If you are searching for supplements that may help with PCOS symptoms, you have come to the right place! Because PCOS can create unique hormonal symptoms and side effects, women with PCOS can benefit greatly from taking the correct supplements. The most effective way to treat PCOS is through lifestyle modifications, which include diet, movement, and supplementation. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to curate the Top 5 supplements we recommend for PCOS:
70% of women with PCOS experience insulin resistance. Inositol is a member of the B-vitamin family, and it influences insulin sensitivity. This supplement can help your body respond to insulin normally. Studies show that supplementing with inositol can reduce androgen levels and improve insulin levels in women with PCOS. If you aren’t quite sure about taking inositol in pill form, you can access it naturally by eating fruits, beans, grains, and nuts!
A B-complex vitamin provides many benefits. B vitamins are critical in energy production, hormone regulation, metabolism and immune activity. When taken regularly, hormonal and metabolic patterns become more stable and can influence positive reproductive outcomes. B vitamins such as folate, B6, and B12 provide optimal hormonal balance and reduce inflammation.
Foods that are great sources of B vitamins include whole grains, meat, eggs, dairy, legumes, seeds, nuts, dark and leafy vegetables. Getting B-vitamins through food is important; however, supplementation is important if you’re deficient in B vitamins.
Also, it’s important to take a B-vitamin complex rather than a single B vitamin. Always take your B vitamin complex supplement in the morning. This supplement will give you energy – taking it at night can interfere with sleep.
Fish oil is a healthy way to get your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s play a powerful role in reducing inflammation, which can be highly beneficial for women with PCOS. Fish oil (in pill form or from fatty fish such as Salmon, Herring, and Anchovies) also improves insulin resistance and reduces cholesterol and triglycerides in women with PCOS. You can also get omega-3 fatty acids from eating plant-based foods such as flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds and soybeans.
Many American women do not get enough zinc in their normal diet. Plus, many women with PCOS have lower zinc levels than those without the condition. Research suggests that insulin resistance and high cholesterol may be associated with lower Zinc levels. As a result, supplementing zinc is a great option for women with PCOS. Increasing zinc levels may alleviate PCOS symptoms such as hair loss and acne. Zinc also acts as an antioxidant, meaning it can help to reduce inflammation.
Foods high in zinc include shellfish, meat, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Taking a zinc supplement can be very helpful in treating PCOS symptoms; however, zinc supplements should be used in addition to (not as a supplement for!) a solid anti-inflammatory diet and balanced lifestyle.
We know that calcium and vitamin D are key to maintaining healthy bones. However, for women with PCOS, increasing vitamin D and calcium can also improve the following PCOS symptoms: infertility, insulin resistance, inflammation, and may even reduce androgen production.
If you have PCOS, you are three times more likely to have a deficiency in vitamin D! A Vitamin D deficiency can increase insulin resistance and menstrual irregularities. Therefore, vitamin D supplementation can be useful in treating PCOS symptoms. Where does calcium come in?
Your body needs vitamin D to synthesize calcium within your bones. If your vitamin D levels are low, your body is unable to absorb enough calcium. Therefore, most of us who have a vitamin D sufficiency also have a calcium deficiency.
While we would all love to get all our essential vitamins and minerals through food and a healthy lifestyle alone, it’s not always possible.
What to Do Next
Thankfully there is a way to supplement what you’re missing! It’s a good idea to speak with a dietitian (aka US!) about supplementation for PCOS symptoms – especially if you find you have deficiencies that may be contributing factors to worsening these symptoms.
To read more about foods to avoid, foods to eat, and how to make easy changes as part of a healthy PCOS diet, download our PCOS Nutrition Guide.
Brittany Linn is a Registered Dietitian at OnPoint Nutrition. She is a compassionate dietitian with over 10 years of diverse experience in the wellness, coaching, and nutrition education world. Her ultimate objective for each person she works with is to teach them how to create lasting wellness habits and increase their confidence around food and within themselves.