A condition marked by multiple small cysts in the ovaries, PCOS is often linked to insulin resistance and lack of ovulation. Since maitake is known to improve insulin resistance, researchers tested the medicinal mushroom's effects on 57 women with PCOS. After up to 12 weeks of treatment, 20 out of 26 study participants given maitake extract experienced ovulation (compared with 29 out of the 31 participants given the ovulation-inducing medication clomiphene). According to the study's authors, these findings indicate that maitake may be useful for PCOS patients who fail to respond to clomiphene.
Past research shows that acupuncture may also help improve insulin resistance, regulate menstrual cycles and reduce levels of male hormones in women with PCOS.