Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RNAbout 11% of women in the U.S. have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to full term in the 15-24 year age group.1 Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is commonly the cause.
PCOS is a hormonal condition in which women produce excessive amounts of androgens. The ovaries may grow cysts, which can lead to hormone imbalances and difficulties with ovulation.
Symptoms of PCOS may include menstrual irregularities, weight gain, male pattern baldness, and acne.
Recently, a study showed that cinnamon extracts improved fertility in women with PCOS.2 This is pretty exciting, considering that many women with this condition have undergone expensive and invasive fertility treatments to date.
Cinnamon Restores Menstrual CyclesResearchers from Columbia University Medical Center enrolled 45 women with PCOS for the study. They were randomly split into two groups, with one group receiving 1500 mg of cinnamon extract per day and the other a placebo treatment. Only 16 women completed the study.
After six months, there was a marked improvement in the cyclicity of menstrual cycles in the treatment group.2 They experienced nearly twice as many menstrual cycles (3.82 versus 2.2 in the control group) and after three months of treatment, two of the women in the treatment group became pregnant. Menstrual cyclicity remained unchanged in the control group.
The trial was small, but it definitely offers some hope. Of course, larger trials will be needed to confirm cinnamon’s fertility benefits.
Cinnamon Restores Insulin SensitivityNow, it’s not exactly clear why cinnamon helped restore fertility in the trial, but researchers think it may have to do with its ability to combat insulin resistance.
Women with PCOS are much more likely to have insulin resistance,3 a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin. Insulin resistance is normally associated with diabetes and other metabolic disorders, but it can also cause hormone imbalances and contribute to infertility.
Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels.4 It’s been shown to blunt insulin spikes5 and lower blood glucose levels. In one study, cinnamon lowered blood glucose levels of type 2 diabetics by up to a mean of 29%.6
The Bottom LineToday, infertile women have many options, and the statistics are promising. Approximately 85–90% of cases are treatable with conventional therapies.7
Fortunately, the options continue to grow, and natural treatments are now giving women more comfortable and affordable possibilities to consider.
Do you or does someone you know have fertility issues? If so, which natural treatments helped (or didn’t help)? Please share your experiences in the comments!
- Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/Reproductivehealth/Infertility/. Accessed October 31st, 2013.
- Available at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(13)01593-8/fulltext. Accessed October 23rd, 2013.
- Available at http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/21/4/154.full.pdf. Accessed October 23rd, 2013.
- Diabetologia. 2006 Oct;49(10):2437-48.
- Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar;89(3):815-21.
- Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8.
- Available at: http://www.asrm.org/detail.aspx?id=2322. Accessed October 31st, 2013.
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