If you have PCOS, symptoms like acne, hair loss (hirsutism), and irregular periods are likely the result of hormonal imbalance. One way to help alleviate these symptoms may be consuming more zinc.
Zinc supplementation has been demonstrated to successfully lower excess testosterone levels, aiding hirsutism and androgenic alopecia symptoms in 8 weeks with daily dosage of 50mg zinc supplementation.
How Much Zinc Do You Need?
Zinc is one of the lesser-known trace minerals, yet is essential to many body functions. Zinc’s role includes hormone production, regulation of blood sugar and insulin levels, immune boosting functions and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Furthermore, low zinc levels could be to blame for symptoms like cystic acne or irregular periods that arise with PCOS.
Adults need 8mg of zinc daily, yet most don’t get this amount through diet alone. This is partly because most people don’t consume enough whole foods – particularly those following a plant-based diet, since plants contain phytates which interfere with our bodies absorbing iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium from plants; furthermore those living with PCOS may be at a greater risk due to disrupted metabolism, higher insulin resistance and oxidative stress which makes absorption even harder for our bodies.
One study demonstrated that zinc supplementation reduced insulin and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels among women with PCOS. Furthermore, it improved period pain and premenstrual mood symptoms as well as period pain relief. Zinc is known for being anti-inflammatory; therefore it helps soothe inflammation associated with PCOS that leads to period pain and endometriosis symptoms.
Zinc supplementation can also assist with PCOS women suffering from high androgen levels which lead to severe acne outbreaks. A study concluded that taking 50mg doses of zinc helped decrease acne severity while simultaneously decreasing testosterone levels in PCOS women.
Zinc plays an essential role in thyroid function and has been proven to regulate T4 production. Iodine needed for making T4 comes from zinc; without enough of it, production will decrease drastically. You can get enough zinc from diet alone by including meat, poultry, seafood and legumes with whole grains as part of your meals – however we suggest supplementation such as S’moo which has helped women with PCOS balance their hormones naturally for years.
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
Zinc is an essential mineral essential to human life that plays an integral part in over 100 chemical reactions, from cell formation and growth to hormone regulation, metabolization of cholesterol and glucose, immune function support and wound healing. Zinc’s abundance plays a key role in our wellbeing – its benefits extend from skin and hair health, through hormone balance regulation to wound healing and immune support.
Zinc deficiency affects many people worldwide. Diet may not meet requirements in regions with diets rich in phytates (a compound that reduces zinc absorption). Pregnant and breastfeeding women require higher zinc intake; chronic diarrhea and certain medications like penicillamine may lead to deficiency as can certain antibiotics and some other antibiotics; additionally a rare hereditary condition called Acrodermatitis Enteropathica may prevent zinc absorption because its defective gene SLC39A4 codes for its transporter transporter which codes for transporter is defective.
Early symptoms of deficiency in zinc include loss of appetite, slower child growth and development, reduced sense of taste and smell, rashes and weakness; in severe cases it can even cause anemia and diarrheal disease – zinc supplements have been proven to help improve these symptoms and treat them more effectively.
Studies on PCOS and zinc
Studies show a correlation between PCOS and low levels of zinc, leading to irregular menstrual cycles or even ananovulation (complete failure to ovulate). Zinc for PCOS helps balance hormone levels and manage your androgen production so it can provide relief from hirsutism (excessive hair growth), skin issues and weight issues.
Women living with PCOS often have increased zinc requirements, and supplementation may be beneficial in managing symptoms. One study demonstrated that taking 50 mg of elemental zinc daily helped with improving hirsutism while simultaneously controlling testosterone levels and lowering lipid levels, such as total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Furthermore, increasing insulin sensitivity has proven essential in decreasing blood sugar and metabolic syndrome symptoms (9)
Food Sources of Zinc
Micronutrients like zinc often get less attention when it comes to healthy eating than macronutrients such as protein, fat and carbohydrates due to difficulty meeting their requirements through food alone – this may be because certain foods block its absorption or prevent absorption altogether.
Zinc is essential in producing insulin and androgen hormones, leading to research showing lower circulating zinc levels among women with PCOS than without it (2). Zinc also plays an essential role in insulin synthesis, release, and action, making it a crucial treatment tool against the insulin resistance seen in PCOS (3).
Zinc plays an essential role in insulin regulation, but it also plays an essential part in treating many symptoms associated with PCOS such as hirsutism (excess hair) and acne. Zinc works as an anti-androgen to lower androgens levels in the body that contribute to these conditions; additionally it acts as an antioxidant, helping decrease inflammation which is often present with PCOS (4).
Adults are recommended to consume 8 milligrams of zinc daily (5); this dosage should be adequate for most individuals, though pregnant and breastfeeding women, those on vegetarian/vegan diets, those living with certain liver conditions as well as elderly individuals are at greater risk of deficiency. Methotrexate medication used for Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as certain thiazide diuretics like chlorthalidone (Hygroton and Thalitone) or hydrochlorothiazide (Esidrix or HydroDIURIL) can interfere with zinc absorption; methotrexate can affect absorption while certain drugs such as methotrexate (Rheumatoid Arthritis medication) can also interfere with absorption including hydrochlorothiazide (Esidrix or HydroDIURIL).
Diet is the ideal way to ensure adequate zinc intake; eating meats, dairy products, whole grains, fruits and vegetables provides essential sources of this mineral. Foods rich in phytates may prevent its absorption into your system (6) while supplements may also be taken; take these alongside meals or shortly afterwards in order to prevent digestive upset from taking them on an empty stomach.
PCOS is a condition that results in hormonal imbalance, making it important to address them naturally in order to reduce symptoms like acne, hirsutism (excess hair growth) and irregular periods. Diet and supplements may help alleviate some symptoms associated with PCOS; specifically zinc has proven particularly helpful as an insulin resistance remedy; regulate lipid metabolism; promote healthy hair and skin conditions as well as act as both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory solutions in the body.
Zinc can be found in many foods, with animal sources providing more efficient absorption. You should be able to obtain enough zinc through diet alone; however if you’re struggling to meet daily requirements through this route, supplementation of 30-40mg zinc could be useful.
Zinc deficiency often results in fatigue. Furthermore, zinc supplements have been found to aid fertility for those living with PCOS by stimulating ovulation and improving sperm quality; furthermore zinc has also been discovered as an effective natural treatment for hirsutism due to its effect on androgens which act as male sexual hormones and by helping with alopecia relief as well as regularizing menstrual cycles.
Diet is certainly one of the best ways to treat PCOS, but recent research is also supporting specific supplements that may help balance hormones more efficiently. Zinc can be an especially helpful choice in treating symptoms associated with PCOS while possibly even helping prevent future episodes altogether.
Before trying any new supplements, especially if you have other medical conditions. Furthermore, consulting with a Registered Dietitian before making nutritional changes may help find an individualized plan to suit your specific needs.