Be Careful with Supplements: My Experience with Evening Primrose Oil

Be Careful with Supplements: My Experience with Evening Primrose Oil

If you have read my other blog posts you would know that I am definitely not opposed to taking supplements. The unfortunate thing is that they are not always good for me.

A couple years ago, I tried taking evening primrose oil and I found out the hard way that it was not the right thing for my body. I wanted to share what happened to me.

About evening primrose oil

The evening primrose plants are native to North America. Needing full sun, the plants grow quickly and easily. They can produce yellow, pink, lavender and white colored flowers which may have a lemon scent to them depending on the variety

These plants are edible. The roots have even been used like vegetables in cooking.

The evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds. It contains fatty acids that includes gamma linolenic acid, linoleic and omega-3. This oil is said to help certain health ailments which are as follows:

  1. PMS- Taking the oil by mouth may help with some symptoms women get before their periods.
  2. Diabetic neuropathy
  3. Osteoporosis
  4. Eczema
  5. Acne
  6. Dry eyes
  7. Rheumatoid arthritis
  8. Asthma
  9. Psoriasis

Evening primrose oil is sold in softgels to be taken by mouth and in the oil form. The dosage by mouth is between 1-8 grams.

It is important to note that ingesting this oil may cause the following side effects:

  1. GI issues
  2. Headaches
  3. Seizures in people with epilepsy or a general seizure disorder
  4. Adverse interactions with anticoagulant medications, anesthesia and anti-psychotics
  5. Making PMS symptoms even worse.

Why I wanted to start taking evening primrose oil

My physical PMS symptoms have been pretty severe for the past 5 years. The dread that I feel each month for certain parts of my cycle, is horrific. I hate it.

A couple of years ago, I had been on one of my many searches to find something that could help make my PMS easier to handle. I came across evening primrose oil on a forum and was really interested due to the positive experiences people were posting.

When I looked up evening primrose oil on Amazon, the reviews I read sounded great too. I became sold on it. I ended up buying a bottle of softgels from Sports Research and was excited for it to come in the mail!

First and last time taking it

I was in the midst of horrible PMS when my order arrived. Knowing that it would need time to build up in my system if it was going to work at all, did not deter me from taking it a few hours after I got it out of the box.

The dosage on the bottle has three softgels as a serving size. Since I am sensitive to things, I decided to take just one the first time and then work my way up. I made sure to take the softgel with a snack as it said to do on the bottle.

About thirty minutes after taking it, I noticed a warm feeling come over me. The warmth quickly changed to hot. It was like my skin was burning. I then got really dizzy and had severe nausea. Those feelings together were all too familiar to me.

I was feeling like I was going to have a seizure.

Seizures were something that I used to experience in the evenings. They went away once I started on medication thankfully. The fact that I felt I was going to have one again terrified me.

My husband was around to help me that night and tried to call me down.  I woke up the next day with no memory of what happened after my husband came into our bedroom and sat with me.

I did not know at the time if I definitively had a seizure or not. After reading recently that it is not good for someone with a history of seizures to take, I am leaning towards the idea that it did cause me to have a seizure.

Evening primrose oil was not good for me at all. It was a scary experience that I never want to have happen again.

Make sure to do research the supplements you want to take

If you read a blurb about a supplement and it says it may help with a health issue that you have, look into it as much as you can. This is important so you know whether or not you should take it.

I really should have looked at the adverse effects of evening primrose oil instead of just focusing on the positive things that people were saying about it. Things just do not work for everyone. I am really glad that it works for others though.

Still searching for something that will help me

My hormones are completely out of whack. They may be even worse than they were back when I tried the evening primrose oil.

I am currently on the hunt for a supplement and or dietary changes that will help me have better menstrual cycles. Living like this is tough.

Have any of you tried evening primrose oil before? If so, what was your experience with it?

Thanks for reading!

#supplements #hormones #womenshealth  #periods  #pms #pcos

Is Myo-Inositol Worth Taking?

Is Myo-Inositol Worth Taking?

I hate having PCOS. It has made me have screwed up skin, excess hair, pain, nausea and problems conceiving.

