I’m often asked about supplementation with PCOS and of course there’s lots to say on this topic!
First, supplementation isn’t a magic solution. PCOS is a complex metabolic disorder and the ways it effects egg quality are varied. Many of the underlying issues of PCOS like insulin resistance, adrenal issues, and inflammation can play a role in egg quality issues.
At it’s core, the body stick to one rule: survival over fertility.
Because of this, taking a supplement or two won’t be enough to overpower a diet and lifestyle that has the body in survival mode.
However, those of us with PCOS know that a good supplement routine can make a huge difference and bridge some of the natural gaps that we have in our health. These are my favorite supplements to use with PCOS, especially when trying to conceive and why.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Which ones: My favorites are therapeutic grade and only available through a qualified practitioner (clients and PCOS group members can find them in my shop here) One of my favorite practitioner grade brands (Thorne) does offer great quality probiotics online. One of the ones I use most often is Floramend (find it here) but they also have a great quiz to help you identify the right formula for you (here)
Why: Probiotics can play an important role in gut health. At first glance this may not seem to be connected to fertility, but our gut health is really the core of our whole health. So much of the inflammation we experience in PCOS stems from here, so it’s very important to support it. Eating a healthy diet and getting lots of beneficial fibers helps with this, but probiotics can take it up a notch.
Which ones: It’s very important to have your levels tested so that you know how much to take. Check your other supplements as well because many contain some vitamin d. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and levels are best kept around 50 ng/ml. This is a home test kit I recommend. My favorite Vitamin D supplements contain k2 as well and this helps with the absorption and preventing some of the effects of too much Vitamin D. I like this dropper bottle of D3.
Why: Vitamin D deficiency is common in PCOS and it can be a contributor to ovulatory issues. Making sure your levels are in the right range can play a role in fertility as well as immune and bone health.
Which ones: The best inositol is a 40:1 combination of myo inositol and d-chiro inositol. This is the ratio naturally found in the body. Ovasitol (here) is the usually recommended one. I actually like something called Sensitol (here) as well because it contains Alpha Lipoic Acid, helpful for insulin resistance, as well.
Why: The inositols are helpful for menstrual regularity and have been found to improve the amount of ovulations that occur in those with PCOS. They do this by impacting insulin resistance.
Which ones: There are a lot of great functional brands out there. If you like the convenience of having everything in one, Prenatal Pro is a great one (here) – you’ll need to add a fish oil though. If you would rather have things separate, I love Thorne’s Basic Prenatal (here) and often add phosphatidyl choline (here) and their fish oil (here). They have a fertility bundle that combines a few of these for a discount (here)
Why: In PCOS there are often nutrient deficiencies in things like choline, zinc, DHA/EPA, and B-vitamins. When trying to conceive, I think it makes sense to take a high quality prenatal that contains methylated (pre-broken down) b-vitamins, choline, fish oils, etc. Prenatals help bridge the gap that our diets just can’t always meet.
N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
Which one: Find it here.
Why: One of my favorite products for egg quality, it helps improve the quality of eggs and is protective of follicles because it helps produce a potent antioxidant. As of May 2021, NAC is currently out of stock almost everywhere due to some issues in the supply chain. You can preorder here. Or you can take liposomal glutathione, which accomplishes very similar outcomes.
Which one: One of the better absorbed versions of Co-Q-10 is here.
Why: Co-Q-10 is another nutrient that has been well-studied and found to improve egg quality.
Everyone is different and the right supplement routine for you will look different than for someone else. I recommend working with a professional if you can. If you’re interested in working with me, you can apply for a discovery session here. You can also join my PCOS group where we talk more deeply about supplements and fertility and you can ask me questions.
Remember, with all of these supplements, consult your doctor before adding them to your routine. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or provide medical advice.