Researchers in China and the US have proved the connection exists by, for the first time, measuring zonulin levels in patients with PCOS. Leaky gut and PCOS have often been linked in our clinical experience but this study is useful in affirming that.
The researchers also found that zonulin levels correlated with insulin resistance and severity of menstrual problems.
Zonulin, made famous by Prof Alessio Fasano’s coeliac investigation group, is the only physiological mediator known to regulate gut permeability, which it does by reversibly disassembling intestinal tight junctions.
After investigating 78 women recently diagnosed with PCOS, and 63 agematched healthy controls, the researchers concluded: “Serum zonulin, a biomarker for gut permeability, is increased in PCOS women, and correlates with insulin resistance and severity of menstrual disorders. It suggests that alterations of gut permeability may play a role in the patho-physiology of PCOS, and serum zonulin might be used as a biomarker for both risk stratification and therapeutic outcomes in PCOS women.