Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormone issue that affects around 10% of women. No two women experience PCOS the exact same way, but common symptoms include fertility issues, unwanted hair growth, and even insulin resistance (which may lead to more serious health issues down the road).
While there isn’t currently a cure for PCOS, research has shown that certain steps can be taken to help minimize symptoms and live a happier, more comfortable life—with fewer disruptions caused by ovarian dysfunction. Natural supplements, in particular, have proven to be very effective in fighting PCOS symptoms without some of the uncomfortable side effects caused by prescription-strength medications.
As for which supplements make sense for which symptoms, we’ll get into all of that, so you can choose the best path forward for you. We sifted through the data and found the best supplements for minimizing the damaging effects of PCOS, making it easier to live your life to the fullest.
Best Supplements For PCOS
Inositols are natural sugars that have similar molecular compositions to glucose. They have a few uses, but are especially good at combating insulin resistance, one of the most common and serious complications of PCOS. Studies have shown that inositols increase metabolic function, helping you lose weight and have more regular periods. It’s no wonder these mighty little sugars are becoming a go-to supplement for the treatment of PCOS.
Pro Tip: Make sure to look for supplements with Myo-inositol and D-Chiro-Inositol, specifically at a 40:1 ratio (ideal & naturally-occuring ratio in the human body) as these are the most important inositols for helping support healthy ovarian function.
Due to the hormone imbalances caused by PCOS, women in the community often suffer from hormonal acne. While totally eliminating this issue can be hard, studies show certain supplements can help women with PCOS achieve clearer, healthier skin.
One potentially effective supplement for PCOS-related acne is DIM. DIM, or diindolylmethane, is a compound found in certain vegetables, and it works to eliminate excess androgens, such as testosterone. This is important because more testosterone means more sebum production, which can clog pores and lead to annoying blemishes. By helping balance your hormone levels, a DIM supplement can fight PCOS-related acne right at the source.
Depending on where you are in your fertility journey, you may have already heard about folic acid. The synthetic form of a vitamin called folate, folic acid is a common prenatal vitamin that helps encourage healthy eggs & fetal development, and overall reproductive health.
While many women take folic acid, these fertility benefits can be especially helpful for PCOS.
In fact, one study showed that folic acid, taken along with inositols, drastically increased ovulation in women with PCOS (and even helped many women get pregnant via IVF!). And there was another benefit: that same study recorded zero side effects. That means healthier ovaries, more regular periods, and increased reproductive health—without added pain or discomfort.
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that's most commonly found in turmeric. That's right: the same spice that flavors delicious foods like curries can have real health benefits. Scientists have studied curcumin in the management of a wide variety of diseases, joint health, and, you guessed it, PCOS.
Curcumin works in two ways. First, its anti-inflammatory properties can act similarly to Ibuprofen, decreasing swelling and alleviating pain. But it’s not just a pain reliever – by combating inflammation all around the body, curcumin can also free up your internal organs to work more effectively. This makes it especially helpful for a disease like PCOS that can have wide-ranging effects on your body's systems, beginning with the ovaries.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 for short) is a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that helps your body properly process glucose. As we’ve mentioned, women with PCOS often experience insulin resistance, which puts them at risk for Type 2 Diabetes. CoQ10 helps your body metabolize glucose, which helps lower blood sugar, and could even help prevent some of the more serious consequences of PCOS-related insulin resistance.
Bonus Benefit: Due to its effectiveness in dealing with metabolic pathways, CoQ10 has also been shown to decrease testosterone levels. This can help mitigate hirsutism and help eliminate excess face & body hair caused by hormone imbalances.
Other Ways to Fight PCOS
PCOS is a complex disease and it can take a complex plan to fight it. While supplements can be extremely helpful, they often work best in conjunction with other treatments. Regular exercise and a PCOS-friendly diet are just a couple of the other tools available to you when it comes to tackling your symptoms.
Above all, please consult your doctor to figure out a treatment plan that makes the most sense for you.