One of the hormones that is often screened when diagnosing PCOS is Lutenizing hormone. You see, LH tends to be high in women with PCOS and it tends to be 3-4 times as high as Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels (1). This sounds a bit technical at the moment but I’m going to share with you the things you need to know about LH and how to bring those levels down naturally by following a good PCOS diet, taking supplements and making some lifestyle changes.
What is Lutenizing Hormone?
LH is a hormone that is released by the pituitary gland in the brain. During a normal menstrual cycle, levels of LH are relatively low during the first half of the cycle and then spike just before ovulation. It’s this surge in LH that results in ovulation (2).
Now, as we’ve already said, women with PCOS tend to have high levels of LH in comparison to FSH and we don’t get that surge of LH and this is one of the reasons that we don’t tend to ovulate regularly.
Also, LH causes our ovaries to release androgens (testosterone). It’s this testosterone that is the cause of some of our unpleasant symptoms like hirsutism and acne.
Some of the more serious side effects of high LH levels are infertility and a higher risk of miscarriage (3).
So, you can see that it’s important to try to manage our LH levels to:
- lower testosterone (and improve hirsutism and acne)
- improve fertility
- prevent miscarriage.
Let’s have a look at how we can go about lowering those LH levels naturally:
Manage your Insulin Levels and Insulin Sensitivity
There seems to be a close link between insulin and LH levels. Research done with 10 very overweight women with PCOS showed that as the women lost weight and their bodies became more sensitive to insulin, levels of LH normalized. The study suggested that insulin resistance is linked to higher levels of LH (4).
Another article suggests that high levels of insulin act on Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) to increase the production of LH. (5)
The bottom line is this: High insulin levels will result in high levels of LH. So, we need to get those insulin levels under control. There are a number of ways to improve insulin levels, many of which I have already discussed in one way or another. You can manage insulin by:
- Eating foods with a low Glycemic Load
- Improving inflammation
- Taking supplements like Inositol
You really need to make sure that you are following a good PCOS diet.
Those of you who have been reading PCOS Diet Support for a while will know that myo-inositol is one of my favorite supplements for women with PCOS. The research on it’s efficacy is great and I think that it has made a huge impact on my own PCOS symptoms. You can read more about it here.
The other good news about Inositol is that it has been shown to lower LH levels too. One study showed that taking Inositol for 3 months significantly lowers LH, as well as free testosterone and insulin (6).
Omega 3 fats are an important element in any diet and are particularly important for women with PCOS. They help to lower inflammation and testosterone levels and have shown to also lower levels of LH. This is another supplement that I take on a daily basis and you can find out more about it here (7).
We all know that we should be exercising to help improve our PCOS symptoms. It helps to improve (8)
- Insulin sensitivity
- Frequency of ovulation
- Body composition
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention weight loss (although that may be an added bonus). Exercise helps to improve all these elements of PCOS, whether or not you have lost weight as well.
Well, another added benefit of exercise is that it has also been shown to lower levels of luteinizing hormone (9).
So, that sums it up. Here are the top 4 ways to lower LH naturally:
- Manage your insulin levels and insulin sensitivity
- Take Inositol supplements
- Take Omega 3 supplements
- Exercise regularly
I’d love to hear from you if you have any thoughts, questions or comments on luteinizing hormone and how you can lower it naturally. Leave me a comment below!
Tarryn is the founder of PCOS Diet Support, the top ranked PCOS diet & lifestyle site with over 160,000 users per month. As a fellow cyster there are no empty promises here, just facts