A high fat, low carb diet has been linked with improved reproductive hormone levels in women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), new research has shown.

PCOS affects between seven and 10% of women of a childbearing age and can cause infertility. The condition, which is a hormone disorder, also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The research team examined previous clinical trials involving women with PCOS following the keto diet to assess how the diet affected reproductive hormones and weight change.

Women following the keto diet for a minimum of 45 days saw an improvement in their reproductive hormone levels and experienced significant weight loss.

Lower follicle-stimulating hormone ratio also meant they could have an improved chance of ovulating.

Lower testosterone levels also helps to reduce symptoms of PCOS including excess hair growth.

Other possible effects of the keto diet for women with PCOS includes stabilised menstrual cycles and improved cholesterol levels.

Study author Karniza Khalid, from the Ministry of Health Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, said: “We found an association between the ketogenic diet and an improvement in reproductive hormone levels, which influence fertility, in women with PCOS.

“These findings have important clinical implications, especially for endocrinologists, gynaecologists and dieticians who, in addition to medical treatment, should carefully plan and customise individual diet recommendations for women with PCOS.”

Read the study in full in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

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