Written by: Dr. Amy Beckley, PhD, Founder and Inventor of the Proov test — the first and only FDA-cleared test to confirm successful ovulation at home.
Written on 8/20/21
Plenty of research has been done on supplements that can help PCOS patients manage their symptoms.
For those with PCOS, Proov Confirm offered a new way to track their cycles and confirm whether or not they ovulated. This was a critical innovation as many people with PCOS had difficulty tracking their cycles due to constantly elevated LH levels and lack of ovulation.
But PCOS can bring long term symptoms and challenges. Luckily, plenty of research has been done on supplements that can help PCOS patients manage their symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about 5 supplements that can improve PCOS symptoms.
But first...what is PCOS?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a reproductive disorder that affects about 5-10% of women. While PCOS may present itself differently in every case, most patients have at least 2 of the 3 following issues:
- Anovulation (i.e. a lack of ovulation)
- Excess androgens, which are male sex hormones, the most common being testosterone
- Polycystic ovaries, meaning the ovaries have many cysts on them
These issues can cause an overall hormonal imbalance that can lead to unwanted symptoms, such as:
- Long menstrual cycles (over 35 days) and irregular periods
- Extra facial and body hair (due to excess androgens)
- Severe acne
- Male-pattern baldness
- Insulin resistance
Additionally, PCOS can make it more difficult to conceive. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, PCOS is one of the main causes of infertility in women. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or are concerned about PCOS, we recommend consulting your doctor.
How is PCOS treated?
While there is no cure for PCOS, there are a few common ways to manage symptoms. The first is lifestyle changes, such as incorporating daily exercise or changing your diet, to encourage weight loss. Losing weight can help improve insulin resistance, your menstrual cycle regularity, and overall hormone balance.
Some doctors may recommend birth control or hormone medications. It’s best to discuss these options with your doctor to determine the best course of action for your unique situation.
Finally, many women with PCOS have found success in managing their symptoms with over-the-counter supplements. While a lot of success with supplements is anecdotal (which you’ll find in any category), we’ve gathered 5 common supplements for PCOS that actually have scientific evidence to support them.
Many women with PCOS have found success in managing their symptoms with over-the-counter supplements.
5 Supplements for PCOS
It’s important to note that we recommend consulting your doctor before adding any new supplements to your regimen. We’re just here to provide you with some options to discuss with them!
Inositol is one of the most common supplements used for PCOS and luckily, there is a lot of research to support its effectiveness. It has been shown to help many aspects of PCOS, including improving insulin resistance and regulating menstrual cycles.
Other studies have shown that inositol can improve overall ovarian function in women. This is a pretty powerful supplement!
It’s important to note that there are actually two different forms of inositol: myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol. While both forms have been shown to help women with PCOS, studies show that myo-inositol has the best effect on metabolism, while d-chiro-inositol was better at reducing androgen levels.
If you’re looking for a good inositol supplement, you may want to consider Ovasitol because it contains both myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol.
Magnesium is actually an important mineral for overall health, as it reduces the risk of serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, stroke, and diabetes, among others. (Pass the magnesium!)
For women with PCOS, magnesium may be able to help with insulin resistance. One study found that supplementing with magnesium at night improved blood glucose and insulin levels.
Additionally, a new study conducted on women with PCOS found that taking magnesium and melatonin at night improved sleep quality, testosterone levels, and insulin resistance. If you’re looking for magnesium and melatonin supplements to help with PCOS symptoms, we love Theratonin and Remplir!
3. Vitex (chaste tree berry)
Vitex is a common supplement in the women’s health world, as it has been shown in studies to increase progesterone production. Low progesterone following ovulation is one of the main causes of infertility in women.
In the same study, researchers found that vitex can also help balance testosterone levels, which of course is beneficial for those with PCOS. Studies also show it may improve obesity and insulin levels in women with PCOS.
4. Fish oil (omega 3 fatty acids)
Like magnesium, the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil can contribute to overall health and should be incorporated into any diet. Omega 3 fatty acids can help prevent blood clotting, inflammation, heart disease, and may even protect against some cancers.
In women with PCOS specifically, omega 3 fatty acids can aid in reducing testosterone levels and regulating their menstrual cycles.
If you’re not into fish oil supplements, you can also get omega 3 fatty acids from your food! Omega 3s are found in many different types of seafood (mackerel, salmon, and cod are a few of the top sources), but you can also get omega 3s from flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in many different types of seafood, such as salmon, mackerel, and cod.
Zinc is another mineral essential for overall health. It also plays a critical role in fertility.
Zinc has been shown to reduce excess hair and acne in women with PCOS. It can also help with mood swings, weight management, and other issues that may be related to excess testosterone.
While there are many ways to manage PCOS symptoms, knowing which supplements are most effective can help you develop the best possible treatment plan together with your doctor!