A new study just released on gut microbiome and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) showed some fascinating results: it showed that women with PCOS have fewer types of gut bacteria AND very different microbiomes than women who don’t have the condition.
This study concluded that this effect was due to testosterone, rather than metabolic issues or insulin resistance. The problem with these findings is that the testing for insulin resistance wasn’t sufficient to reach this conclusion. Why? Because we have vast amounts of research showing that insulin resistance is linked to changes in our microbiome.
The study included 163 women: 48 of them were healthy, 72 were formally diagnosed with PCOS, and 42 had polycystic ovary morphology (PCOM). The women in the PCOM group have ovarian cysts that LOOK LIKE PCOS-type cysts, but they didn’t meet the other criteria of PCOS required for the study.
Many other studies have proven that women with PCOS have fewer types of gut microbes that those without it. Other studies have confirmed that metabolic conditions are also linked with changes in the microbiome.
Is The Microbiome Different Because of Testosterone? Or Insulin Resistance?
One of the main goals of this study was to determine whether the difference in the women’s microbiome was related to insulin resistance, or if it was due to the increased testosterone levels that are found in PCOS.
It should be noted here that the women in the PCOM study group were leaner than the ones with PCOS, and even a little leaner overall than the control group women.
This group of women (PCOM) did
have PCOS-like qualities, namely fewer periods per year, more facial hair (hirsutism) and far more variation in their cycles than the “healthy” women, as well as the PCOS-like cysts on their ovaries. As such, the women being studied may have a milder form of PCOS, possibly due to the fact that they were lean.
To learn more about this study, and the links between lean PCOS, microbiome, testosterone levels, and insulin resistance, read the full blog post on the drfionand.com blog here.