Insulin Resistance and PCOS: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Insulin-Resistant PCOS Type

Insulin resistance is the main reason most women have PCOS. This includes many who don't weigh too much, which we call "lean PCOS." 


Gaining weight is just one thing that can happen because of insulin resistance, but not everyone with Insulin-Resistant PCOS will gain weight. 


If someone thinks they don't have insulin problems just because they're not overweight, they might not get the right help for their PCOS.


Scientists found something interesting. 


In women with PCOS who weren't overweight, 75% had insulin resistance. 


But in similar women without PCOS, only 24% had it. 


Among those who were overweight, 95% with PCOS had insulin resistance, compared to 62% without it.


This tells us that having insulin resistance in PCOS doesn't always mean you will gain weight. 


Actually, it's usually the insulin resistance that can make you gain weight, not the other way around. 


So, even if you're not overweight, you might still have insulin resistance causing your PCOS problems. 


PCOS makes it more likely to have insulin issues, no matter how much you weigh.

My PCOS fertility journey

It's not well-known that you can have insulin resistance without gaining weight if you have PCOS. Many doctors think if you don't gain weight with PCOS, there's not much you can do. 

I found this out myself when I started trying to have a baby with PCOS.

I went to my doctor, hoping to prepare my body for pregnancy soon. I asked how to help my hormones and boost my chances of getting pregnant naturally. 

By then, I had managed my PCOS well, maintaining a healthy weight and clear skin, but my periods were still irregular.

My doctor said since I wasn't overweight, there wasn't much else to do naturally. I left with a referral to a fertility expert and the thought that I'd likely need fertility drugs to conceive. We hadn't even begun trying!

I was really disappointed, thinking it would be tough to get pregnant. But nine months later, I still hadn't used that referral. 

I had improved my insulin and stress levels on my own, got my cycle regular, and was six weeks pregnant after three months of trying without help.

This doesn't mean fertility drugs aren't useful sometimes. 

But I've seen many women rushed into this option without trying basic lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and stress management.

If you've been given the same advice, I suggest spending six months trying the tips in this post first. 

Even if you don't get pregnant on your own, these steps can make fertility treatments more successful and lead to a healthier pregnancy and baby.

How insulin resistance causes PCOS symptoms

Insulin resistance is like our body's cells not hearing insulin's message to let sugar in from our blood to store it. Insulin works like a key for cell doors. 


But in insulin resistance, this key is rusty and struggles to open the cell door, causing insulin to stay in our blood longer than it should.


When insulin levels are high for too long, it makes our ovaries produce more testosterone and other similar hormones. 


High insulin also reduces a protein called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which normally soaks up extra hormones to keep things balanced. 


With less SHBG and more free-floating male-type hormones, problems start.


These excess hormones can kill scalp hair follicles, leading to hair loss. They can clog skin pores, causing acne. They also transform fine facial and chest hairs into thick, dark ones.


To make things worse, more testosterone means even more insulin is produced, creating a cycle where hormone levels keep going up. 


High insulin also lowers the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which is essential for our egg cells to grow properly for ovulation. 


With not enough FSH, ovulation might not happen at all, making periods disappear or become very irregular.


Finally, high insulin causes too much of another hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH), to be released. 


LH is usually good for triggering ovulation, but too much can stop or delay it, leading to missing or irregular periods.

Signs and Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

Take the quiz below to rate the likelihood of insulin being a root cause of your PCOS.


 Each time you answer yes, give yourself one point.

If you said yes to four or more of the points above, there’s a high chance insulin resistance is the root cause of your PCOS. 


If you aren’t sure or would like to confirm this with testing, see below for the best tests to diagnose insulin resistance. Testing is optional.

Problems with Common Tests for Insulin Resistance

You might not know if you have insulin resistance because the tests your doctor used aren't the most sensitive. 


The most common tests are fasting glucose and HbA1C, but they're not great at detecting early-stage insulin resistance.


