4 Ways to Lower Risk for Type 2 Diabetes If You Have PCOS

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Nearly 50% of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) develop pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes before the age of 40. This is alarming statistic highlights the need for interventions that can reduce the chances of women with PCOS developing these chronic conditions.

Below are four of the best ways to lower your risk for developing pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Modify Your Diet

Diet modifications are one of the primary treatment approaches for women with PCOS and also one of the best ways to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. Eating more fruits and vegetables is one way to start. Women with PCOS who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains had significant improvements in insulin sensitivity.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared a low glycemic index diet with a conventional diet in women with PCOS. Both diets consisted of equal amounts of calories coming from carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Women with PCOS who followed the low GI diet had greater improvements in insulin sensitivity. Those with high insulin levels at the start of the study saw a 2-fold reduction in body fat loss following the low GI diet.

Low GI foods are whole foods that are rich in fiber and protein and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Examples include oats, quinoa, beans, legumes, fruits eaten with the skin on like apples and berries, and vegetables.

Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Along with changes to your diet, exercise is an important part of managing your weight, lowering insulin, and reducing your risk for diabetes. Engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate-intense exercise most, if not all days of the week. Be sure to include at least two days of resistance training. Simply adding more movement into your day by parking your car further away from the door or taking the steps instead of the elevator, can also make a difference over time.

Supplement With Inositol

It’s been suggested that women with PCOS have a defect in their ability to properly use inositol. Inositol acts as a secondary messenger, relaying signals that regulate insulin levels in the body. Supplementing with a combination of myo and d-chiro inositols (DCI) improved insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS better than myo or DCI alone.

Take Insulin Sensitizing Medications

If despite following a healthy eating plan and exercising you still haven’t seen improvements in lab values indicating diabetes risk, talk to your doctor about using an insulin-sensitizing medication such as metformin and/or Victoza. A study published in Human Reproductive Update showed that metformin along with modifications to diet and lifestyle resulted in more weight loss than without the medication.

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Article Sources

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