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Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Infertility | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This paper studied the effects of folate on indicators of inflammation and oxidative stress in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. 

Some background

Poylcystic ovarian syndrome occurse when cysts (capsules, typically filled with liquid) grow around the ovaries due to the woman's hormones being out of balance. It is associated with obesity, inflammation (redness, warmth and swelling), oxidative stress (condition that damages cells) and insulin resistance. These can lead to worse health outcomes.

Folate is a vitamin that helps cells to work. Studies have found that folate supplements result in improved metabolism, reduced inflammation and reduced oxidative stress. 

Methods & findings

Overweight or obese women with polycystic ovarian syndrome were studied. All patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups. 23 patients in group 1 received 1mg/day of folate supplements. 23 patients in group 2 received 5mg/day of folate supplements. 23 patients in group 3 received a placebo (a drug that has no therapeutic effect given for the purpose of comparison). Information about patient's diet and physical activity were recorded at weeks 2, 4 and 6. All patients' weight and body mass index (BMI) were measured and blood samples were taken.

Compared to other patients, patients who received 5mg/d of folate had a reduced levels of proteins that are associated with cell injury. Through measurement of different proteins in the blood, folate was also found to reduce inflammation. Additionally, there was an increase of proteins in these patients that prevent damage to cells. In patients who received 1mg/d of folate, there was a decreased level of inflammation compared to patients who did not receive folate. 

The bottom line

The authors concluded that 5mg/d of folate supplementation had positive effects on inflammation and indicators of cell damage in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. 

The fine print

This was a short term study. Longer term studies are warranted. 

What’s next?

Talk to your doctor about receiving folate supplementation.

Published By :

Clinical Endocrinology

Date :

Mar 15, 2014

Original Title :

The effects of folate supplementation on inflammatory factors and biomarkers of oxidative stress in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.

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