They're more for finding severe insulin resistance, like in type 2 diabetes.


A study in 2014 found that HbA1C missed 45% of type 2 diabetes cases, showing it's not great at catching early insulin resistance. 


Fasting blood glucose is another test often used, but the upper "normal" limit might be too high. 


The usual limit is 100mg/dL, but a study from 2005 showed that people with levels between 91-99mg/dL could still develop type 2 diabetes.


If you've had an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), you know it's not pleasant. 


It involves drinking a super sweet drink and getting your blood taken for a few hours to see how your glucose levels change. 


It's often used in pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes. 


While it's more accurate than the first two tests, OGTT also mainly measures glucose, not insulin, so it can miss early insulin resistance. 


Another study showed that OGTTs missed about half of the diabetes cases.


In insulin resistance, blood glucose can be normal because the body is making lots of insulin to keep glucose low. 


So, if we only look at glucose levels, they seem fine, but actually, your insulin is working too hard to balance glucose. Relying only on glucose tests could mean missing the right diagnosis and treatment for PCOS.


If your doctor has checked your fasting blood glucose, HbA1C, or OGTT and ruled out insulin resistance, but you still think it might be an issue, don't hesitate to ask for more tests. 


I'll talk about the best tests to ask for next.


Free 3 min Quiz 

PCOS? Which Type Do You Have?

About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

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Gold Standard Tests for Insulin Resistance

Blood Test

The best test for insulin resistance is the Glucose Tolerance Test with Insulin Assay. 


This test is like an OGTT but checks both insulin and glucose levels. 


You'll get a blood test before and then one and two hours after drinking a glucose solution. This test is 75% better at finding diabetes and pre-diabetes than a regular OGTT.


Your fasting insulin should ideally be under 10mlU/L (60pmol/L). 


One and two hours after the glucose drink, your insulin should stay below 60mlU/L (410pmol/L). If it's higher, it suggests insulin resistance.


This test isn't as common as a standard OGTT, fasting glucose, or HbA1C test, so your doctor might not know about it. 


Keep asking or look for a healthcare provider who can help you get the right tests to confirm or rule out insulin resistance.

Measure Your Waist

Insulin resistance often leads to gaining weight around your belly. The bigger your waist, the more likely you are to have insulin resistance.


To measure, use a tape measure around the top of your hip bone and line it up with your belly button. 


Make sure the tape is straight. 


Breathe in and out, and let your belly relax without holding it in. Read the number on the tape. 


For women, a waist size of 80cm (32 inches) or more suggests a higher chance of insulin resistance. The risk goes up as your waist size increases.


It's important to remember that being overweight doesn't always cause insulin resistance, but it can increase the risk. 


So, you can have insulin resistance even without a high waist measurement or being overweight. The symptoms we've talked about can also help show if insulin resistance is an issue for you.

Metformin

If you're overweight or have insulin resistance, you might have been offered Metformin, a popular medicine that makes your body more responsive to insulin. 


This can be effective for some women in treating insulin resistance.


However, more than half of the women taking Metformin experience side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. 


It's also known to lower vitamin B12 levels, so if you're taking Metformin, consider a daily B12 supplement.


Deciding to use Metformin for your PCOS is up to you. You can achieve similar or even better results through the diet and lifestyle changes mentioned in this post.


If Metformin's side effects are bothering you, you might want to try inositol. 


Studies have shown that inositol can be more effective than Metformin in weight loss, bringing back regular periods, and increasing the chances of a natural pregnancy, all without the side effects.

"Changing what you eat, how you move and which supplements you take is the most effective way to reverse insulin resistance and thrive with PCOS."

SPOTLIGHT: Maria’s intense sugar cravings

Maria joined my group program in 2019, having dealt with lean PCOS for a long time. 

A few weeks in, she contacted me, amazed. 

