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Dairy-free and gluten-free for PCOS?

By Amber Charles-Alexis, MSPH, RDN

June 28, 2021

Dairy-free and gluten-free are common recommendations for the management of PCOS. This blog explains whether they're even necessary, and just who might benefit from this approach.

Dairy and health | Acne and insulin resistance | Dairy-free for PCOS | Gluten and health | Gut health and inflammation | Gluten-free for PCOS | Takeaway

Picture: Wix, stock image

Dairy and health

Dairy – cow's milk and its products – are a highly controversial food group.

Milk contains 18 of 22 essential nutrients and is a rich source of vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium (1).

A 2021 umbrella review revealed that just 1 cup of milk per day may reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease (1).

However, amid concerns of mucus production and lactose intolerance, milk may increase your risk for prostate cancer, Parkinson's disease and iron-deficiency in infants (1).

With respect to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), it may be related to acne.

Dairy, acne and insulin resistance

Insulin resistance affects between 50-70% of women with PCOS and has been linked with most symptoms of PCOS (2).

However, low-fat dairy intake has been shown to beneficial for improving insulin resistance, along with waist circumference and weight loss - all major concerns in PCOS (3).

Likewise, acne affects up to 30% of women with PCOS or excess testosterone (2).

Depending on its severity, it can affect your quality of life, raise your medical costs and warrant frequent visits to your dermatologist, who may then recommend various topical treatments (retinoids) and medications, like metformin or inositol.

Studies have proven that there is a relationship between diet and acne.

More specifically, all types of cow&#x