How Does PCOS Affect Fertility?
Before we discuss the best supplement for PCOS fertility, let’s rewind a bit. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine condition (aka hormonal condition) that affects many women. While this condition can impact women in all stages of life, one of the most common concerns is how it will impact fertility. Insulin resistance and elevated androgens can impact ovulation, causing irregular cycles or anovulation (not ovulating).
When it comes to that TTC life (trying to conceive), you may take a deep dive into everything that the internet says you should be doing to better your chances of those two pink lines. This is probably more true for those women with PCOS. So many women are diagnosed with PCOS and told that they may have difficulty conceiving, they may not be able to get pregnant, or oftentimes, just go on birth control and come back when you’re trying to get pregnant. So naturally, women with PCOS are stressed out when they decide they want to get pregnant.
How to Treat PCOS
Diet, lifestyle changes, medications, and even some supplements may be beneficial in the treatment of PCOS symptoms, including irregular cycles, anovulation, and infertility. Work with your healthcare team to determine your treatment plan. Learn more about our diet recommendations for PCOS:
So what is the best supplement for PCOS fertility?
Now the biggest disclaimer here is that supplementation varies depending on your unique situation, health goals, and lab work! Today we’ll run through some of the popular supplements for PCOS but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. Work with your healthcare team (which hopefully includes an RD well versed in PCOS treatment) to determine what is right for you.
8 Supplements for PCOS that May Improve Fertility
Medications can deplete certain micronutrients from our bodies. Oral contraceptives deplete folate, B6, and B12, and metformin depletes B12. Taking a prenatal before you conceive can help make sure you have adequate nutrients stored to support a healthy pregnancy.
Omega 3’s can decrease inflammation and are involved in oocyte development. They are also needed to support a healthy pregnancy. Many prenatal multivitamins contain some DHA, but the recommended intake of 1-4 grams per day may require a second supplement. You can also increase your intake of fatty fish for more DHA and EPA. (1)
Inositol is a popular supplement in the PCOS space. It’s a type of carbohydrate that has been studied quite a bit. It can act similarly to metformin and improve insulin sensitivity. While many supplements may contain inositol, they often do not contain the amount that is needed. The recommended dose is 2-4 grams per day. (1)
4. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
NAC is an antioxidant that may be beneficial for insulin resistance, lowering inflammation, and lowering androgens. (1)
5. Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that can also help with blood sugar regulation and improved egg quality. (2)
6. Vitamin D
While vitamin D can be synthesized with sun exposure, if you are deficient, you would likely benefit from a supplement. Over 30 nmol/L is considered “within normal limits”, but it can be helpful for fertility for labs to be upwards of 40-50 nmol/L. Vitamin D may improve ovulation, IVF outcomes, and pregnancy rates. (1)
7. CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 is another antioxidant that may improve egg quality, decrease inflammation and insulin levels, and improve endometrial thickness. (1)
While melatonin is widely used to help people sleep better, it is also an antioxidant that has been studied in the context of IVF to improve the quality of eggs and embryos. It may also help in the context of PCOS and improve cycle regularity. (2)
So Should I Add All of these Supplements to my Online Cart?
No. I highly recommend speaking with a professional about your specific situation – whether that be your OBGYN, endocrinologist, reproductive endocrinologist, or RD trained in PCOS management. There are labs that can be drawn to assess whether several of these supplements are warranted. Several of these supplements can improve insulin sensitivity and decrease blood sugar so you want to be conservative in your approach particularly if on blood sugar lowering medications.
The other consideration here is that supplements do just that. They supplement diet, lifestyle, and medication changes. They can be beneficial to add alongside a balanced diet, quality and sufficient sleep, stress management, movement, and if needed, medication.
Looking for More Blogs on Fertility?
Check these out!
- Do I Need to Lose Weight for Fertility?
- Should I be Seed Cycling for Fertility?
- Hormone Balancing Diet for Fertility Part 1: Fats
- Hormone Balancing Diet for Fertility Part 2: Balance and Variety
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.