SUPPLEMENTS FOR HIRSUTISM
SUPPLEMENTATION – VITAMINS & MINERALS. Quite a number of vitamins and minerals are helpful for normalizing insulin and androgens, or reducing the effects of testosterone. They include chromium, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, copper, and vitamin B6, to name a few.(6-9)
Supplementation may also be indicated if your diet has been less than optimal and if you are taking multiple medications. Take vitamin B6 for example. The processing of foods may transform B6 into another compound that your body can’t use.(10). The chronic use of birth control pills has long been suspected of creating a vitamin B6 deficiency, although this has not been conclusively proven.(11).
You want to have some B6 on board because it appears to reduce the production of prolactin (12-13), a hormone that causes testosterone to be taken up by tissues. Some women with PCOS have too much prolactin. Vitamin B6 also dampens the responsiveness of cells to hormones, and when there is a vitamin B6 deficiency, the cells appear to have an exaggerated response to hormones.(14)
In summary, supplementation with vitamin B6 and other nutrients should be considered for inclusion as part of your overall program to control hirsutism and other PCOS symptoms.
(6) McCarty MF, Complementary measures for promoting insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle, Med Hypotheses, 1998, 51(6):451-64
(7) Hartman TJ et al, Association between serum alpha-tocopherol and serum androgens and estrogens in older men, Nutr Cancer, 1999;35(1):10-5
(8) Sugimoto, Y et al, Cations inhibit specifically type I 5-alpha-reductase found in human skin, J Invest Dermatol, 1995, 104(5):775-8
(9) Stamatiadis, D et al, Inhibition of 5 alpha-reductase activity in human skin by zinc and azelaic acid, Br J Dermatol, 1988, 119(5):627-32
(10) Leklem, J, Vitamin B6, Modern nutrition in health and disease, 8th ed., Lea & Febiger, 1994, p.384
(11) Bermond, P, Therapy of side effects of oral contraceptive agents with vitamin B6, Acta Vitaminol Enzymol, 1982, 4(1-2):45-54
(12) McIntosh, EN, Treatment of women with the galactorrhea-amenorrhea syndrome with pyridoxine (vitamin B6), J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 1976, 42(6):1192-5
(13) Vescovi, PP et al, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) decreases opioids-induced hyperprolactinemia, Horm Metabol Res, 1985, 17:46-7
(14) Bender, D et al, Effects of vitamin B6 deficiency and repletion on the uptake of steroid hormones into uterus slices and isolated liver cells of rats, Br J Nutr, 1989, 61(3):619-28