We had just discussed how a high-sugar diet can lead to insulin resistance, and it was a revelation for her. 

Maria had always seen food mainly as a source of pleasure.

Since she didn't gain weight from her PCOS, she hadn't really thought about her diet's impact. 

She loved pastries and bread, had a big sweet tooth, and hardly ever ate vegetables. 

She was surprised, telling me, "I've had PCOS for years, but no one told me my eating habits could affect my symptoms!"

Over the following weeks, we slightly changed how Maria prepared her meals. 

Soon, her sugar cravings went away. Her menstrual cycle became regular, and her hair loss stopped. 

Maria learned she doesn't need sugar for energy and now enjoys pastries just on special occasions, without feeling out of control.

What causes insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance usually happens because of a mix of your genes (being naturally more likely to get it) and your lifestyle (like your diet, activity level, sleep, and stress).

It's a lot like getting PCOS: you're often born more likely to develop insulin resistance, which is why we asked about diabetes or pre-diabetes in your family earlier in this post. 

But just because it's in your family doesn't mean you'll definitely get insulin resistance. It's your lifestyle choices, like what you eat and how you live, that can trigger it. 

For instance, eating a lot of fructose (a type of sugar) can increase your risk.

Sleep is another factor. 

Even one night of bad sleep can make you less sensitive to insulin the next day. 

If you don't sleep well often, your risk of long-term insulin resistance goes up.

Not exercising enough is also being studied, as physical activity helps make your muscles more responsive to insulin.

Even your mom's pregnancy with you might matter. 

Studies suggest that if your mom was really stressed when she was pregnant, or if she had gestational diabetes, it could increase your chances of having insulin resistance later.

Your gut bacteria are important too. 

A healthy gut can make you more sensitive to insulin.

We can't change your genes or your mom's pregnancy, but we can definitely help you with other lifestyle factors.

Making small changes in your diet, exercise, mindfulness, sleep, gut health, and supplements can really help reverse insulin resistance.

In the next part of this post, we'll go over the best changes you can make to manage this main cause of PCOS and live well.

Eating Throughout The Day

So far, you've been sticking to the PCOS Repair Breakfast guidelines while eating your usual meals for the rest of the day. 

Once you're comfortable with your new breakfast routine, let's focus on lunch and dinner.

For breakfast, we've avoided carbs like starchy veggies, grains, and most fruits (except berries). However, including some carbs in your lunch and dinner is key. 

Despite what you might hear on social media, carbs are necessary for women with PCOS to ovulate.

Ovulating regularly is essential, whether or not you plan to get pregnant. 

It's how we produce progesterone, which is vital for clear skin, stable weight, high energy, good sleep, and relaxation. 

It also helps prevent certain cancers and naturally blocks a specific enzyme that converts testosterone into a more potent form.

This production of progesterone promotes healthy hair growth, reduces acne, and limits unwanted hair growth.

 That's why I never advise completely cutting out carbs, even in cases of severe insulin resistance. 

Our bodies, especially as women, have a "carbohydrate set point."

This set point is linked to a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which monitors our environment for food scarcity that might make reproduction risky. 

It checks for enough overall calories and specifically for carbohydrate intake. Each woman has a unique carb level that her brain sees as enough to ovulate.

Eating below this carb level for too long can signal to your brain there's not enough food, leading it to shut down ovulation. 

This is your body's way of protecting you, as pregnancy requires a lot of extra calories.

We've observed that women, especially younger ones, who eat too few carbs can lose their periods, even if they get enough calories from protein and fat, like on a ketogenic diet. 

A 2003 study found that 45% of women on a ketogenic diet for six months had lost their period or had irregular cycles.

Men don't experience this because they don't have the same reproductive concerns. This might explain why men can do well on a ketogenic diet while women might feel worse.

Due to this carb set point, I recommend keeping your breakfast low in carbs for stable blood sugar and insulin throughout the day. 

