Top 3 Supplements for PCOS

Find out which three supplements Dr. Cutler recommends the most frequently for her clients with PCOS, and why.

FAQ: What supplements Should I take for PCOS?

This is one of my most frequently asked questions from women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in my private practice and on social media. My answer will depend on the type of PCOS you have, your symptoms, your lifestyle, possible deficiencies, and other factors. However, there are three supplements that come out on top in terms of high-quality research, benefits, and little likelihood of harm.

It is important to state that managing PCOS is complex and therefore requires a combination of supplements and lifestyle changes. As their name implies, supplements are merely a ‘supplement’ to a healthy lifestyle grounded in sound nutrition, daily movement, adequate sleep and rest, stress management, a support network, and mindset work.

MAGNESIUM

Women with PCOS are up to 19 times more likely to be deficient in magnesium than the rest of the population. While we’re not sure why this is, it is concerning because low levels of magnesium can increase our risk of type 2 diabetes. Women with PCOS are already at increased risk of developing diabetes!

During my PhD I published a clinical study in Food Science & Nutrition which assessed dietary intake in women with and without PCOS. One of the findings was that magnesium intake was decreased in women with insulin-resistant PCOS. Also, the more magnesium that women with PCOS consumed, the lower their testosterone and inflammation were.

Supplementing can benefit in several ways. There is plenty of research on the benefits of magnesium for the general population which may also apply for PCOS. Studies have shown magnesium can help address insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, improve PMS symptoms, and lower blood pressure. These are all commonly seen and experienced by women with PCOS.

Natural Calm Magnesium Iced Tea
Photo by Dylan Cutler

I supplement with Natural Calm magnesium citrate to ensure I am consuming enough magnesium each day. The raspberry-lemon flavor makes a delicious hot or iced tea (recipe here)! The recommended daily amount of magnesium for a women over 19 is 320 mg a day.

Omega-3

Along with the brain and mood-boosting benefits that omega-3 fats are known for, like reducing anxiety and depression (previously discussed here), they also have specific implications for women with PCOS.

Supplementing with omega-3 may help regulate periods and decrease testosterone. Omega-3 can also lower reproductive hormones such as LH and the LH to FSH ratio (typically increased in PCOS). Finally, omega-3 has been shown to increase adiponectin which is an anti-inflammatory cytokine.

Photo by Tatyana Nekrasova

I recommend an algae-based omega-3 supplement instead of a fish oil supplement as fish oil can be contaminated with environmental pollutants, such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Vitamin D

Women with PCOS are more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D than women without PCOS. These low levels have even been linked to insulin resistance, obesity, infertility, and hirsutism associated with PCOS.

Studies show that when women with PCOS supplement with vitamin D, insulin and glucose levels seem to improve, inflammation subsides, and testosterone decreases.

While the best source of vitamin D is the sun, this option is limited if we live in the Northern hemisphere, wear sunscreen, or stay indoors. Therefore, supplementing can help.

Photo by Brian Garcia

When choosing a vitamin D supplement, look for D3 and at least 1500-2000 IU a day (recommended by The Endocrine Practice Committee). For vegans, be aware that some D3 supplements are vegan while others aren’t. I take a vitamin D plus B12 together (15% off code: DylanCutler15) as B12 is a must to supplement for vegans (and even some vegetarians and carnivores).

This article is sponsored by Natural Calm Canada.

In health, Dr. Dylan Cutler

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Top 3 Supplements for PCOS

Disclaimer: As the sole author of Phruitful Dish, I have based my posts on my own experiences and personal knowledge. However, I am not a medical doctor. The information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Nutritional and supplemental choices should be made in consultation with your health care provider. This blog is intended to inspire and encourage readers to educate themselves on how nutrition and lifestyle are important and often overlooked aspects of health. Therefore, please use the information at your own risk. Occasional links may be provided leading to third party websites. The existence of these links does not infer a responsibility or an endorsement of the linked site, its operator, or its contents.

How I Manage Stress with Secretly Calming Iced Tea

Stress can strike at any time, even on a warm summer’s day. Learn why managing stress is important and how this iced tea can help.

We are all aware that stress can strike at any time. Yes, even on a warm midsummer’s day. Read on to learn why adding magnesium to iced tea can help cool and chill you out.

Why is managing stress important?

When we experience a stressful event, specific hormones are released to protect our bodies. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, is secreted to combat stress. However, when we are exposed to stress over a long period of time, excess cortisol released can cause immunosuppression. This is why chronic stress is thought to be responsible for many health conditions. For example, highly-stressed type A personalities are often at higher risk of a heart problem, such as a stroke or heart attack. Stress can also impact people with and at risk for type 2 diabetes by further increasing blood sugar levels. Chronic stress can also lead to other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Fortunately, finding ways to manage stress can be very effective at decreasing our risk of health complications.

Manage Stress with Natural Calm Magnesium Iced Tea

The link between stress and magnesium

The connection between magnesium and stress is interesting because magnesium deficiencies affect our ability to respond to stressful situations, but also, stress depletes magnesium in our bodies! When we are in a state of stress, we excrete more magnesium in our urine. Magnesium is crucial for combating stress because it downregulates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis reducing cortisol production. Evidence suggests that supplementing with magnesium may reduce anxiety, depression, and support stress management.

How I supplement with magnesium

We can increase our stress-fighting powers and make sipping magnesium citrate powder even more delicious by adding it to a calming tea, like lavender, lemon balm, passionflower, or chamomile. Ginseng, an adaptogenic antioxidant often found in tea, has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety through regulating the HPA axis.

Manage Stress with Natural Calm Magnesium Iced Tea
Blueberry Lemon Ginseng Iced Tea with Raspberry-Lemon Magnesium Powder

For more on mood-boosting teas and spices check out this post.

This article is sponsored by Natural Calm Canada.

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Manage Stress with Secretly Calming Iced Tea