D-chiro-insitol and PCOS: Introductory Animation
This is an instructional video about the role that D-chiro-inositol plays in insulin metabolism and polycystic ovarian syndrome. First, let's introduce some of our important players. The cells we're concerned with are the muscle and fat cells found throughout the body and the thecal cells of the ovaries which produce testosterone. The small molecules are glucose, insulin, myo-inositol, and D-chiro-inositol. We are especially concerned with D-chiro-inositol, or DCI for short. DCI can be attached to another molecule called a phospho-glycan.
Together, DCI and the attached phospho-glycan form an inositol phosphoglycan, or DCI-IPG. Myo-inositol can do the same thing and form MYO-IPG. These IPGs anchor themselves to the outside of the cells and wait, poised to respond to the powerful hormone insulin. Insulin is the body's primary way of telling the organs and tissue of the body that there is plenty of energy to burn. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood in response to increased blood sugar.
This tells the cells of the body to start absorbing that sugar from the blood. In healthy individuals, the insulin then binds to its receptor on the outside of the cells. This activates an enzyme that cleaves the bond between DCI-IPG or MYO-IPG and the cell. These both can then go to the cells. In other words, they let the cell know that it needs to respond to the insulin. For DCI, this means burning or storing the sugar. For MYO, this means producing testosterone. As the sugar is used, insulin levels come down, and the thecal cells stop making testosterone.
But, let's imagine what might happen if DCI weren't present. Without DCI, we can't make DCI-IPG. That only leaves MYO-IPG for the insulin response. This causes a hormonal imbalance. MYO-IPG tells the thecal cells to make testosterone. But DCI-IPG tells all of the cells to dispose of glucose.
No glucose disposal means chronically high insulin, and this means the thecal cells are always making testosterone. High testosterone can lead to loss of hair, growth of unwanted body hair, acne, a masculine adipose distribution, disrupted or absent menstrual cycle, and infertility. The insulin resistance itself is a risk factor for numerous other health issues.
Replacing the DCI by supplementing with it can, in principle, return this delicate balance to normal. This can restore normal insulin sensitivity, lower insulin and blood sugar levels, lower testosterone, and address all of the symptoms of elevated testosterone.
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