Watching Patients successfully manage symptoms of their Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome diagnosis (and its comorbidities) is one of the incredible experiences for me as a healthcare provider for two reasons: seeing Patients become empowered over their condition (after years of feeling helpless in managing PCOS) and finding alternative treatments that suit Patient preferences and needs.
I have never truly agreed with the lack of options that Patients with PCOS are provided for treatment. From what I have observed over thousands of consultations is that Patients are told to do nothing regarding their PCOS unless they are ready to conceive or consider a very limited number of treatment options that, in many cases, do not fit their personal preferences due to adverse reactions or for other personal reasons. I have yet to see a Patient come in to our office with PCOS that received detailed evidence based guidance on how they can improve symptom management and quality of life.
Wholistic Approach is Missing in PCOS Care:
Many PCOS Patients are only provided care that is limited to reproductive health or symptoms. This tunnel vision that only addresses a limited subset of symptoms associated with PCOS neglects many of the symptoms that can have a negative and severe impact on quality of life.
For example, due to chronic low grade inflammation, insulin resistance and increased oxidative stress PCOS is associated with elevated risk for hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, mood disorders, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, disorders of the digestive system, risk of miscarriage, thyroid disorders, neurological disorders, periodontal disease, cardiometabolic disorders and kidney disease. I will often see young Patients in their 20's with severe health issues stemming from their PCOS that were not previously identified, let alone treated.
Selenium and PCOS:
Selenium is an essential mineral that is needed for a variety of physiological functions. From supporting antioxidant status, its role in supporting thyroid health, immune health, cardiovascular health and much more.
A recently published review that included seven clinical trials found that supplementing with selenium improved insulin sensitivity, increased antioxidant capacity, helped lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels and reduced fasting plasma glucose levels compared to Patients with PCOS that used placebo.
In my experience, selenium as a monotherapy is insufficient to treat the complex issues associated with PCOS, but is often included as a valuable component to a much more comprehensive treatment plan. However, I believe this study is a perfect example of how some simple and straightforward treatments could support Patients in managing PCOS symptoms. There are many published studies which have covered several additional therapeutic treatment options with demonstrated efficacy in managing symptoms of PCOS. I am very passionate about sharing studies like this because information like this can help inform Patients that additional treatment options exist and may suit their needs and preferences. At the end of the day, the goal is to support informed and Patient-driven decision making.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Selenium:
The RDA refers to the average daily intake of a nutrient that will meet all nutritional requirements of almost all healthy individuals. The RDA for selenium is 55 micrograms per day. It is important to speak to a Healthcare Provider before supplementing with any amount of selenium as it may be contraindicated with certain health conditions and supplements. Excessive selenium consumption may be harmful. Discuss with your healthcare provider pros and cons of supplementation, if it is required or not for you depending on your health conditions and review interactions and contraindications prior to taking any supplement.
This article is being shared as educational content and is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healthcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance and supervision.