First things first: If you are on any medication, I always advise to please seek the advice of a medical practitioner before trying a new herbal supplement
I’ve had a staggering amount of messages from prospective customers with PCOS wondering if Elle Sera is for them. I also have a great deal of customers, who take the golden pills already and pleasingly report on how it’s lessening the symptoms of their PCOS... but how and why?
Let's start from the top, Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome known as PCOS impacts a staggering 1 in 10 women and it’s one of the most common hormonal imbalance issues amongst females of a child-bearing age.
From hair on the face, to painful acne, a thinning of the hair, fatigue, low moods and gaining weight, the symptoms of PCOS are outwardly physical as well as internally crippling. This can have a huge effect on the appearance and mental wellness of a female suffering from PCOS.
Then there are the more serious issues with fertility, pelvic discomfort, period pain, an unusual menstrual cycle pattern and high blood pressure, which can all emerge as side effects to these hormonal imbalances.
Medications are available on the market which can help take care of some of the PCOS symptoms, however, these can come with their own set of side effects.
The food on your plate can have a huge effect on your physiology and huge impact on you health. By switching a few things up at meal times and enjoying an active lifestyle, you can help restore a little bit of normalcy in the way ovaries function and control these fluid-filled cysts.
I’m a huge advocate of diet and lifestyle changes to help with the symptoms, but if I wrote an email regarding that - we would be here all night, so I will save that for some Instagram content.
Research and studies are still unclear on the causes of PCOS. They are multi-layered and complicated, but insulin resistance and hormone regulation are key critical factors.
Women with PCOS find that their body can’t regulate insulin very well. This can then cause a build up and cause disruption to hormone levels, their menstrual cycle and their moods.
But today I’m only focussing on adaptogen herbs.
Adaptogens have been shown to aid your body in balancing these hormones and some adaptogen herbs have been shown to ease other symptoms of PCOS, like irregular periods.
The dominant ingredient in Elle Sera - The Empowerment Pill is Maca extract, while the second is Tribulus Terrestris. These are two fantastic adaptogenic herbs which have been shown in studies to have beneficial and positive effects on some of the symptoms of PCOS.
Maca has really gathered pace in recent years, especially in the field of hormonal health and Maca extract now appears in conversations surrounding polycystic ovarian syndrome.
According to recent studies and research, it's probably right that it's entering these conversations.
Maca has been used for thousands of years. It’s nutritional value is high and so it’s said, is it’s medicinal value. Furthermore, unlike a medicine, it is pretty much side effect free and is extremely unlikely to cause any serious harm if you have too much of it.
It’s absolutely one of my favourite herbal ingredients because of all the reported benefits of Maca. Take a look at this list;
- Can help with stress reduction and protection
- Can aid sleep
- Can help quicker injury recovery
- Can help eliminate hormonal problems in women
- Can help increase brain function leading to better mental clarity and perception
- Can help lower high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, increase in energy levels
- Can increase metabolism, may help with weight loss
- Can improve sex drive and helps erectile dysfunction
- Can reduce the risk of developing diabetes
- May ease symptoms of arthritis and joint pain
- May improve workout performance, endurance, stamina, strength and muscle gain
But how does Maca help with PCOS?
I'll keep it brief but Maca is thought to work on the hypothalamus an d pituitary gland, these gland controls many of your body functions. This is considered, according to the Whole World Botanicals Report, to be through the plant sterols Maca produces, which stimulate the endocrine system.
Within the Report it also states that these sterols improve the pituitary which also controls the adrenal glands, ovaries and thyroid. These glands also control the menstrual cycle and stimulation of the ovaries. By helping these function better, it can help normalise your cycles and minimise the effects of PCOS
Like I said, Maca is an adaptogen. This means that it helps to bring balance or homeostasis to the body, neither stimulating it or stressing it. So, if your hypothalamus, or pituitary are a little slow, Maca will give it a boost and if it is in overdrive, Maca will help to calm it down. Same with your adrenal glands, this is why it’s said to help lower your cortisol levels and particularly when the body over or under-produces hormones.
Ultimately, if the endocrine system (your hormonal system) is functioning well, particularly the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands, then the effects of PCOS can be lessened and that's the goal ladies!
Tribulus Terrestris is another powerhouse adaptogen involved in Elle Sera. Like the Maca, it’s also an adaptogen and an ingredient which has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of conditions. It’s a fruit-bearing plant found in many climates and regions. It has the ability to grow in dry and difficult climates, making it one of the most robust adaptogenic plants on the planet.
This adaptogen works similarly to Maca, in that it can help support hormonal health, but there’s been some very interesting findings on fertility and ovulation for PCOS sufferers.
It has demonstrated the ability to increase follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels and improve ovulation rates in women with PCOS. The authors of a study linked here chose to use Tribulus terrestris because past research revealed that consumption of this herb leads to a temporary, but significant, rise in serum follicle stimulating hormones levels. This is extremely important if you are struggling with fertility.
Now, I'm well aware there are limitations with this next sentence and more research needs to be done, because a study with 8 women is not large enough for it to be conclusive.
But in a very small study, of eight healthy women, the results were promising. It showed that their FHS levels increased from 11 to 17.75 mIU/ml after using a 750 mg dose of Tribulus. When the herb was taken away from them after the study, their FSH levels returned to normal.
A study with healthy female Wistar rats has also been done with promising findings of linked here.
Another study of 148 women who suffered from infertility caused by anovulation compared the effects of Tribulus with certain medications. Ovulation was at 60 percent with Tribulus, and only 24 percent with medication Cyclofenil.
If you are healthy and looking for more PCOS natural treatments for your PCOS-induced fertility issues, it may be a good idea to discuss this option with your healthcare provider. This applies especially if you’ve been trying many different conventional treatments and medications without much improvement.
Most of my customers with PCOS, struggle with the weight gain component of the condition but many of them have told me they are losing weight without doing much else.
I looked into a possible reason and found a 2016 study by Samani et al found that 1,000 mg of Tribulus terrestris taken daily for 3 months resulted in lower blood glucose, cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein levels in women with type 2 diabetes.
Given these findings, it’s reasonable to suspect that the properties found in Tribulus and therefore Elle Sera may help manage metabolism and weight gain component of PCOS.
The outcomes of this study also highlight the benefits of using herbal medicine in conjunction with foundational lifestyle modifications for the treatment of PCOS. The significant reduction in cycle length observed in many of my PCOS customers and the studies I’ve read, is extremely promising. While continued use, beyond 3 months, may result in even greater improvement.
So, not only can Tribulus Terrestris support healthy menstruation, it may also decrease the number of ovarian cysts - take a look at the study.
From speaking to the many Elle Sera customers with PCOS, many women have reported improved energy levels, better sleep, less painful periods and a more harmonious menstrual cycle. Do you suffer with PCOS and take Elle Sera? Get in touch and let me know how you are getting on.
And let’s not forget about those hormone disruptors in the first place…anyone suffering with PCOS, should try and limit or avoid endocrine disruptors.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals or ingredients that interfere with or block your body’s natural hormonal reactions.
Some endocrine disruptors mimic female and male sex hormones, causing confusion in your reproductive system. This can increase your risk of PCOS symptoms.
They’re found in canned foods, soaps, and makeup. Common endocrine disruptors include: phthalates, pesticides, BPA, glycol ethers.
This is why your supplements come in a lovely shiny, brass, golden decanter! Ditch the plastics.