Over the years I have read up so much on the disease and the various ways to control it. One of the things women with PCOS have had success with is using a supplement called, myo-inositol. I have actually tried it before and still have a bag of it left.

I just wanted to discuss myo-inositol a little bit, my short-term experience with it and if I will try taking it again.

What myo-inositol is and the alleged benefits

Myo-inositol is a sugary substance found in foods (ex. cantaloupe, eggs, pears, beans and brown rice) and is made naturally in the body. It is considered to be a pseudovitamin.

It seems to have been studied quite a bit and shows some ability to treat certain conditions. The following is a list of the medical issues that myo-inositol may be of benefit for:

  1. PCOS- Supplementing with this may improve the symptoms that can come with a PCOS diagnosis. These include fertility issues (especially when combined with folic acid), too high testosterone levels, insulin resistance, irregular cycles, abnormal blood glucose levels, excess body weight, excess hair and elevated bad cholesterol levels.
  2. Binge eating disorder and Bulimia- This may help reduce the appetite and behavior that can come with these two types of eating disorders.
  3. Anxiety
  4. Panic attacks- Supplementing with this may reduce the frequency of the attacks.
  5. Depression
  6. OCD
  7. Psoriasis from Lithium- Lithium is a mood stabilizer that can cause psoriasis. Myo-inositol may improve the condition.
  8. Acne- Supplementing with this may improve acne in people with or without PCOS.
  9. Pre-diabetes and diabetes- May help control blood sugar levels.

The above list of possible benefits all sounds very impressive. It is important to note that the evidence for some of these is not as strong as it is for the others. In general, myo-inositol looks to be very promising in its use for medical conditions.

You can find myo-inositol sold in the form of capsules and powders. In quite a few products it is combined with another form of inositol called, d-chiro-inositol. This form helps the myo-inositol be even more effective.

Myo-inositol in powder form, has a mildly sweet taste so it is very easy to get down. You can put it in any beverage and either not notice any difference or notice that it tastes a little sweeter than normal.

Studies show that there needs to be specific doses taken to treat the different medical conditions listed. For the mental health benefits, a high amount of it is needed at a range of 14,000-18,000 mg. For the other benefits, a range of 200-4,000 mg is necessary.

As with a lot of supplements and medication, side effects can occur. The ones that are commonly reported include nausea, stomach cramps and headaches. There have also been some women who claim that supplementing with this made PCOS symptoms even worse. It is important to be aware of and watch out for all of these things.

I tried it before, should I try it again?

A year or so ago I decided to buy some myo-inositol powder. I was interested in trying it due to the fact that it can help manage PCOS. What I was hoping that it would help me improve was acne, menstrual cramps, insulin resistance (if I have/had it), excess hair and my chances of getting pregnant.

Since my stomach is extremely sensitive, I decided to start off taking just a 1/8th of a tsp which is equal to 341 mg.  This dosage is not enough to have much of an affect on PCOS but I felt that I needed to work my way up.

Within around 30 minutes of consuming it for the first time, I felt a rush of energy that continued for quite a while. It was like taking caffeine! This was pretty exciting to me.

I kept taking this dose for a while but unfortunately did not get the courage to increase it. The side effects that could happen at higher doses really worried me. Because of this, I was most likely not going to get much benefit from it in regards to my PCOS symptoms.

I eventually stopped taking it altogether and kind of forgot about it. The reason why I have thought about taking it again was because my hormones have been so messed up this cycle. It has been absolutely awful the past two weeks and I do not want that to be my norm again.

Not 100% sure yet

I still do not know if I will take myo-inositol again. My plan is to update this blog about it if I do decide to.

Right now, I am pretty desperate to get my hormones under control so I am looking into everything that could possibly help me. It is really frustrating, and I hope I can figure something out as soon as possible.

If you have any ideas/tips for me on this, please let me know! Also, let me know your experiences with myo-inositol if you have taken it.

Thanks for reading!

Sources-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834624/#:~:text=Exacerbation%20of%20psoriasis%20occurring%20during,with%20beneficial%20results%20%5B3%5D.

https://www.chiralbalance.com/blog/post/myo-inositol-versus-d-chiro-inositol.html

https://examine.com/supplements/inositol/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5011528/

#myoinositol  #supplements  #periodproblems  #PMS  #hormones  #womenshealth  #pcos

Sasha Pieterse: A Not So Pretty Little Diagnosis

Sasha Pieterse: A Not So Pretty Little Diagnosis

Seeing PCOS in the media will help get the word out.

