Multiple studies have demonstrated that a novel compound found in buckwheat may be able to help reverse many of the signs and symptoms of PCOS including infertility. This compound - d-chiro-inositol - is available as a nutritional supplement but for those wishing to obtain d-chiro-inositol from food undoubtably the richest food source is a uniquely processed US-made buckwheat product called farinetta.
Farinetta is milled and processed from whole grain buckwheat to extract the parts of the buckwheat seed which are richest in d-chiro-inositol; just 100g of farinetta contains 1371 mg of d-Chiro-Inositol making it possible to easily consume the amounts of d-chiro-inositol which have been used successfully in studies.
The primary study on d-chiro-inositol is a 1999 a placebo controlled study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study demonstrated that when 1200 mg of d-chiro-inositol was given daily to 22 obese women with PCOS for 6-8 weeks they experienced multiple changes in their PCOS symptoms.
Compared to the women taking a placebo the treatment group demonstrated; improvements in their insulin curves after a glucose challenge, decreased free testosterone, decreased triglycerides, decreased blood pressure and nineteen of the twenty two women ovulated compared to only six in the placebo group. The researchers concluded that:
"d-Chiro-inositol increases the action of insulin in patients with the polycystic ovary syndrome, thereby improving ovulatory function and decreasing serum androgen concentrations, blood pressure, and plasma triglyceride concentrations."
D-chiro-inositol can be made within our bodies from other forms of inositol but studies have shown that diabetic women especially may be unable to convert dietary sources of inositol to d-chiro-inositol. This physiological blip may cause insulin dysregulation and PCOS-like symptoms. It is unclear whether women with PCOS are similarly unable to make this conversion effectively because studies on myo-inositol have been very favorable, this would seem to indicate that many PCOS women can convert other sources of inositol such as myo-inositol to d-chiro-inositol. Both kinds of inositol have shown impressive results but if you are diabetic it is possible that d-chiro-inositol maybe my be more effective.
Buckwheat farinetta is an extremely rich source of other nutrients too. According to the US manufacturer - Minn-Dak Growers Ltd - 100 mg of farinetta contains a whopping:
641 mg of magnesium
1594 mg potassium
8.9 mg zinc
9.9 mg iron
If you are counting calories 100 mg of farinetta contains; 376 calories, 16.6 g fiber, 36.8 g of protein and 51.7 g of carbs. Buckwheat is also a very rich source of a bioflavenoid - rutin - which is used widely in Europe for promoting healthy veins and circulation when varicose veins are an issue. Buckwheat is also very high in polyphenols which are very powerful antioxidants and it is though to be all-round an extremely nourishing food.
Buckwheat flour and groats also contain d-chiro-inositol but at a far lower level than farinetta. If you want to get results, replicating the dose of d-chiro-inositol used in the studies with a nutritional supplement or farinetta may be more practical that eating the extreme amounts of other buckwheat products that you would need to obtain similar amounts of d-chiro-inositol.
This article is purely for informational and educational use and is not intended to substitute for medical diagnosis and advice or dietetic for which you should consult a physician or dietitian.
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(1) Ovulatory and Metabolic Effects of d-Chiro-Inositol in the Polycystic Ovary SyndromeJohn E. Nestler, M.D., Daniela J. Jakubowicz, M.D., Paula Reamer, M.A., Ronald D. Gunn, M.S., and Geoffrey Allan, Ph.D. N Engl J Med 1999; 340:1314-1320April 29, 1999