Can omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improve metabolic profile in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in females of reproductive age with a prevalence of 6–20%. The main characteristics of polycystic ovary syndrome are chronic anovulation with or without menstrual cycle disturbances, hyperandrogenism and ultrasound evidence of morphologically polycystic ovaries. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have an increased risk of insulin resistance, hyperinsulinaemia, glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia (cholesterol and triglycerides), subclinical atherosclerosis, endothelial and vascular dysfunction, altered adipokines secretion, hirsutism, acne, infertility, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. There appears to be a relationship between insulin resistance and androgen excess in polycystic ovary syndrome.

A total of 88 patients (between 25 and 40 years of age) with polycystic ovary syndrome (diagnosis based on the NIH criteria of PCOS) were included in the study.

After 6 months, omega-3 supplementation (EPA 360 mg, DHA 240 mg per day) significantly improved the lipid profile as compared to the control group (increased high-density lipoprotein levels and decreased low-density lipoprotein, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels). Waist circumference was significantly lower in the omega-3 group as compared to controls. The interval between periods in omega-3 was significantly shorter than controls

As polycystic ovary syndrome is a multifactorial condition, further research is suggested to investigate the effects of herbal medicines, diets, and nutrients on modifying the metabolic profile of polycystic ovary syndrome.

McEwen BJ, Can omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improve metabolic profile in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)? Advances in Integrative Medicine, Volume 4, Issue 2, August 2017, Pages 82–83.