As a woman who suffers from PCOS, I appreciate hearing/reading about other people’s experiences with this diagnosis. This is because it makes me see that I am not alone with my struggles and gives me ideas on how to treat it.

I am sure others feel this way too.

There are celebrities that have PCOS. Since they have such a huge platform to work with, them speaking out about their diagnosis can do a world of good for many of us.

Actress, Sasha Pieterse, is one of the celebrities with PCOS and she has talked about it in the past.  

Pretty Liars Fame

Most people have heard of this popular show! I myself went through a period of liking it even though I was probably a little too old for it. I never watched the last two seasons as I got sick of it.

I have no idea who “A” is, and I don’t really care to be honest.

Sasha played the character named, Alison DiLaurentis. The character is like a “mean girl.” Popular and manipulative.

I was surprised to find out that she was only 12 years old at the start of the show. Whoa! I would have never guessed that. She did a great job though.

One of the things that was noticeable to fans over the run of the show was her weight gain. She was shamed for it which was most likely really upsetting.

Sigh. I could never be a celebrity!

After a while she decided to speak about how PCOS was to blame for the gain.

What she had to say

Sasha talked about the amount of weight that she gained (70 pounds) and the fact that she did not know what was going on. She also suffered from irregular periods. It took a lot of doctor’s appointments for her to finally end up with the PCOS diagnosis.

This is unfortunately all too common when it comes to women with this hormonal disease. Things go haywire in our bodies and we have to get multiple medical appointments/tests to find the answers. Some doctors know a lot about PCOS but many do not so we might not get much help from them.

Sasha is pregnant!

I came across a recent article talking about how she is expecting her first child! Check it out: https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/893394/pretty-little-liars-sasha-pieterse-pregnant-child-pcos/

Fertility is one of the things that PCOS can negatively affect so seeing that she is pregnant may give other women hope that they can be too.

Getting PCOS in the media is very beneficial

It is important that more people know about this condition. A lot of women are suffering in silence not knowing what is going on with them and many doctors do not understand it.

Another thing that I hope PCOS in the media will do is bring light to the fact that weight can be very difficult for some of us with it to manage. I have read that quite a few women with this diagnosis get accused of stuffing their faces with junk food and being too lazy to workout. That is really hurtful for people to hear.

All PCOS sufferers deserve to get their voices heard and get a treatment plan that works for them.

Thanks for reading!

#prettylittleliars  #sashapieterse  #celebrities  #pcos  #womenshealth

IF & Carb Cycling: What They Can Do for You!

IF & Carb Cycling: What They Can Do for You!

I enjoy being fit/healthy and I would love to inspire others to be too. This blog of mine is not popular at all but if I find out that I have helped even one person, I will feel elated.

In the past year or so, I have changed up how I eat. This includes me doing intermittent fasting and most recently, carb cycling.  I can honestly say that these two things have changed my life for the better.

In this post, I will be discussing more about those two ways of eating and how they could help you too!

Intermittent fasting

Good things come to those that wait!

Most people have heard about intermittent fasting (IF). It seemed a little crazy to me when I first heard about it. Reading that it is good for women with PCOS was what led me to try it out.

I have now been intermittent fasting for almost a year!

I do the 16:8 version of the fasting (there are different ways to do IF). My eating window is between 11 AM and 7 PM. I have played around with the times and this window seems to work for me the best.

If you are reading this and do not quite know the alleged benefits of intermittent fasting, here is a little list of how it might help you:

  1. Increase insulin sensitivity
  2. Increase energy levels
  3. Increases cognition/clarity of thought
  4. Control blood sugar levels
  5. Reduce inflammation
  6. Reduce bloating

When I first started intermittent fasting, it was hard. I was determined to keep pushing through to reap the health benefits though. After about two weeks of the fasting, I began to feel the improved energy and reduction of bloating that the research articles said might occur.

I loved what was happening to me!

