How Inflammation and Oxidative Stress may contribute to Poor Ovarian Health (Primary Ovarian Insuffi
Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) (previously known as premature ovarian failure) is a multifaceted condition in that there are multiple factors that can contribute to its development and progression. One of the biggest risk factors for this condition is genetics. A 1st degree relative of a Women with this condition has about a 10-15% chance of developing POI. Autoimmune conditions that can damage the ovary, certain viral infections, toxins, certain medications, toxins and environmental factors are among other risk factors that can contribute to the development of POI .
POI is diagnosed when hormone markers reach levels that suggest a transition in to menopause but the Women is less than 40 years of age. The most common sign is the absence of a menstrual cycle for longer than 4 months. It is a condition that will affect approximately 1 in every 100 Women under the age of 40, and it can have a strong negative impact on Fertility as the follicles (eggs) are unable to develop to their full size and their development process is accelerated, leading to an early depletion of the reserve of follicles in the ovary.
However, in about 1/2 of the Women diagnosed with POI, some ovarian function remains. An approximated 10% of Women with POI can conceive and give birth after being diagnosed with POI.
As researchers try and determine more precisely the exact causes that can contribute to the development of POI, a recent published study examined the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in the development of POI. They found in a group of Women diagnosed with POI, the inflammatory and oxidative stress in the body was significantly higher than Women of the same age without the diagnosis. The researchers determined that low-grade and chronic inflammation can play a significant part in the development of this condition. Previous studies also demonstrated that Women with POI may be at a higher risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, possibly from the increased inflammation and oxidative stress.
Another study found that the use of Coenzyme Q10 (a potent antioxidant and mitochondrial function stimulant) was able to help improve embryo quality in Women with POI.
So how does Inflammation and Oxidative Stress reduce Ovarian Health?
The Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) can damage Mitochondrial (the cellular organ responsible for energy production) DNA and impair DNA repair. This can lead to decreased quality eggs.
How to Test for Systemic Inflammation?
The use of a very cost-effective blood test, known as, Neutrophil to Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR) is what the researchers used and recommended to identify patients with chronic low-grade inflammation. It measures the concentration of various immune cells and when the ratio is pushed due to higher amounts of neutrophils, it is an indicator that the elevated inflammatory cells/cytokines may induce damage to the follicular mitochondria.
1. Ağaçayak, E., Görük, N. Y., Küsen, H., Tunç, S. Y., Başaranoğlu, S., Içen, M. S., . . . Gül, T. (2016). Role of inflammation and oxidative stress in the etiology of primary ovarian insufficiency. Journal of Turkish Society of Obstetric and Gynecology, 13(3), 109-115. doi:10.4274/tjod.00334
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 or Primary Care Provider.