Eight-hour time-restricted feeding improves endocrine and metabolic profiles in women with anovulatory polycystic ovary syndrome

J Transl Med. 2021 Apr 13;19(1):148. doi: 10.1186/s12967-021-02817-2.


Background: Time-restricted feeding (TRF) is a form of intermittent fasting, which is beneficial for weight loss and cardiometabolic health. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common reproductive endocrine and metabolic diseases affecting women of childbearing age. It is associated with an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. The effects of TRF on PCOS patients remains undefined, here we investigated the impact of TRF on women with anovulatory PCOS.

Methods: Eighteen PCOS women aged between 18 and 31 with anovulation participated in a 6-week trial which were divided into two consecutive periods: (1) 1-week baseline weight stabilization period and (2) 5-week TRF period. Fifteen participants completed the study. Changes in body weight, body mass index (BMI), Waist-to-Hip Ratio, skeletal muscle mass, body fat mass (BFM), body fat percentage (BF%), visceral fat area (VFA), luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), LH/FSH, total testosterone (TT), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), free androgen index (FAI), fasting glucose, fasting insulin (FINS), homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), area under the curve (AUC) for insulin (AUCIns), area under the curve (AUC) for glucose (AUCGlu), AUCIns/AUCGlu Ratio, lipids, uric acid, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), menstrual cycle and eating behaviors were evaluated.

Results: Significant changes in body weight, BMI, BFM, BF%, VFA, TT, SHBG, FAI, FINS, HOMA-IR, AUCIns, AUCIns/AUCGlu Ratio, ALT, hsCRP and IGF-1 were found after the TRF period. An improvement in menstrual cycle irregularity was detected in 73.3% (11/15) patients.

Conclusion: The diet of TRF may be beneficial to anovulatory PCOS on weight loss especially reducing body fat, improving menstruation, hyperandrogenemia, insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. Trial registration Clinicaltrial.gov, NCT04580433, registered October 8, 2020, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04580433.

Keywords: Anovulation; Hyperandrogenemia; Insulin resistance; Intermittent fasting; Polycystic ovary syndrome; Time-restricted feeding; Weight-loss.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anovulation*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Metabolome
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome*
  • Young Adult


  • Insulin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04580433