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  • Writer's pictureDr. H. Singh, ND

Why Inflammation may be Causing your Depression with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

The association between polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with mental health disorders has become evident with research over the years, and newer studies are looking to determine the link between the two conditions. Newer research is looking at the role of various inflammatory markers and how they may be impacting mood.

With PCOS, common hormonal imbalances include lower progesterone, elevated androgen hormones, dysregulation of pituitary hormone production, decreasing insulin sensitivity and poor blood sugar control. While many of these hormonal imbalances on their own may contribute to mood disorders, it has been observed that patients with PCOS seem to have higher levels of particular inflammatory markers: TNF-a and IL-6.

Increased adiposity contributes to an increase in the production TNF-a, where patients with a higher body-mass-index (BMI) seem to have elevated levels of this inflammatory marker. Increased levels of IL-6 may also contribute to poor insulin sensitivity.

It is important to mention that the presence of elevated inflammatory markers appears to be present in non-obese patients with PCOS as well, not just patients diagnosed with obesity. Therefore it is important to look at the role of inflammation in affecting mood in patients with PCOS regardless of BMI.

Increased inflammation is associated with an increase in the production of Glutamate in the nervous system, which decreases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), where both of these changes are correlated with an increased risk of depression scores (as measured by the beck depression index).

It is important for patients diagnosed with PCOS to look at strategies to help support lower levels of inflammation through diet, lifestyle, and other evidence-based interventions.


  1. Kirmizi, D. A., Baser, E., Onat, T., Caltekin, M. D., Yalvac, E. S., Kara, M., & Gocmen, A. Y. (2020). Sexual function and depression in polycystic ovary syndrome: Is it associated with inflammation and neuromodulators? Neuropeptides, 84, 102099.

This article 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 healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.

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