I often compare my polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with fighting the dragon of chaos that Jordan Peterson talks about. I have been at war for years. I have won a few battles by changing my diet through cutting out sugar, dairy, soy, gluten, trans fats, and anything processed, while also supplementing with the right things.
While treating your polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) symptoms with diet is essential, supplements contain higher doses of the nutrients needed for PCOS than found in reasonable portions of food. Therefore, it is a good idea to supplement as well, especially while you are still trying to find the ideal diet for you.
I love supplements. I always have. But when I was diagnosed with PCOS and started trying out various supplements, I started to become annoyed with having to take so many pills, and narrowed my list of supplements down to only the best ones that would have the biggest impact.
Here is a list of the six best supplements to take if you want to balance your hormones and improve your PCOS symptoms:
If you do not take anything else, take folate. Most women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have a folate deficiency, which is why doctors usually recommend that you take folic acid, which is the synthetic form of folate. The reason why I recommend that you take folate (in particular, methylated folate) is because if you have the MTHFR gene mutation, which a lot of women with PCOS do, your body will not be able to convert folic acid into its active form. Methylated folate is easy to absorb.
Folate is also necessary for healthy DNA and egg production. Pregnant women are advised to supplement with folate
Folate is also found in foods, such as liver, leafy green vegetables like spinach and swiss chard, beets, eggs, and asparagus. Even when supplementing, it is still important to get some from your food.
Inositol is found in two forms, namely myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol. They can be described as vitamin-like compounds. It is highly recommended that you take both. Inositol is used in the treatment of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, and can even help regulate insulin, which is why it is prescribed to people with diabetes or Polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Many doctors prescribe taking Metformin, but it can have a lot of side effects, such as nausea, diarrhoea, low levels of vitamin B12, and weakness. Taking inositol is a great alternative, and can actually be more effective than metformin.
Taking inositol can also increase your chances of becoming pregnant with PCOS. Even if you do not want to become pregnant soon, it is a good idea to start supplementing with inositol now, so that you will have a better chance in the future. If you can get your body to be as healthy as possible, your chances of having a baby with polycystic ovarian syndrome will increase.
DIM is a compound derived from cruciferous vegetables that can help reduce high androgen levels and lower oestrogen when too high. 200mg a day is recommended. When my period did not end for a year and a half because my progesterone levels were too low, taking DIM helped restore the oestrogen balance in my body, which then allowed progesterone to increase and my period to finally stop.
You can also add more cruciferous vegetables to your diet, such as cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Vitamin B6 & B12
A vitamin B deficiency is a common symptom amongst women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. You can find it in foods, such as meat, eggs, seeds, nuts, and dark leafy vegetables, but supplementing is still recommended, especially in the beginning. If you are taking metformin, you especially need to supplement, as it can lower your vitamin B12 levels.
Vitamin B12 is crucial for your mental health, and a deficiency can cause anxiety and even feelings of depression.
Vitamin B6 is needed to produce serotonin in your brain as well. A serotonin deficiency can make you feel anxious or depressed, and it can even trigger impulsive behaviour, such as binge eating or buying sweets impulsively at the counter in the store. Balancing serotonin levels in your brain can therefore help with weight loss as well. Having PCOS can make it harder to lose weight, so in this way, supplementing with vitamin B6 and B12 can help greatly.
Even if you spend a few hours in the sun per day, if you have Polycystic ovarian syndrome, you could still develop a vitamin D deficiency. A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to high insulin levels, anxiety and depression, and high triglyceride levels, which are all associated with PCOS.
Therefore, I highly recommend supplementing with vitamin D3, as it can help improve your fertility, improve your mood, and help two of the most common PCOS symptoms: hyperandrogenism and insulin resistance.
If you want to supplement, choose a vitamin D3 supplement of at least 1000 IUs. If you have anxiety or depression, you can go up to 5000 IUs.
As polycystic ovarian syndrome causes inflammation in the body, supplementing with omega-3, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties is recommended. If you eat a lot more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, and levels of the two hormones become imbalanced, it can cause inflammation. Therefore, eating fatty fish, supplementing with fish oil, or eating plant sources of omega-3 like flaxseed, walnuts, and chia seeds is recommended.
If you are vegan or vegetarian and you only consume plant sources of omega-3, know that plant sources of omega-3 contain the type of omega-3 fats known as alpha-linolenic (ALA), which needs to be converted to the usable forms, known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your body can only convert small amounts, however.
So, there you go. My top six supplements for treating polycystic ovarian syndrome. It takes time to see results, and you need to be patient and consistent. But if you just give it a few months, you might see a drastic improvement in your PCOS symptoms.