Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder which causes women to produce higher levels of the hormone testosterone than normal. This hormonal imbalance can result in facial hair growth, acne, menstrual cycle irregularities, infertility, and metabolic-related issues such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol [1]. According to the Office on Women’s Health, PCOS may affect as many as 1 in 10 women of childbearing age [2]. 

Traditionally, women are treated with oral contraceptives containing the synthetic versions of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, or compounds known to block testosterone production.  However, these approaches may not be suitable for women, especially those pursuing pregnancy.  A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that resveratrol, a chemical compound found in red wine, may be effective at reducing testosterone levels in women with PCOS [3]. 

The study analyzed the hormonal and metabolic profiles of women who were given resveratrol or a placebo pill for three months. The study authors found that the women who took resveratrol had a significant decrease in testosterone and dehydroepiandroesterone, a molecule from which sex hormones are derived from. These results indicate that resveratrol may be a possible treatment for PCOS due to its testosterone-lowering properties. However, the present study only had a small number of participants, and additional clinical trials would be necessary to confirm its therapeutic potential. 

For more information on PCOS, the National Institutes of Health has compiled an excellent list of resources which can be found here: NIH - PCOS.    

If you have been diagnosed with PCOS and are interested in participating in clinical research, click here for more information. 

Sources: 

1. UptoDate: “Epidemiology and pathogenesis of the polycystic ovary syndrome in adults.”
2. Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
3. Banaszewska et al., J Clin Endo Metab. 2016: Epub ahead of print. 

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