But include a portion of gentle, non-inflammatory starch in your lunch and dinner.

Gentle starches like rice, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, and root vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, pumpkins, squash, and carrots) are great options. 

They don't cause inflammation, which is crucial since all women with PCOS tend to have more inflammation than average.

Balanced with protein and healthy fats, these gentle carbs won't lead to insulin resistance. 

Carbs are also important for sleep, so having them at night can stabilize blood sugar for restful sleep and lower stress.

Now, about including gentle carbs in your lunch and dinner: I've developed a simple approach called the PCOS Plate Method to help you adapt any meal to be PCOS-friendly.

The PCOS Plate Method

To create a balanced main meal that supports hormone balance, use this easy guide for the right mix of macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins). 

This approach helps with insulin sensitivity, stabilizes stress hormones, and reduces inflammation – key factors in managing PCOS.

By following these proportions, you can easily tweak almost any meal to be PCOS-friendly:

1. Animal-based proteins: Try to fill about a quarter of your plate with high-protein, low-carb options like meat, fish, chicken, or eggs.

2. Starch: Another quarter should be "gentle carbs" – these are less likely to cause inflammation.

3. Non-starchy vegetables: Half of your plate should be these types of veggies.

4. Healthy fats: Add these to your meal, either by cooking with them or drizzling them over your food.

If you prefer plant-based proteins like lentils or chickpeas, remember they also contain carbs. 

So, they fit both the protein and starch categories. To balance this, reduce your starch portion by about half and increase your non-starchy veggies (check the diagrams for guidance).

For example, in a Mexican meal with beans, veggies, and guacamole, you'd need just a small amount of rice or corn. 

But if you use shredded chicken instead of beans, you can have more rice or corn. For tofu, which is mostly protein, stick to the regular plate guidelines.

In the PCOS-Friendly Food Formula bonus resource in the PCOS Repair Protocol book, you'll find it easy to follow the PCOS Plate Method. There are lists of suitable foods for each category and some of my favorite PCOS-friendly meal ideas.

Modifying The PCOS Plate Method

Now that you're familiar with the PCOS Plate Method, let's discuss some specific adjustments based on your type of PCOS.

For those with Adrenal, Inflammatory, or Post-Pill PCOS, using the PCOS Plate Method can help manage your symptoms, but it's not the key to addressing your underlying issue. 

Try to follow the guidelines, but if sticking too rigidly to the PCOS Plate Method is stressful, focus more on the Core Treatment outlined for your specific type of PCOS in the rest of this post. 

This Core Treatment is the most crucial step for reversing your particular root cause and should be your main priority in the coming weeks.

Once you're comfortable with your Core Treatment, you can return to the PCOS Plate principles to further support your recovery.

If you have Insulin-Resistant PCOS, the advice in this post, including the PCOS Plate Method, is central to your Core Treatment. 

Along with additional tips provided later, the most effective action you can take for Insulin-Resistant PCOS is to focus on your diet. 

Following the PCOS Repair Breakfast rules and the PCOS Plate Method will significantly enhance your body's response to insulin and help reverse symptoms like hair loss, acne, weight gain, and irregular periods.

FAQs

I’m getting hungry after my meals following the PCOS Plate Method ratio. What should I do?

If you find you are getting hungry, try increasing your healthy fat source and opt for solid forms of fat like avocado, nuts, and seeds rather than oils. 


These are often more satiating because they take up more room in your stomach.

What about sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol? Should I cut these out?

Cutting out foods can lead to feelings of deprivation and decrease the chances of you sticking with your changes. 

I only want you to focus on this if it will truly lead to big changes in your symptoms.

 For now, let’s focus on the changes we’ve covered so far and, if necessary, we can add on another change when we come to it in the next section.

Can I eat fruit?

While fruit is healthy, it contains natural sugars like fructose and glucose. Eating too much fruit, or having it with a lot of starchy carbs, can cause a quick rise in blood sugar. 

