Anyone who has PCOS will know that treating or managing symptoms is highly individualized since symptoms might be different for each person. A doctor might recommend eating healthy and exercising for weight loss. Or it might be advisable to go on birth control to regulate cycles. And if one of the symptoms is hirsutism (unwanted, male-pattern hair growth), it could be helpful to take medication that can slow growth.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by an imbalance in hormones. Some women who have the condition might experience irregular menstrual periods; infertility; obesity; excess hair growth; severe acne; patches of thickened, darkened skin; and multiple fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The health problem is a common one, as it affects one in 10 women of childbearing age.
While there is a variety of ways to manage symptoms, another option would be to look into supplements. We asked Sarah Rueven, RD, MS, CDN, founder of Rooted Wellness, to share which supplements you might want to consider. Take a look at which nutrients she recommended, and check out our editors' picks for supplements to buy. It's important to note, though, that since symptoms are highly individualized, you'll want to discuss your supplement options with your doctor before you start taking them.
According to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin B12 helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. "Many women with PCOS are prescribed metformin, a medicine which helps combat insulin resistance," Rueven says. "Unfortunately, metformin can reduce absorption of vitamin B12 and lead to a B12 deficiency and subsequently, anemia. Women taking metformin should get their B12 levels checked regularly and consider taking a supplement."
"The supplement myoinositol has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, egg quality, and restore ovulation in women with PCOS. It may be especially beneficial for women with PCOS who are struggling to get pregnant," Rueven says.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
"It is a powerful antioxidant which can help to reduce inflammation, improve insulin resistance, and balance hormones. Studies have shown that when taken with the fertility drug Clomid, NAC can help boost ovulation and fertility," Rueven says.
You need vitamin D for strong bones, as it helps the body absorb calcium. "Studies have shown that women with PCOS have higher rates of vitamin D deficiency," Rueven says. "Women with PCOS should get their vitamin D levels checked regularly and supplement as needed."