Keto for PCOS: Does It Work?

Should you reside with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you might be questioning if food regimen modifications may help to alleviate a few of your signs.

Like sort 2 diabetes, PCOS is characterised by insulin resistance ⁠— the place your physique doesn’t reply appropriately to the hormone insulin, which helps to control blood sugar ranges and fats storage (1).

Because the low carb, excessive fats keto food regimen is commonly touted as a means to enhance insulin resistance for folks with sort 2 diabetes, it could additionally present some advantages for folks with PCOS (2).

This text critiques the advantages and drawbacks of a keto food regimen for PCOS signs.

PCOS is a standard hormonal situation that’s thought to have an effect on one in ten girls of their childbearing years. It impacts hormone ranges and metabolism and stays a significant explanation for infertility in girls. Nevertheless, the situation is treatable with correct medical care (3).

The precise explanation for PCOS is unknown, but it surely’s thought that plenty of elements could contribute.

These embrace low grade irritation and an imbalance of hormones akin to insulin and testosterone. Though girls naturally create and require testosterone, girls with PCOS could have ranges which are greater than anticipated (3, 4).

Some signs of PCOS embrace (3):

  • Weight problems, weight acquire, or issue shedding weight
  • Extreme physique hair, akin to on the face or chin
  • Irregular durations or no interval
  • Thinning hair
  • Pores and skin modifications, like pimples, darkish spots, or pores and skin tags

PCOS is often managed by way of a mix of medicines and life-style modifications. Usually, weight reduction plans are beneficial for girls with PCOS and weight problems, since it could assist to enhance insulin resistance and promote hormonal stability (5).


PCOS is a situation attributable to hormonal imbalances in girls. It could trigger infertility, irregular durations, or weight acquire. You may handle the situation by way of drugs and life-style modifications.

On the low carb excessive fats keto food regimen, your carb consumption is considerably decreased, which forces the physique right into a state of ketosis ⁠— the place you burn fats slightly than carbs for vitality.

On a keto food regimen, most individuals scale back their carb consumption to lower than 50 grams of whole carbs per day (6, 7).

Researchers have discovered that keto diets could enhance insulin sensitivity, assist stability starvation hormones, and promote weight reduction in folks with weight problems and kind 2 diabetes.

A handful of current research have investigated the consequences of keto diets on PCOS, too (6).

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is believed to contribute to the event of PCOS. The hormone insulin helps regulate blood sugar ranges by shuttling glucose from the blood into the cells, the place it may be used for vitality or saved for later use (8).

Nevertheless, folks with insulin resistance are likely to have elevated blood sugar ranges and elevated insulin ranges as a result of their physique compensates for the insulin resistance by producing extra insulin (9).

Insulin resistance happens when your cells cease responding appropriately to insulin, which will increase blood sugar ranges and ends in the pancreas making extra insulin (10).

As a result of insulin can also be accountable for fats storage, excessive insulin ranges and insulin resistance are additionally related to weight acquire and weight problems. When left unmanaged, insulin resistance might also result in sort 2 diabetes.

Because the keto food regimen could assist to enhance insulin sensitivity, it could be helpful for PCOS administration (9, 11).

In a 12-week examine of 14 girls with PCOS, a keto food regimen excessive in plant meals (like low carb veggies) resulted in considerably decrease blood sugar and insulin ranges, in addition to higher insulin resistance scores ⁠— indicating greater insulin sensitivity (12).

In one other examine of 18 girls with PCOS, liver dysfunction, and weight problems, individuals acquired both standard prescription drugs or consumed a ketogenic food regimen for 12 weeks.

Researchers discovered that the keto group skilled important enhancements in blood sugar ranges, which suggests an enchancment in insulin sensitivity ⁠— though this examine didn’t measure insulin or insulin resistance scores (13).

Lastly, a 45-day examine of 17 girls with weight problems and PCOS discovered {that a} keto food regimen decreased common blood sugar ranges by 10 mg/dL and imply insulin ranges by practically 13 micro-IU/mL. Insulin resistance scores, which mirror elevated insulin sensitivity, additionally improved (14).

In brief, current analysis confirms {that a} ketogenic food regimen could considerably enhance PCOS signs by way of efficient insulin regulation.

Different results

These identical research additionally famous important enhancements in weight, hormone ranges, liver perform, blood lipids, menstrual regularity, and fertility.

In one of many 12-week research on a plant-food wealthy keto food regimen, individuals misplaced a mean of practically 21 kilos (9 kg). Moreover, they skilled important enhancements in triglyceride and levels of cholesterol, together with a discount in testosterone (12).

Within the 12-week examine in PCOS and liver perform in girls with weight problems, 6 of the 7 individuals within the keto food regimen group had no indicators of fatty liver illness by the tip of the examine. Moreover, these individuals skilled important weight reduction (13).

In a 45-day examine, individuals misplaced a mean of 21 kilos (9 kg) and considerably decreased their fats mass and waist-hip ratio. Moreover, their testosterone, triglyceride, whole ldl cholesterol, and LDL (dangerous) ldl cholesterol dropped whereas their HDL (good) ldl cholesterol elevated (14).

What’s extra, over the course of this examine , 5 of the 17 individuals had their interval return after not having had one for a number of years, 12 girls reported improved regularity of their interval, and 5 girls grew to become pregnant after many unsuccessful prior makes an attempt (14).

Nevertheless, bigger research with longer durations are wanted to study extra concerning the long-term results of keto on PCOS.


Some small research point out that the keto food regimen could assist with PCOS by enhancing insulin resistance, selling weight reduction, balancing hormones, and selling common menstruation.

There could also be some downsides or challenges to the keto food regimen for PCOS.

In some research, researchers have discovered that following a keto food regimen will increase ldl cholesterol ranges. This can be a priority for some folks, particularly those that have already got excessive levels of cholesterol (15, 16, 17).

Moreover, keto diets show restrictive, so they could be troublesome for many individuals to stay to. On keto, you’ll have to keep away from bread, pasta, rice, cereals, potatoes, most fruits, and different meals excessive in sugar or carbs.

Should you resolve to strive keto to handle your PCOS, make sure to work carefully together with your healthcare supplier to allow them to carefully monitor your progress.

A much less restrictive low carb food regimen could provide comparable advantages for PCOS whereas being simpler to undertake long-term than a strict keto food regimen. Actually, comparable outcomes have been noticed utilizing much less restrictive dietary patterns, like a low-carb Mediterranean food regimen (18).


The keto food regimen could considerably improve your levels of cholesterol. It’s additionally extraordinarily restrictive and could also be troublesome to comply with long-term. A much less restrictive low carb strategy could provide comparable advantages, although.

As a result of PCOS is characterised by insulin resistance, the keto food regimen could assist with PCOS administration as a result of it could enhance your insulin sensitivity.

Moreover, researchers have discovered that the keto food regimen helps girls with PCOS drop some weight, enhance their stability of intercourse hormones, scale back triglyceride and levels of cholesterol, normalize their menstrual cycles, and enhance their fertility.

Nevertheless, keto stays a really restrictive food regimen for many life, so biking on and off keto may very well make your physique extra delicate to high-carb meals.

Moreover, extra analysis on the consequences of keto on PCOS is required.

Regardless, adopting a lower-carb consuming sample you can follow for all times could present some advantages for PCOS administration.


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