This leads to more insulin production, which can worsen insulin resistance.

For those with Adrenal, Inflammatory, or Post-Pill PCOS, you can enjoy fruit in moderation, especially if you pair it with healthy fats or proteins. 

For example, try berries with coconut yogurt, a banana with almond butter, or apple slices with peanut butter. You can also have a serving of fruit with a meal, as outlined in the PCOS Plate Method. 

The protein and fat in the meal help balance the glucose increase.

If you have Insulin-Resistant PCOS, it's more important to watch your carb and sugar intake. 

You can still have fruit, but balance it with your starch consumption. Consider swapping a fruit serving for the starch part of your meal. 

For instance, you might want a fruit dessert after lunch or dinner. In that case, skip the starch in your meal, eat more non-starchy veggies, and then have an apple or banana.

If you want a smaller portion of starch and fruit for dessert, you could halve each. 

Like, half a serving of rice with your main meal and half a banana afterward.

Berries like raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are exceptions. 

They're low in sugar and high in fiber, so you can enjoy them after a meal without cutting back on starch.

I don't recommend completely removing any food from your diet because that can lead to feeling deprived. 

The key is finding ways to still enjoy your favorite foods while keeping a balance. 

This approach makes it easier to stick to this eating style long-term, rather than it being just another diet that doesn't last.

Insulin-Resistant PCOS Core Treatment

Changing what and when you eat, along with adding in some targeted nutritional supplements and finding joyful movement, is the Core Treatment for Insulin-Resistant PCOS. By now, you already know the principles to create insulin-friendly meals. 

Following these principles closely is a key focus to heal your insulin resistance and therefore reverse your PCOS symptoms. 

The Repair Breakfast Principles and PCOS Plate Method (above) are Core Treatment #1 and Core Treatment #2 for Insulin-Resistant PCOS.

Core Treatment #3: Reduce high-dose fructose

Eating a lot of a sugar called fructose can lead to or worsen insulin resistance and increase belly fat. 

Cutting down on fructose, especially in high amounts, is crucial for managing insulin resistance.

High-dose fructose is commonly found in table sugar (used in baking and added to coffee and tea) and high-fructose corn syrup (found in many sodas). 

It's also in some natural sweeteners marketed as "healthy," like coconut sugar, agave, fruit juice, honey, dates, and dried fruits.

Fructose is also in whole fruits, but it doesn't cause insulin resistance like processed sugars. 

That's because the fructose in fruit is lower and comes with fiber and other nutrients that counteract its effects. 

This kind of fructose, found in whole fruits, is low-dose and isn't something to worry about.

SPOTLIGHT: How does high-dose fructose worsen insulin resistance?

When you eat an apple, its fructose is changed into glucose in your small intestine and then stored as energy in your liver. 

The small amount of fructose in an apple, or low-dose fructose, is fine. It can even help improve insulin sensitivity, especially with regular exercise.

But high-dose fructose, like in a bliss ball or a paleo dessert made with dates, is too much for your small intestine to handle. 

Not all of it gets converted to glucose, so it reaches your liver and large intestine still as fructose. 

This can lead to problems like fatty liver, oxidative stress, inflammation, and a higher risk of insulin resistance. 

It also disrupts your microbiome, the good bacteria in your large intestine, worsening insulin resistance.

If you have Insulin-Resistant PCOS, you don't have to give up fruit. 

It's a myth in the PCOS community that you should avoid all fruit. 

While healing insulin resistance, avoid large fruit salads, but a serving of fruit once or twice a day with protein or healthy fat is okay. Yes, even bananas are fine for PCOS!

Another myth is that you need to eliminate all carbs to recover from insulin resistance. When I started my PCOS journey, I was scared of foods like potatoes. 

I avoided carbs at dinner, often leading to overeating desserts made with "natural" sugars like agave syrup or dates. These were high in fructose and made my insulin resistance and PCOS symptoms worse.

