Cardamom and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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An image of a healthy reproductive system free of polycystic ovary syndrome. Can cardamom supplementation be the reason?
Photo by Nadhezda Moryak @Pexels

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder affecting one in ten people assigned female at birth who are of childbearing age.1  PCOS is also a condition related to gender identity and gender expression, with a prevalence of PCOS in transgender people sitting between 5%-91.7%.Studies have shown that cardamom supplementation could help manage diabetes, obesity, and other diseases.4-7  Since these diseases have characteristics associated with PCOS, could cardamom benefit those living with the disorder?

The basics of polycystic ovary syndrome

Common signs and symptoms include larger ovaries, irregular periods, and mood and anxiety disorders.3  As if this were not enough, those living with PCOS are at a greater risk of developing infertility, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.3

Probing into PCOS

There lies uncertainty on the underlying causes of PCOS, but genetics and abnormal hormone levels play a role.1 Some of the symptoms of PCOS are

  • abdominal obesity,
  • oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea (irregular or lack of menstruation),
  • hirsutism (excessive growth of facial and body hair),
  • ovarian cysts,
  • and oily skin and acne.2 

The fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene appears to be involved in PCOS development.3,8  This gene increases the build-up of fatty tissue in the body, particularly around the abdomen and close to the organs (visceral fat), promotes eating and affects insulin secretion.3,8   Along with the body’s reduced ability to absorb and use sugars, obesity elevates the production of male sex hormones, causing a whirlwind of adverse health effects relating to PCOS.3

Another potential culprit leading to PCOS is the peroxisome proliferative activating receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) gene, which promotes the hormonal activities relating to the ovaries and affects the body’s metabolism.3 Simply put, these genes increase the likelihood of obesity, diabetes, and the production of excessive male sex hormones that are commonly seen in those with PCOS. 

Fat and weight loss are important factors in controlling the syndrome’s symptoms. Even without fat loss or weight loss, exercise is extremely beneficial, and when coupled with cardamon supplementation, there just may be an extra edge.1,2  

More than just a delicious spice

Green cardamom is a delicious spice from the dried fruit named Elettaria cardamomum (Linn).3  In addition to its use as a seasoning, cardamom has potential benefits for human health.  

Does cardamom reduce PCOS symptoms?

A group of researchers designed a study to test whether cardamom positively affects those living with polycystic ovary syndrome.3

The study compared women supplementing three times daily for 16 weeks with a cardamom supplement or a placebo to see if cardamom could help those living with PCOS. All participants were on a low-calorie diet to promote weight loss.3  

To measure hormones and gene responses, the researchers collected blood samples before and after the study. Overall, cardamom supplementation had the best outcomes on signs and symptoms of PCOS.3 

The women in the cardamom group experienced hormonal benefits and a reduction of the FTO gene associated with obesity and diabetes.3 Finally, the peroxisome proliferative activating receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) gene that controls metabolism and ovary function showed improvements.3  

From flavor to health

The research suggests that cardamom may curb some polycystic ovary syndrome characteristics. Although more research is suggested, cardamom has a positive effect on different genes and hormones relating to PCOS.3-5 

Cardamom may bring a wealth of health benefits. However, this supplement can interact with certain medications and can affect medical conditions.3 If you think cardamom may be right for you, we strongly recommend consulting with your doctor.

References

  1. Sadeghi HM, Adeli I, Calina D, et al. Polycystic ovary syndrome: a comprehensive review of pathogenesis, management, and drug repurposing. Int J Mol Sci. Jan 6 2022;23(2) doi:10.3390/ijms23020583
  1. Liu M, Murthi S, Poretsky L. Polycystic ovary syndrome and gender identity. Yale J Biol Med. 2020;93(4):529-537. Published 2020 Sep 30. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7513432/
  2. Cheshmeh S, Elahi N, Ghayyem M, et al. Effect of green cardamom on the expression of genes implicated in obesity and diabetes among obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a double blind randomized controlled trial. Genes & Nutrition. 2022/12/15 2022;17(1):17. doi:10.1186/s12263-022-00719-6
  1. Aghasi M, Koohdani F, Qorbani M, et al. Beneficial effects of green cardamom on serum SIRT1, glycemic indices and triglyceride levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial. J Sci Food Agric. Jun 2019;99(8):3933-3940. doi:10.1002/jsfa.9617
  1. Rahman MM, Alam MN, Ulla A, et al. Cardamom powder supplementation prevents obesity, improves glucose intolerance, inflammation and oxidative stress in liver of high carbohydrate high fat diet induced obese rats. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2017/08/14 2017;16(1):151. doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0539-x
  1. Daneshi-Maskooni M, Keshavarz SA, Qorbani M, et al. Green cardamom supplementation improves serum irisin, glucose indices, and lipid profiles in overweight or obese non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. Mar 12 2019;19(1):59. doi:10.1186/s12906-019-2465-0
  1. Fatemeh Y, Siassi F, Rahimi A, et al. The effect of cardamom supplementation on serum lipids, glycemic indices and blood pressure in overweight and obese pre-diabetic women: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders. 2017/09/29 2017;16(1):40. doi:10.1186/s40200-017-0320-8
  1. Liu AL, Xie HJ, Xie HY, et al. Association between fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene rs9939609 A/T polymorphism and polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Medical Genetics. 2017/08/21 2017;18(1):89. doi:10.1186/s12881-017-0452-1

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