After two months, I noticed that my body composition was changing a little bit. Slightly more muscle definition started coming through which I really liked.

Another thing I have noticed is that my menstrual cramps have pretty much gone away. I still experience some mild cramping, but I do not actually need to take anything for it. Other women have had the same thing happen to them as well. I am not sure the mechanism behind it, but I am not going to complain.

I do think that I have some degree of insulin resistance (as do many women with PCOS). Since embarking on the intermittent fasting journey, I have not felt tired after eating. This is one of the signs of being insensitive to insulin so I believe it is helping me in that regard.

I would highly recommend trying out intermittent fasting, especially if you have PCOS. There are so many of us who have had great results from it.

Along with living the intermittent fasting lifestyle, it is important to have a handle on what you are eating. Some people end up thinking they can eat whatever they want during their eating window and then wonder why they are not experiencing positive changes. If you have a goal of getting healthier and changing your body, good food choices are imperative.

Carb cycling

One of my favorite low carb foods!
One of my favorite higher carb foods to eat!

I have read about how great low carb and keto diets are for PCOS (and other conditions). They are said to help with losing weight, controlling blood sugars, increasing insulin sensitivity, losing abdominal fat and more.

  Back in January, I decided that I wanted to get a little leaner as well as combatting any insulin resistance I have even more than I already was (I believe intermittent fasting was helping).  I started out lowering my calories to about 1500 and carbs to 40 grams per day.

This was tough for me! I tried pushing through the physical symptoms I was experiencing (extreme hunger, fatigue and grumpiness) but it proved to be even harder than the beginning of my intermittent fasting journey.

It was all very frustrating to me because I wanted to obtain the benefits that other people were getting from low carb/keto diets. After a few weeks, I ended up straying from the low carb plan.

I came across carb cycling one day when I was looking at books on Amazon. This is when you cycle your carb intake throughout the week or month. I was interested in this method of eating and decided to look into it more.

The benefits you can get from this type of diet are as follows:

*More energy for tough workouts- You can have a higher carb day on the days you do your tough workouts. This will provide you with more energy to get through them.

*Increase of insulin sensitivity- You can still get this benefit even if you are not strictly low-carb or keto every day of the week.

*Sustainable- It is easier to stick with due to having less restrictions

*No low carb/keto “flu”

This type of eating sounded perfect for me, so I got started on it right away. Since anything under 150 grams of carbohydrates is considered low-carb, I wanted to make sure my weekly average came in under that amount. I calculated things out and came up with this carb cycle:

*180 grams- three days per week

* 100 grams- one day per week

* 50 grams- three days per week.

This gives me a weekly average of 113 grams (rounded up).

I have been doing this ever since the end of February and it has been amazing for me! My body composition has changed even more (for the better), I do not get “hangry,” I have a lot of energy and it is something I can stick with which is really important.

If you are interested in trying to cycle your carbs, I would suggest looking into it more. There are plenty of resources out there that explain it in detail so you can better understand how it works.

No guarantee

I decided to make this post to share my experiences in hopes that it might help others out with their health, fitness and body goals. Because I am not a medical professional, you must look up intermittent fasting and carb cycling to decide whether they will be right for you.

These ways of eating have worked great for me as well as many other people. There is no guarantee that they will work for you though. If they do not, that is okay! There are plenty of other ways to eat and

Have you done intermittent fasting and/or carb cycling before? What are your thoughts on it/them?

Thanks for reading!

Some sources:

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-nutr-071816-064634

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-carb-cycling

https://www.span.health/blog/7-types-of-intermittent-fasting-explained

#lowcarb #intermittentfasting #diets #weightloss #fatloss #fitness #pcos #health

How Race/Ethnicity Affects A PCOS Diagnosis

How Race/Ethnicity Affects A PCOS Diagnosis

Beauty comes in all colors!

I try not to make everything about race/ethnicity. As a black woman though, I can’t help but think about how my race influences things and how things influence me because of my race.

When it comes health issues, there are a lot of race/ethnicity related figures that show how each group is affected by them. They say what the likelihood of them getting it is, likely severity of it, mortality rate etc.

I had been wondering lately about how and if PCOS presents itself differently in each racial/ethnic group. Looking up facts and figures on this topic was interesting to me so I decided to make a post about it.