I've learned it's better to have some carbs, like gluten-free pasta, potato, or rice, to feel full and avoid needing a big dessert. 

Now, I'm satisfied with just some peppermint tea and a piece of dark chocolate after a meal. Being free from sugar cravings is a great feeling!

Instead of worrying about never eating bananas or potatoes, focus on cutting out desserts and added sugars for the next four weeks. 

This is a good time frame to reverse insulin resistance and eliminate sugar cravings and dependence.

How to break up with sugar

If you feel like you're addicted to sugar, you're not the only one. Insulin resistance can make our brains crave sugar, and it's tough to resist. 

If you find yourself succumbing to these cravings, remember it's not a lack of willpower – it's your hormones at play.

I've experienced intense sugar cravings myself, so I understand how overwhelming they can be.

Keep in mind that intense cravings often fade away within 20-25 minutes. 

Plus, after about a week without sugar, you'll probably find that these cravings vanish completely.

"Once we get your insulin functioning better, you won’t have intense cravings anymore and you’ll find you can easily maintain your energy levels and focus throughout the day."

For the next four weeks, aim to eliminate all sweetened beverages (like sodas and flavored milks), added sugars, and desserts from your diet. 


This is a temporary measure, just for a month, to help reset your blood sugar and insulin levels.


This means avoiding even "natural" sugars found in paleo desserts, bliss balls, and treats made with dried fruit, agave, or coconut sugar. 


Also, steer clear of sweetened yogurts, granola bars, and protein bars. However, you can still have one or two servings of whole fruit with protein or healthy fat.


If you need something sweet, opt for natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit, which don't cause a spike in blood sugar. A square or two of 85% dark chocolate is also fine, as it's low in sugar.


Make sure your meals and snacks are filling, with plenty of protein, to help you stay satisfied and curb sugar cravings. Remember, once your insulin resistance is reversed, the sugar cravings will disappear.


To help you quit sugar more easily, I've prepared a bonus guide that comes with the PCOS Repair Protocol book: "Kick Your Sugar Cravings," with extra tips for this transition.


After four weeks, you can start reintroducing small amounts of sugar. Try having a dessert or sweet treat once or twice a week, and really enjoy the experience. 


Plan when you'll have it and choose something special. Eat mindfully, without distractions, to help reduce the desire for more sugar.


Once your insulin is back to normal, try following the 80/20 rule: eat a balanced, sugar-free diet 80% of the time, and allow yourself small indulgences for special occasions. 


Since having insulin resistance means a higher chance of it returning, finding a sustainable, satisfying way to maintain these habits is key.


Experiment with the 80/20 rule to see what works best for you. 


The goal is to make the PCOS Repair Protocol a lifelong habit, not just a temporary diet. 


This way, you won't feel deprived or unsatisfied, which can lead to abandoning the new eating patterns.

Core Treatment #4: Choose your Meal Times

I generally don't recommend intermittent fasting for PCOS, as skipping breakfast can actually make PCOS symptoms worse by raising cortisol and insulin levels. 

However, a moderate 12-hour fasting period overnight may benefit insulin resistance. This could mean having dinner by 7pm and then breakfast at 7am the next day.

To support your insulin levels, it's best to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. 

So, achieving this 12-hour gap might require you to have dinner earlier or skip late-night snacks.

Remember, this 12-hour window isn't a strict rule. 

Try your best, but don't worry too much about the exact timing. 

Focusing on cutting out sugar for four weeks and adhering to the balanced plate principles is more crucial. 

If that's all you can handle for now, it's a good place to start.

Core Treatment #5: Consider Supplementing for Insulin Resistance

In addition to dietary changes, incorporating one or two specific nutritional supplements can significantly enhance your body’s response to insulin.

A supplement designed for blood sugar stability, like the PCOS Blood Sugar Balance, can improve insulin sensitivity, lessen sugar cravings, and aid in achieving a healthy weight. 

