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From: Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN (
Subject:         Re: Soy/Seitan
Date: January 9, 2008 at 5:48 am PST

In Reply to: Soy/Seitan posted by Kim on January 8, 2008 at 4:24 pm:

Hi Kim

While there may be many conflicting reports about soy (and/or) PCOS, there are some known issues that will greatly help with PCOS and soy is not one of these issues.

In fact, a recent study was done on soy and PCOS and found no adverse responses in the subjects hormones or menstrual cycles and they even found some benefit to the lipids.

(Fertil Steril. 2007 Dec 29 Is there a role for soy isoflavones in the therapeutic approach to polycystic ovary syndrome? Results from a pilot study. Romualdi D, Costantini B, Campagna G, Lanzone A, Guido M.)

However, I would recommend that someone with PCOS focus on the known important issues that have been shown to help PCOS. These include reducing weight and reducing insulin resistance.


Farshchi H, Rane A, Love A, Kennedy RL.Diet and nutrition in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Pointers for nutritional management. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2007 Nov;27(8):762-73.PMID: 18097891

The article states...

"PCOS patients are not always markedly overweight but PCOS is strongly associated with abdominal obesity and insulin resistance. Effective approaches to nutrition and exercise improve endocrine features, reproductive function and cardiometabolic risk profile - even without marked weight loss."


... Conclusions

"PCOS is a complex disorder due, in part but not exclusively to, insulin resistance and overweight. In practice, its management is often not entirely
satisfactory from the patient's point of view. Treatment of PCOS may be divided as follows: (1) Attention to lifestyle factors including diet and
exercise. (2) Management of specific aspects such as menstrual irregularity, anovulatory infertility, and hirsutism. (3) Dietary and exercise interventions to promote weight loss and improve glucose tolerance. (4) Pharmacological interventions to improve insulin sensitivity or to assist with weight loss. A scheme for management of the overweight or insulin resistant patient with PCOS is proposed in Figure 1. Although there has been a general increased interest in the role of lifestyle modification to
favourably alter the clinical features of PCOS, much of what has been learned is by inference from the non-PCOS population. There is relatively little specific information on nutritional recommendations for patients with PCOS (Stein 2006; Hoeger 2006). The focus, to date, has been on the macronutrient components of the diet. Evidence is beginning to emerge that micronutrients are also important. Thus, there may be benefits to supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants (Stein 2006), and low vitamin D levels in some patients may contribute to the metabolic features of the syndrome (Hahn et al. 2006). Some early evidence supports
non-pharmacological treatment including herb and nutritional supplements (Dennehy 2006; Westphal et al. 2006)."

The following general recommendations are adapted (and slightly modified to make them healthier) :) from the above article ...

1. Focus your diet on low calorie foods to lose weight without hunger.

2. Exercise regularly: 30 min of moderate exercise daily will help to maintain body weight. More prolonged or vigorous exercise may be needed to
produce weight loss.

3. Eat no more than 20% of daily calories from fat, restricting saturated fat to <5-7% total calories.

4. Eliminate refined carbohydrates. This is especially important in the beginning. For a better understanding or refined vs unrefined, read the newsletters at my website on this topic

5. Focus on higher soluble fiber foods like beans, oats, yams, barley and berries

6. Avoid red meat. Ensure adequate essential fat and Vit D intake. A TB of ground flax or 1 oz of english walnuts per day can help with essential fats and 10-20 minutes a day in the sun in off peak hours can help with the Vit D.

7. Eat at least 12 servings of fruit or vegetable per day. This promotes satiety, supplies fibre and maintains the micronutrient content of the diet.

8. Eat regularly and focus food intake on three (maximum four) meals per day.

9. Avoid calorie-dense snacks as they promote hyperinsulinaemia and drive hunger. Avoid liquid calories especially fruit juices, and alcoholic drinks which are often forgotten but are
rich in calories and carbohydrates.

10. Even modest weight loss has health benefits. Achieving this requires creating an energy deficit which is best achieved thru a diet of low calorie foods with 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day.

Best wishes!

In Health

Fertil Steril. 2007 Dec 29 Is there a role for soy isoflavones in the therapeutic approach to polycystic ovary syndrome? Results from a pilot study. Romualdi D, Costantini B, Campagna G, Lanzone A, Guido M.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of the soy isoflavone genistein on the metabolic and hormonal disturbances of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), we studied a group of obese, hyperinsulinemic, and dyslipidemic women presenting this syndrome during 6 months of phytoestrogen administration. DESIGN: Pilot prospective study. SETTING: Operative division of endocrinological gynecology in a university hospital. PATIENT(S): Twelve Caucasian obese, hyperinsulinemic, and dyslipidemic women with PCOS. INTERVENTION(S): Patients received 36 mg/d of genistein for 6 months. Ultrasonographic pelvic exams, hormonal and lipid features, oral glucose tolerance test, and euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp were performed at baseline and after 3 and 6 months of treatment. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Basal hormonal assays, lipid profile, and glycoinsulinemic assessment. RESULT(S): Phytoestrogens supplementation significantly improved total cholesterol levels, reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and resulting in a significant decrease in the LDL-high-density lipoprotein ratio (LDL-HDL). Triglycerides showed a trend toward decrease, whereas no changes were detected in very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol plasma levels. Genistein treatment did not significantly affect anthropometric features, the hormonal milieu, and menstrual cyclicity. No significant changes occurred in glycoinsulinemic metabolism. CONCLUSION(S): The possible advantages derived from the therapeutic use of phytoestrogens in PCOS are limited to improvement of the lipidic assessment.

PMID: 18166189

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