Cinnamon May Help Ease Common Cause of Infertility
Spice supplements appeared to improve menstrual cycles in small group of women
After six months, women receiving cinnamon had significant improvement in menstrual cycle regularity, having an average of nearly four menstrual periods over that time compared to an average of 2.2 periods among the placebo group. Two women reported spontaneous pregnancies after three months of cinnamon treatment, meaning they became pregnant without additional help.
Polycystic ovary syndrome "is one of the most common causes why women don't have regular menstrual cycles," Kort said. "But the clinical consequences later in life are truly great -- from an increased risk of diabetes and glucose intolerance to endometrial cancer. Many women can go their whole lives without regular menstrual cycles, and it doesn't necessarily bother them until they want to have children."
The 1,500-milligram cinnamon dose was chosen for this trial because it was between the 1,000 to 2,000 mg daily that seemed to have metabolic effects on diabetic patients in earlier research, Kort said. But all doses in that range are cheaply obtained, costing pennies per capsule.
"Compared to most medical therapies these days, the cost is very small," he said.
Although the study suggests a link between cinnamon and improvement of polycystic ovary syndrome, it doesn't establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship.
Still, Hershlag called the study "welcome and interesting" and said he sees no reason women with polycystic ovary syndrome shouldn't use more cinnamon in their food or take cinnamon supplements.
"Any work that's something nutritional in nature and seems to affect the abnormal physiology of polycystic ovaries is welcome," Hershlag said. "If they want to spice up their life and take it, that's fine . . . but I think the best thing to do when you have polycystic ovaries is to be under the control of a physician."
Some women with polycystic ovary syndrome from Kort's clinic are already trying cinnamon supplementation at home in the hopes of regulating their own menstrual cycles, he said, although he acknowledged the spice wasn't likely to be a cure-all for the condition.
"It's unlikely to be the sole source of improvement or to change entire (treatment) protocols," he said. "It's not going to regulate every patient who takes it, but a good percentage who take it may experience some benefit, and the side effects are low. It's relatively cheap and well tolerated."