To organize my findings, I decided to break things down by race. It just seemed easier that way. Read on if you are interested!

Black women versus other groups

Diabetes is something that women with PCOS are at risk for. In all research articles about race/ethnicity and PCOS, it was found that black women were at a higher risk than the other groups for getting it. Their fasting insulin levels were higher and even significantly so in some cases.

The risk of hirsutism showed conflicting results. One article showed that black women were at a higher risk and a couple of others showed that there was less of a risk.

High blood pressure is something seen in a lot of women with PCOS. Per the studies, black women are more likely to have hypertension than whites and Asians but less likely than Hispanics.

Obesity is also an issue in black women with (and without) PCOS. It is shown that there is a significantly higher chance of this occurring in blacks than in whites and Asians. This was contradicted in one study as it showed that the black women actually had lower body fat than the others.

The likelihood of getting heart disease was significantly higher in black women in the studies. This was true even though our triglyceride levels were lower than the other groups.

A few studies showed that black women with PCOS had higher sex hormone binding globulins (SHGB) than whites and Asians. SHGB tests show how much testosterone is going to the tissues in our bodies. A very high level of SHGB comes some issues such as low energy and sex drive.

Another problem specific to black women with PCOS was that there is less success with IVF cycles. People might think that all black women are really fertile due to stereotypes, but this is not true according to studies.

PCOS is said to affect an estimated 8% of black women.

Hispanic women versus other groups

The studies indicated that Hispanic women with PCOS presented with more severe cases than the other groups. The reasoning for this is unknown but could be due to diet and genetics.

Their risk of insulin resistance was shown to be significantly higher than in whites and Asians. In comparison to black women, their risk was only slightly higher.

When it comes to hirsutism and acne, the studies showed a higher prevalence in Hispanic women. Excess hair on the face in particular was worse.

In all of the studies, their blood pressure results were higher than whites, Asians and blacks. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes and aneurysms. They also had higher HDL levels than whites, blacks and Asians. This is considered to be good cholesterol but if the levels are too high it can be a bad thing.

 PCOS is said to affect an estimated 13% of Hispanic women.

Asians women versus other groups

There was some contradiction between studies on the likelihood of hirsutism and acne in Asian women. It also appears as though the likelihood is different depending on the region of Asia. For example, studies showed that women with PCOS from SE Asia were more likely to have more excess hair and acne than white women. East Asians, however, were less likely to deal with excess hair and acne than the other groups.

It is well known that Asian women are usually of lower weight/BMI than the other groups. Despite this, they are more likely to have insulin resistance and diabetes than whites. They also have higher odds of having excess abdominal fat with their PCOS diagnosis.

The percentage of Asian women with PCOS is unknown.

White women versus other groups

 If you have read this far into the post, you probably have a good idea on where white women lie with these issues that accompany a PCOS diagnosis. They are less likely to have certain things and more likely to have certain things.

One thing that hasn’t been touched on is the mental health aspect of PCOS. The physical effects (abdominal fat, acne, oily skin, excess hair, hair thinning etc.) of the disease can really hurt a woman’s self-esteem. Researchers found out that white women had much higher levels of anxiety and depression than women of other races/ethnicities.

According to a few studies, PCOS affects about 4.8% of white women.

Native American versus other groups

 Unfortunately, there was not much to be found on Native American women with PCOS. The only thing out there was that they usually have a higher a BMI than whites, Asians and blacks. It was on par with Hispanic women.

The rate of PCOS in Native Americans is unknown.

There are differences

From the research that has been done, there are differences in the way PCOS affects women of different races and ethnic groups. There might be varying reasons as to why this is so. It could mean that the treatment plans need to be different.

Hopefully in the future there will be more research done in general on PCOS to improve the lives of all women affected by it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!

Some sources used-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3132396/

https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(13)03253-6/fulltext

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5420474/

https://www.havingbabies.com/blog-list/dr-diana-chavkin-discusses-infertility-among-african-american-women

https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jog.14132

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3024276/

https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(11)01213-1/fulltext

#pcos #race #diversity #ethnicity #pcosawareness #health #womenshealth