Inulin for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

by Ashleigh Feltham,  Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist

Polycystic ovarian syndrome occurs when the eggs in your ovaries do not become mature enough for ovulation. It can cause acne, hair loss or excess hair growth due to high androgens. It includes amenorrhea, which is too infrequent or more than 35 days between periods, or oligomenorrhea, which means periods are too frequent and less than 21 days apart. Finally, the syndrome causes polycystic ovary or a cystic appearance on an ovary.

This syndrome not only has a negative impact on the ovary health, but it is linked to an increased risk of other chronic diseases like heart disease, type-two diabetes and metabolic disease.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Inulin is a type of fibre that the body cannot digest. It is a soluble fibre that easily absorbs water to form a gel-like substance. Inulin is a prebiotic fibre — the fuel for health-promoting microbes in the gut. When gut microbes feed on inulin, they produce short-chain fatty acids. Some of these short chain fatty acids include acetate, propionate and butyrate. These short chain fatty acids have positive health benefits on many parts of the body.

Wholegrains promote health in many ways, including supporting optimal gut health. Wholegrains contain prebiotic fibre and polyphenols, which feed health-promoting microbes in the gut. Keeping these microbes healthy and fed supports the health of many organs and body functions. Including adequate servings of whole grains in your diet may also reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancers such as colorectal cancer.

For women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, prebiotic fibre may help to reduce chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which is linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome. Chronic inflammation is linked to numerous health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Inulin may also help to reduce endothelial disfunction. The endothelium is the layer of cells that line your lymph and blood vessels.

A study investigated the potential positive effects of inulin using a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Seventy-five women with polycystic ovarian syndrome were randomly allocated to take ten grams per day for 12 weeks of either a high-performance inulin, an oligofructose-enriched inulin or a placebo.

After 12 weeks, the inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, decreased in both the high-performance and the oligofructose-enriched inulin groups. The changes on C-reactive protein in the high-performance inulin group were statistically significant compared to the placebo group.

Blood levels of nitric oxide increased in both the high-performance and oligofructose-enriched inulin groups. Nitric oxide helps blood vessels to relax, improving blood flow. Endothelin-1, a potent vasoconstrictor of blood vessels, decreased in both inulin groups. Total oxidative stress also decreased in both inulin groups.

This research supports the inclusion of inulin in your diet to help reduce chronic inflammation in women who have been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Inulin can be taken as a supplement. It is present in many different foods, including garlic, onion, banana, apple, leeks, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, wheat and asparagus.

An adult requires 25-38g of dietary fibre every day. Including a variety of plant-based foods each day will help you to meet your recommended dietary fibre needs for good health. Aim to include 30 different plant-based foods each week.

sources on inulin

Take home message:

Inulin is much more than a typical fibre. This prebiotic fibre may help reduce chronic inflammation associated with women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome. If you have been diagnosed with this syndrome it may be beneficial to include inulin as part of your daily dietary fibre intake each day.



  1. Ziaei R, Shahshahan Z, Ghasemi-Tehrani H, Heidari Z, Ghiasvand R. Effects of inulin-type fructans with different degrees of polymerization on inflammation, oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2022 Mar 9. doi: 10.1111/cen.14712. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35261049.
  2. Are there disorders or conditions associated with PCOS? US Department of Human and Health Services.
  3. Teede, H., Deeks, A. & Moran, L. Polycystic ovary syndrome: a complex condition with psychological, reproductive and metabolic manifestations that impacts on health across the lifespan. BMC Med 8, 41 (2010)
  4. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Healthy Lifestyle
  5. Nutrition and healthy eating. Mayo Clinic.
  6. Holscher HD. Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut Microbes. 2017;8(2):172-184.