This supplement, which I formulated to work alongside the dietary changes mentioned earlier, contains a potent mix of cinnamon, magnesium, gymnema, and chromium. 

These ingredients are known for their ability to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce cravings for sugar.

Magnesium is crucial since its deficiency can lead to insulin resistance. 

Daily supplementation of magnesium has been shown to improve this condition. 

Chromium, on the other hand, is effective in curbing sugar and carbohydrate cravings, and it helps in reducing excessive food intake, thereby contributing to weight management.

All these beneficial ingredients are included in the PCOS Blood Sugar Balance supplement.

Another supplement worth considering is inositol. 

As discussed before, inositol is a naturally occurring nutrient that has been found to be more effective than Metformin in making cells more responsive to insulin, reducing sugar cravings, restoring regular ovulation, and assisting in weight loss.

We have our own 40:1 Myo to D-Chiro Inositol that is especially formulated for women with PCOS.

Core Treatment #6: Find Joyful Movement

Exercising is key to improving your muscles' response to insulin, which is essential for managing PCOS. 

You might have heard that high-intensity workouts are necessary to reverse PCOS, or maybe you've been told that slow, weight-focused exercises are the best option. 

However, research indicates that any exercise is better than none.

My belief is straightforward: the most effective exercise for PCOS is the one you'll actually enjoy and keep doing. 

While certain exercises might be more efficient at improving insulin resistance, it's more important to find an activity that you love.

We'll explore the ideal types of exercise for PCOS in more detail later. For now, try different forms of movement that feel enjoyable and don't make you constantly check the time. 

We're aiming to develop a lifestyle change that you can sustain for life, not just a short-term fix.

Your exercise could be anything from walking with a friend, gardening, playing with your kids outside, swimming in the sea, or dancing to your favorite tunes. 

The goal is to find an activity that gets you active and sweating, even if it doesn't fit the traditional definition of exercise.

SPOTLIGHT: Shannon’s Life Changing Journey

Shannon joined my group program following her PCOS diagnosis in her early thirties. 

As a teenager, she had extremely painful and heavy periods that would last two weeks and then vanish for several months. 

She also struggled with severe cystic acne on her face, chest, back, and hairline, which significantly impacted her confidence.

In her teens, Shannon was prescribed birth control pills, a medication she continued until she got married and decided to start a family. 

However, after several unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy, a doctor's visit led to her PCOS diagnosis. 

She was given two options: take fertility drugs or return to the pill to lower her risk of endometrial cancer caused by irregular periods.

Unsatisfied with these choices, Shannon enrolled in my program to address her PCOS naturally. Within 12 months, her life transformed dramatically. 

By following the program's protocols, she overcame her insulin resistance. 

Her acne cleared up, her menstrual cycle became a regular 30-day routine, and her periods were pain-free. 

She also learned to enjoy her favorite foods guilt-free while adhering to the Protocol.

During this health recovery journey, Shannon also rediscovered herself. 

She changed her life, separated from her husband, and found a new, incredible partner. 

As of writing this post, she is joyfully expecting a healthy baby, achieved without fertility treatments.

Still having symptoms?

If you've been sticking to the Repair Breakfast Principles, using the PCOS Plate Method for lunch and dinner, following meal timing and low fructose guidelines, but still see signs of insulin resistance after a few weeks, consider this advice.

Try applying the Repair Breakfast Principles to your lunch as well. 

This means opting for a low-starch, high-protein meal for both breakfast and lunch. 

However, it's important to include a serving of gentle starch in your dinner. 

This helps replenish your liver's glycogen (energy) stores during the night.

By doing this, you'll get the benefits of a low-carb diet for managing insulin, while still consuming enough starch to support ovulation, energy production, and good sleep.

Summary: Core Treatments for Insulin-Resistant PCOS

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About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

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