Chia Seeds for PCOS


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects the endocrine and reproductive systems. It is characterised by the development of numerous cysts in the ovaries. The cause of PCOS is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.1 Women who suffer from PCOS are usually insulin resistant and usually have higher androgen levels.1,2 

PCOS can lead to some other health problems, like infertility, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, depression and mood swings, high blood pressure, or stroke.2,3

Recent studies have found that the introduction of chia seeds in PCOS patients’ diet can have several benefits.4 Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds come from an annual herbaceous plant, originally from Mexico and Guatemala. In recent years, it has become more popular because of their nutritional and medicinal value. Many researchers have been studying what benefits chia seeds can bring to the medical and pharmaceutical fields, as well as to the food industry.4

About chia seeds for PCOS

Nutrients we can get from chia seeds

Chia seeds have a range of nutrients, including:

·         Fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acid and polyunsaturated fat

·         Carbohydrates

·         Dietary fibres

·         Proteins

·         Vitamins: A, B, K, E, and D

·         Minerals: calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus

·         Antioxidants: carotenoids, phytosterols, and polyphenolic compounds4

Benefits of chia seeds for people with PCOS

While there is no specific cure for PCOS, following a healthy diet and lifestyle and taking medications as prescribed can aid in managing this condition and reduce the associated risks.7 Some research suggests that consuming chia seeds may have some potential health benefits, which include:

·         healthier skin

·         Stronger muscles and bones

·         Supporting the digestive system

·         Reducing the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer 4,6

For people with PCOS, consuming chia seeds is particularly beneficial in:

·   Weight management: Chia seeds are high in fibre and able to convert glucose into slow-releasing carbohydrates, which can make you feel full after eating, potentially leading to weight loss4

·    Blood sugar level control: Chia seeds seem to decrease postprandial glycemia when consumed with meals, which may be beneficial for people with PCOS who are at greater risk of developing diabetes4

·         Heart health: Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve heart health. They are also high in antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease6

·    Inflammation reduction: Some researchers suggests that chia seeds can help to regulate hormones and reduce inflammation4,6

It's important to keep in mind that more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of consuming chia seeds for people with PCOS.7 If you have PCOS and are interested in incorporating chia seeds into your diet, it's a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional to ensure that they fit into your overall treatment plan.

Diet tips

Best chia seeds for people with PCOS

There is no specific type of chia seeds that are best for people with PCOS. Both black and white chia seeds are nutritionally similar and can be used in various recipes.4

When is the best time to eat them?

There is no one "best" time to eat chia seeds. Chia seeds can be incorporated into your diet at any time of day, and you’ll still have the full nutritional benefits.8 Chia seeds are versatile, and can be eaten raw, added to a meal, or soaked in water or other liquids. Try out different recipes and see which works best for you. Some people prefer to eat chia seeds as a snack (as chia pudding, for example) or as a topping for cereals or salads, while others like to add them to smoothies or oatmeal.9

Risk and considerations

It's important to note that, while chia seeds may have some health benefits, they should not be considered as a replacement of medical treatment for PCOS or any other health condition.4

If you have PCOS, it's important to work with your healthcare provider to manage your condition and address any related health concerns. This may include following a healthy diet and lifestyle and taking medications as prescribed.5

Side effects

Chia seeds are generally considered safe to consume and have a low risk of side effects.10 However, like any food, they can cause some people to experience digestive issues or allergic reactions.

Some potential side effects of consuming chia seeds include:

·         Digestive issues: Chia seeds are high in fibre, which can cause bloating, gas, or diarrhoea if consumed in large amounts11

·         Allergic reactions: Although rare, some people may be allergic to chia seeds, which can cause symptoms such as itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing12

·         Interactions with medications: Chia seeds may interfere with some medications, such as blood thinners and supplements that affect blood pressure13

How much is enough

There is no recommended daily intake for chia seeds as they are not considered an essential nutrient. However, the European Union has approved the sale of unprocessed chia seeds with a maximum daily intake of up to 15 grams, which is about 1 tablespoon of chia seeds.14 If you are not used to consuming a lot of fibre, it's best to start with a small serving of chia seeds and gradually increase your intake as your body gets used to them. 


Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that affects the endocrine and reproductive systems. The cause of PCOS is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Recent studies have found that the introduction of chia seeds in PCOS patients’ diet can have several benefits. Some of the benefits for PCOS patients are helping manage their weight, controlling blood sugar, and supporting heart health and inflammation reduction. It is suggested not to consume over 15 grams of chia seeds per day. While chia seeds may have health benefits, they should not be a replacement for medical treatment for PCOS or any other health condition.


  1. Ajmal N, Khan SZ, Shaikh R. Polycystic ovary syndrome (Pcos) and genetic predisposition: A review article. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology: X [Internet]. 2019 Jul 1 [cited 2023 Jan 14];3:100060. Available from:
  2. CDC. Pcos (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and diabetes [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020 [cited 2023 Jan 14]. Available from:
  3. Polycystic ovary syndrome - Symptoms [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Jan 14]. Available from:
  4. Knez Hrnčič M, Ivanovski M, Cör D, Knez Ž. Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica l.): an overview—phytochemical profile, isolation methods, and application. Molecules [Internet]. 2019 Dec 18 [cited 2023 Jan 14];25(1):11. Available from:
  5. Polycystic ovary syndrome - Treatment [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Jan 14]. Available from:
  6. Ullah R, Nadeem M, Khalique A, Imran M, Mehmood S, Javid A, et al. Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review. J Food Sci Technol [Internet]. 2016 Apr [cited 2023 Jan 14];53(4):1750–8. Available from:
  7. Ramachandran S, Nikitha J, Gopi C, Amala M, Dhanaraju MD. Effect of Prunus dulcis and Salvia hispenica in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome in Wistar rats. J Taibah Univ Med Sci [Internet]. 2020 Mar 19 [cited 2023 Jan 14];15(2):122–8. Available from:
  8. Sharma(MBBS) DP. Chia seeds for pcos: do they really work? Read on to find out! [Internet]. PhableCare. 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 14]. Available from:
  9. Boston 677 Huntington Avenue, Ma 02115 +1495‑1000. Chia seeds [Internet]. The Nutrition Source. 2018 [cited 2023 Jan 14]. Available from:
  10. Turck D, Castenmiller J, de Henauw S, Hirsch‐Ernst KI, Kearney J, Maciuk A, et al. Safety of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) as a novel food for extended uses pursuant to Regulation (Eu) 2015/2283. EFSA J [Internet]. 2019 Apr 17 [cited 2023 Jan 14];17(4):e05657. Available from:
  11. Health NRC (US) C on D and. Dietary fiber [Internet]. National Academies Press (US); 1989 [cited 2023 Jan 14]. Available from:
  12. García Jiménez S, Pastor Vargas C, de las Heras M, Sanz Maroto A, Vivanco F, Sastre J. Allergen characterization of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica), a new allergenic food. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2015;25(1):55–6.
  13. Ulbricht C, Chao W, Nummy K, Rusie E, Tanguay-Colucci S, Iannuzzi CM, et al. Chia (Salvia hispanica): a systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration. Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2009 Sep;4(3):168–74.Eur-lex - 32013d0050 - en - eur-lex [Internet]. [cited 2023 J
  14. an 14]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Joana Carneiro

Masters of Public Health - Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Lisboa

Joana is a recent graduate, who has a Degree in Biomedical Sciences and a Master's Degree in Public Health. She has more than two years of experience working as a healthcare professional in both private and public settings and more than 4 years of experience working as a volunteer in a non-profit organization, helping disadvantaged communities. Joana is passionate about public health, specifically about everything related to health education, health communication and health equity.

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