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PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome is a lifestyle disease that is becoming a growing cause of concern around the world. In India, it affects 1 out of every 5 women, with urban women being at a higher risk of it, according to a nationwide PCOS survey by OZiva.
Women suffering from PCOS have increased levels of testosterone in their bodies which prevents the ovaries from functioning normally, leading to symptoms such as irregular periods, weight gain, hair growth, and anxiety, among others. Inadequate research on the syndrome makes it difficult to understand and diagnose but the spike in incidence can be attributed to stressful, sedentary lifestyles and irregular eating habits.
Recent researches and medical studies have found a growing, positive correlation between the usage of hemp and the management of PCOS symptoms. Hemp (Vijaya), known for its many medicinal properties for centuries, is being increasingly adopted by pharmaceutical companies to provide relief for a number of ailments. It contains naturally occurring chemicals called Cannabinoids like Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), among others, which are known to provide a therapeutic effect to the mind and body. Not to be confused with marijuana, hemp contains less than 0.3 per cent THC, the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effect.
Cannabinoids also work on the body's Endocannabinoid system (ECS), a cell signaling system present in all of our bodies and responsible for mood, inflammation, immunity, pain, stress, sleep, appetite, etc., to restore and revive menstrual health. Furthermore, the presence of cytokine and chemokine levels in the plant help in reducing the body's inflammatory response during menstruation to provide symptomatic relief. Read on below to learn more about hemp and how it can help with PCOS.
Hemp contains CBD, a chemical that is responsible for regulating the blood and sugar levels in the body. It is often noted that women suffering from PCOS encounter a condition known as Hyperinsulinemia, which basically means excessive insulin levels in the bloodstream. CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid system and CB1 receptors that can support insulin resistance and overtime improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar. Also, hemp is known to help the body maintain homeostasis (balance) the balance of hormones, neurotransmitters, metabolism, and neurological activity all of which is affected by PCOS.
Studies tout weight gain and loss as the most common symptom of PCOS. Hemp supports healthy management of weight in multiple ways by controlling the body's mitochondrial function leading to an improvement in the burning of excess sugar and fat as energy and maintaining the insulin and blood sugar levels to help beta-oxidation of fat, reducing appetite and lowering calorie intake. Additionally, there are some recent studies which suggest that CBD may help convert unfavorable white fat into brown fat, a calorie-burning type of fat.
The prevalence of anxiety and depression in women suffering from PCOS is close to 38.6 per cent and 25.7per cent , respectively, according to a 2018 paper published in Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. Anxiety and depression can also lead to wavering and disturbed sleep which affects the entire body's function. Using hemp can lead to activating the serotonin receptors in our system to produce a calm and relaxing effect. It is also known to be a boon to people facing these issues, thanks to its many therapeutic properties.
Factors such as elevated androgens, insulin levels, genetics, and more lead to higher levels of inflammation in women with PCOS. This inflammation is usually responsible for worsening PCOS symptoms which can often lead to other inflammatory conditions. The Cannabinoids in hemp (Vijaya) bind with the CB2 receptors present in the body's immune cells and work towards alleviating period pain.
Another miraculous and well-known property of hemp is its effectiveness in promoting good skin and hair health. PCOS is known to cause acne, skin inflammations, and unwanted hair growth. Our skin and hair have ECS and cannabinoid receptors too which support healing and restoring oil balance in the skin and hair.
PCOS is a tricky lifestyle condition to manage. However, small and sustained efforts to navigate this disorder can be incorporated into one's daily life. Hemp is a globally approved, sustainable ingredient in the health and wellness industry and its long-lasting positive effects are being rapidly recognised. Including hemp and its derivatives can be a gradual and lasting way to gain symptomatic relief from PCOS and adopt a healthy and holistic lifestyle.
The article is authored by Dr. Aesha Nanal, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Nanal Ayurcare, Pune. With a legacy of over 100 years at 'Nanal Ayurveda' and currently the fourth generation in authentic Ayurveda practice, Dr. Aesha is also spearheading AyurvedaEssence Pvt Limited that manufactures classical and patented ayurvedic medicines. She specializes in healing people from chronic ailments ranging from infertility, gynae problems to current modern lifestyle health disorders.
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