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What causes PCOS remains a mystery, but we do know that PCOS sufferers have a higher sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity than other women so it may be that the acupuncture is calming the SNS and thus leading to a reduction in symptoms. In Chinese medicine PCOS is usually attributed to Kidney Yang Deficiency (poor metabolism) and Damp Accumulation (fluid filled cysts) and has been treated for hundreds of years using a combination of herbs and acupuncture. Some herbs such as zao jiao ci (Spina Gleditsiae Sinensis) have the ability to dissolve the waxy coat around the ovarian cysts and at the YinOva Center we use them as part of a larger formula to reduce cysts. Other herbs such as bu gu zhi (psoralea) and xian mao (circuligo) help metabolic slowdown and insulin resistance and at the YinOva Center we usually combine them with herbs that calm an overactive system such as huang jing (polygonatum) and herbs that balance hormones such as dang gui (tangkuei). In our book Making Babies we give the following advice to PCOS sufferers

Lose weight if you need to. Studies have shown that losing just 10% of your body weight can result in normal ovulation in women with PCOS
Cut down on animal fats and increase essential fatty acids
Eat a wide range of fruits, vegetables and low fat protein such as chicken, fish and beans.
Balance your blood sugar by limiting your carbohydrate intake. Don’t cut out carbs altogether, though, as that can lower serotonin levels and leave you feeling depressed. Instead eat healthy carbs such as whole grains.
Take N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) to help reduce circulating testosterone, cholesterol, plasma triglycerides, low density lipoproteins and insulin.
Get plenty of anti-oxident nutrients from foods and supplements. They fight inflammation which can exacerbate PCOS.
Get regular exercise to increase your metabolism. Aim for a half hour of brisk walking a day.
Practice stress management. Stress stimulates the production of more hormones, including testosterone, which makes PCOS worse. Try yoga meditation or a warm bath.
See an acupuncturist for help restoring ovulation.
See an herbalist about creating a formula that reduces cysts and balances hormones.
Allow at least three months of treatment before trying to conceive. Follicles exposed to excess androgens will be of poor quality and lead to higher risk of miscarriage.


Eat foods low on the Glycemic Index (GI) such as vegetables and whole grains. It is very important for women with PCOS to completely avoid refined carbohydrates which include: sugar (pop and candy), white flour, whole wheat flour and products made from them (pasta, breads, desserts, etc.)
Keep your blood sugar stable by eating regularly – every three to five hours is ideal and making sure that you include some protein and good fats (for example some nuts or seeds and their butters, eggs, humus etc.) at each meal. Protein foods take up to 5 hours to digest while carbohydrate foods digest within 30 minutes and can spike your blood sugar.
Eat at least five servings a day of vegetables including at least two of leafy greens (kale, broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, cabbage, rapini, etc..) Leafy greens contain indole-3 carbinol, which helps to regulate liver function which is key in glucose and hormone metabolism.
Have a regular servings of legumes like black beans, adzuki beans, mung beans, black-eyed peas etc.. Adzuki beans are beneficial in draining ‘dampness’ from the body.
Eat organic meats only. You can have red meat up to 3 times/week but make sure it is organic and grass-fed (when meat has been grain fed it changes the fats from healthy omega 3 fats to omega 6’s)
Eat at least three daily servings of fruits like berries –which are lower on the glycemic index and high in anti-oxidants
Include cinnamon into your diet daily as it helps to reduce insulin resistance
Include bitter Melon and fenugreek – help to regulate blood glucose
Include complex carbohydrate such as whole grain cereals, quinoa, brown rice, etc.

Insure adequate fiber intake (should be 30g/day), by eating a lots of fresh vegetables and whole grains

It is very important that women with PCOS avoid all refined sugars (white and brown sugars, fructose, sucrose, corn syrup) and simple sugars (maple syrup, honey etc). (Lower sugar intake by avoiding intake of simple sugar that helps to prevent further impaired glucose metabolism)
No refined carbohydrate (white bread, pasta, potatoes, white rice, most breakfast cereals, rice cakes, popcorn, or any starchy, low fiber food)
Avoid artificial sweeteners (which are shown to affect the insulin levels the same way sugar does)
Pay careful attention to portion sizes in order to moderate glucose load and minimize insulin resistance. Opt for smaller and more regular meals than bigger and more spaced out ones.
Avoid sodas, fruit juice and drinks that raise the blood glucose rapidly (i.e. Energy drinks, Gatorade or any drink with refined sugar)
Avoid milk and dairy products (cheese and yogurt), which are considered as ‘damp’ foods and will exacerbate the problem. Try substituting unsweetened almond milk as an alternative to cow’s milk.
Other tips:

Include some form of moderate exercise (yoga, pilates, walking etc) for at least 30 min/day. Studies have shown that exercise can reverse diabetes and improve insulin sensitivity as well as help with weight control.
Lose some weight (Fat cells store estrogen which can have a direct influence on pcos and fertility. Losing even a moderate amount of weight if you are overweight can have a significant improvement)
Love your liver (Your liver is important in insulin metabolism, so it is important to keep your liver functioning well. Adding vitamin B complex to your daily routine will help to restore liver normal function in insulin balancing. Also be sure to include leafy green vegetables daily and be sure to watch your stress level and moods. If you’re agitated easily and find yourself frustrated regularly, include some stress management tools into your daily life: meditation, visualization and regular exercise all help.
Get regular acupuncture. A study at Goteborg University in Sweden showed that electro-acupuncture may help 38% of women with PCOS women ovulate. Acupuncture can help to restore the ratio of LH and FSH, reduce the level of testosterone and beta-endorphin. Some studies show that acupuncture also helps to shrink of the weight of polycystic ovaries, which can enhance ovulation and egg implantation. Weekly acupuncture is ideal.

Chlorophyll -reduces symptoms of hypoglycaemia without raising blood glucose level. You can buy liquid chlorophyll at the health food store and add it to your water and sip it throughout the day
Probiotics (the healthy bacteria found in your intestinal tract). Foods which promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract include whole grains, onions, bananas, garlic, honey, leeks, artichokes and some fortified foods. Probiotic can be taken in supplement/capsule form (although dairy/yogurt does include probiotics, it is not in a therapeutic dose and it is best to avoid dairy products foods for women with pcos).
B Vitamin
Fish oil
Alpha lipoic acid


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