Types of PCOS supplements
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition and hormonal imbalance that affects many women.
The exact cause is unknown and unfortunately there is no cure but you can get extra help with your symptoms, even if you're already doing everything you can to exercise and eat right.
While most people can get all of their nutrients through food, some people may choose to take a daily nutritional supplement. Here are some important nutrients to consider if you have PCOS, and you're interested in taking natural PCOS supplements.
If you’re planning on getting pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy, you’ll need to take a daily folic acid supplement, as well as eating high-folate foods. Folate is found naturally in foods like leafy green vegetables, citrus fruit, pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas) and nuts. You should take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day before you're pregnant and until you're 12 weeks pregnant. Some women may need to take higher doses, (e.g., if you have diabetes), so it’s best to check with your doctor. Taking a folic acid supplement increases your maternal folate status. Low maternal folate status is a risk factor in the development of neural tube defects in the developing foetus.
Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, teeth and muscles. It also helps you to use and absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are important for bone health. You can get vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, eggs, fat spreads and fortified products such as breakfast cereals and soy milk. Sunlight is also an important source of Vitamin D. But in the UK, it can be difficult to get enough Vitamin D from food and sunlight alone, especially during the dreary Autumn and Winter months.
Because of this, the UK government recommends that everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a 10mcg (400IU) vitamin D supplement every day during the autumn and winter months.
Myo-Inositol and PCOS
Myo-Inositol occurs naturally in foods such as fruits, beans, grains, and nuts. There’s a lot of interest in this vitamin-like substance and its potential role in PCOS and fertility. Myo-Inositol supplements (4000mg daily) have been shown in studies to:
• Improve the action of insulin
• Reduce testosterone levels
• Improve acne symptoms (after 6 months of taking the supplements)
• Improve menstrual cycle regularity
• Improve egg quality, fertility, and pregnancy rates in women with PCOS.
There’s accumulating research on Myo-Inositol supplements and PCOS and things are looking really promising. However, there are currently no approved health claims for PCOS.
Chromium is an essential trace element that can be found in our food (e.g meat, nuts and cereals). It plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels and the metabolism of macronutrients. Dietary supplements contain many forms of chromium, including chromium picolinate, which has been extensively researched in PCOS.
Other Important Vitamins and Nutrients for PCOS
Many of the B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and folicacid can help combat tiredness; a common symptom of PCOS. Another important vitamin is B6, which contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity. Dietary sources of B vitamins include seeds, nuts, beans, green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, animal products and supplements.
Iron and Vitamin C
Iron and vitamin C are a perfect combination. Iron contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue while vitamin C can help your body to increase absorption of this essential mineral. Iron is found in red meats, dried fruits, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, and dark green vegetables, whilst vitamin C is found in fruits especially citrus ones like oranges.
Zinc and Iodine
These trace elements are essential for health and one of their many functions is maintaining healthy skin. Animal products (such as dairy and meat) are particularly good sources of these nutrients. Plant-based sources include nuts, seeds, and wholegrains.
More information & help
For more information about our range of myo-inositol supplements and how they could help you, please visit our online shop.
Jodie Relf is a registered dietitian and qualified Pilates instructor who is passionate about empowering women to take control of their PCOS symptoms naturally.
Having personally experienced the challenges of being diagnosed with PCOS in her early twenties and feeling frustrated with the lack of evidence-based advice and treatment available, Jodie made it her mission to specialise in this area.