10 Best Supplements for Annoying PCOS Symptoms
From unwanted hair growth to weight gain to irregular cycles, there are many annoying symptoms that can occur with PCOS. This article includes ten of the best supplements to help manage polycystic ovary syndrome.
PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a hormonal imbalance typically characterized by cysts on the ovaries, incomplete or unsuccessful ovulation, and excess male hormones in women.
Some of the most annoying symptoms that can occur with PCOS include unwanted hair growth, weight gain, weight loss resistance, sleep problems, gut issues, irregular cycles, and acne.
While there is no official “cure” for PCOS, many health practitioners believe it can be managed with a PCOS diet and targeted supplementation. The best PCOS supplements help manage insulin resistance, improve detoxification efforts, and encourage normal ovulation and balanced hormone levels.
Along with managing symptoms through diet and supplementation, it is thought that women with PCOS can also experience improvement by eating a real food diet with lots of fiber, getting good quality sleep, and managing stress.
10 Supplements to Consider
You can get a lot of what you need in terms of nutrients with a well balanced real food diet that is low in processed foods and sugars. But, most practitioners agree that supplements may be necessary as it can be hard to reach the levels needs of some nutrients just from your diet.
This list includes ten of the best supplements for PCOS to help manage symptoms. But, as always, you should check with your healthcare provider first to make sure these are right for you.
And, of course, this list is not exhaustive nor does it include many of the essential vitamins, minerals, or adaptogens that can help with optimal health. Recommended: Best Supplements for Women of Child-Bearing Age
Often, women with PCOS also have insulin resistance as a result of abnormal insulin function. As a result, there can be a long list of annoying symptoms that can occur, including irregular cycles, weight gain, unwanted hair growth, weight loss resistance, and more.
Inositol is a type of sugar that has effects on the insulin response in the body, among other processes. Both myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol have been studied to help women with PCOS to help manage their insulin response and to help decrease fasting blood glucose.
In women with PCOS, supplementation with d-chiro-inositol was found to regulate insulin levels, drastically reduce androgen levels in the blood, and even reduce elevated blood pressure and triglycerides.
While more research is needed, it is thought that supplementing with inositol may help decrease weight gain, decrease unwanted hair growth, and improve cycle regularity in women with PCOS.
While melatonin can help improve sleep quality, it has also been found to help with fertility by improving follicle development in women with PCOS. It is also thought that melatonin supplements can manage tummy fat and weight gain, some of the most annoying symptoms of PCOS.
A bonus of melatonin supplementation is that it can help with sleep. Adequate sleep is important for women with PCOS or any kind of hormonal imbalance, as it allows the body to rest, restore, and detoxify.
See my other healthy sleep tips.
3. Fish Oil
Fish oil, when sourced sustainably from wild-caught coldwater fish, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. A balanced ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids is crucial, as having adequate omega-3s reduces inflammation in the body and contributes to healthy hormone function.
So, fish oil supplements may help with several of the most annoying symptoms of PCOS, including hirsutism (unwanted hair growth) and inflammation.
4. Chromium Picolinate
Chromium is an essential mineral that can only be obtained through diet or supplementation. One of its roles in the body is to help insulin perform its duties, which is why this supplement can be especially helpful for women with insulin-resistant PCOS.
Chromium picolinate, which is simply the best-absorbed form of supplemental chromium, has been found to reduce insulin resistance and stimulate ovulation in women with PCOS.
Cinnamon not only tastes great, but it’s also a master at balancing blood sugar levels. You can start adding ground cinnamon to more of your meals, but you might need to also consider a cinnamon-based supplement to get enough of it to make a difference.
Once you get your blood sugar levels under control, then it should be easier to manage your weight and energy levels. This can be especially important for women with PCOS who tend toward insulin resistance.
DIM, or diindolylmethane, is a supplement with concentrated forms of the phytochemicals present in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. Cruciferous veggies are amazing for overall health, but they’re especially helpful for helping the body get rid of excess sex hormones.
DIM can be used to help reduce the annoying symptoms of estrogen dominance, or excess levels of estrogen. DIM can help women with PCOS process and eliminate excess estrogen.
Read more about how to reverse estrogen dominance naturally.
Vitex, also known as Chasteberry, is an herbal supplement that can help regulate menstrual cycles. Research has found Vitex supplementation to be helpful in regulating irregular menstrual cycles and improving fertility in women with PCOS.
Keep in mind, though, that Vitex raises progesterone by raising LH (luteinizing hormone) levels. If LH levels are already high, as they are in some women with PCOS, you should avoid Vitex. Your doctor can help make sure that your LH levels don’t get too high with a blood test.
NAC, or N-acetyl-cysteine, is the supplement version of cysteine, which is a precursor amino acid to the antioxidant glutathione.
NAC has been shown to improve fertility and ovulation rates in women with PCOS. NAC achieves this by reducing circulating insulin, thus reducing testosterone levels, and by reducing the damage done to the ovaries by free radicals.
9. Calcium D-glucarate
Calcium D-glucarate is a supplement that can support your liver’s detoxification, regulate estrogen metabolism, and lower lipid levels. All three of these applications are helpful for women with PCOS.
Probiotics can be found in certain foods, but women with PCOS should also consider a quality probiotic supplement. We know that the health of the gut microbiome affects countless other processes in the body, so ensuring that the gut has an optimal balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria is important for overall health. One way to populate the gut with good bacteria is through probiotic supplementation or eating foods with natural probiotics.
Research found that women with PCOS often have some type of gut dysbiosis or simply a less diverse gut microbiome, which affects lipid levels, androgen levels, and insulin levels. Another factor of gut health in PCOS treatment is the inflammation that an unhealthy gut can cause.
Since PCOS can be partially attributed to chronic low-level inflammation, a healthy gut is crucial in managing PCOS. Supplementing with probiotics can improve and diversify gut flora, therefore improving symptoms of PCOS.
There are many annoying symptoms associated with PCOS, including unwanted hair growth, gut problems, weight issues, and more. This article includes 10 supplements that may help manage PCOS and even help get it under control.
That said, there are likely many other supplements that can help, so be sure to check with your healthcare provider for an individualized plan.
- The effect of nutrient supplementation in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome-associated metabolic dysfunctions: A critical review
- 10 Best Supplements For PCOS by Dr. Jolene Brighton
- The Four Essential PCOS Supplements by the PCOS Diva
Note: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations related to your individual situation.