, myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol. Research has shown that the use of a specific combination of the two inositol formulas is more beneficial than taking one or the other alone. The supplement manufacturer Theralogix produces a blend of 40:1 myo-inositol to D-chiro-inositol, which, based on research publications, is the right combination. This supplement is called Ovasitol.
In my experience, patients have zero side effects from Ovasitol, a powder that is dissolved in liquid and consumed twice a day. It is over the counter, inexpensive and does not require a prescription. We do not have a connection to the company but do not mind giving their phone number (below).
Inositol also can be used in combination with metformin. It has a different mechanism of action and is safe in pregnancy.
Theralogix contact information
(800)449-4447 (Theralogix Customer Service, available 24/7)
(888)899-3899 (Nutrition Department, available 8am-4pm M-F)