Losing weight with PCOS can feel like a constant battle. And it is very much part and parcel of living with PCOS. But there are some supplements that can help. So, let’s talk about 5 powerful supplements for PCOS and Weight Loss.
But, before we get on to that, it might be helpful to understand why so many women with PCOS struggle with losing weight.
The Link Between PCOS and Weight
For many women with PCOS, weight gain can be one of the most frustrating symptoms to deal with. Women with PCOS may tend to gain weight more easily, especially around the abdomen. This weight gain can also make other symptoms of PCOS, such as irregular periods, acne, and excessive body hair, worse. There are several factors that can contribute to weight gain with PCOS, such as insulin resistance, increased appetite, and hormonal imbalances.
Insulin resistance is a common problem in women with PCOS and can make it difficult to lose weight. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body. Women with PCOS may have high insulin levels, which can cause the body to store energy as fat, rather than use it for energy. This can lead to weight gain, especially around the midsection. To manage insulin resistance, women with PCOS can make changes to their diet and exercise routine to help control blood sugar levels.
PCOS can also affect hormones involved in metabolism, such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Testosterone, in particular, can cause weight gain in women by increasing appetite and decreasing the body’s ability to burn fat. Estrogen and progesterone also play a role in metabolism, and fluctuations in these hormones can affect weight gain, especially during periods of rapid weight gain or weight loss.
There are a lot of things that you can do to help to lose weight with PCOS, including:
- Following a PCOS diet
- Exercising regularly
- Drinking lots of water and limiting sugary drinks
- Limiting processed foods
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing stress levels
I go into a lot more details of each of these topics in my PCOS Weight Loss Program.
In addition to all of these things, there are also some key supplements that can help you lose weight in spite of PCOS.
Inositol Can Help with PCOS and Weight Loss:
1. What is Inositol?
Inositol, sometimes called Vitamin B8, is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in the body. It plays a crucial role in insulin signaling and glucose metabolism, both of which are key to overall health. Inositol is also sometimes used for mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
2. How Can Inositol Help with PCOS and Weight Loss?
For women with PCOS, insulin resistance is often a major issue. It leads to high levels of insulin in the body – which causes high levels of testosterone production. This is why many women with PCOS experience hair and skin problems and are prone to gaining weight. Inositol increases the effectiveness of insulin and therefore reduces the need for the body to produce more of it (1). This, in turn, reduces the amount of testosterone produced. As a result, women with PCOS can experience improvements in their symptoms, including weight loss.
3. What Are the Different Types of Inositol?
When it comes to inositol supplements, there are two types you’ll come across: Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol. Myo-inositol is the more common of the two and has been extensively researched in relation to PCOS. D-chiro-inositol has also been studied, but not as extensively as myo-inositol. However, some studies suggest that a combination of the two may be more effective than one alone.
4. How Do You Take Inositol?
Inositol is available in powder, capsule, and tablet form. It’s important to choose a supplement that indicates the dosage of myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol on the label. The recommended dosage of myo-inositol is 4g per day, while D-chiro-inositol is usually taken in a 40:1 ratio to myo-inositol. It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regime.
I personally prefer to take it in powder form so that I don’t need to swallow 8 capsules per day. My favourite brand of inositol is Ovasitol which is a high quality supplement that combines D-chiro and myo-inositol. You can get Ovasitol at the best price here.
5. Potential Side Effects of Inositol
For most women, inositol is a safe supplement to take. However, some people do experience side effects, such as nausea, stomach discomfort, and headaches. These side effects are often mild and go away on their own after a few days of taking the supplement (2). It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting inositol if you have any underlying medical conditions.
Losing weight with PCOS can feel like an uphill battle, but with the help of inositol, it can be done. Inositol is a safe and natural supplement that can help regulate hormonal imbalances, improve insulin sensitivity, and support weight loss. If you have PCOS and are struggling to lose weight, talk to your doctor to see if inositol could be right for you.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – A Natural Approach to Managing PCOS and Losing Weight
1. What is N-acetylcysteine (NAC)?
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a natural supplement that has been used for decades to treat a range of conditions, including liver disease, respiratory conditions, and mental health disorders. NAC is an acetylated form of the amino acid cysteine, which helps the body produce glutathione – a powerful antioxidant that is essential for the liver to function properly. NAC has been found to have various health benefits, including reducing inflammation, inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, and supporting healthy brain function (3).
2. How does NAC help with PCOS?
Studies suggest that NAC can help address the root cause of PCOS – insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells become less sensitive to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. This leads to high levels of insulin in the blood, causing the ovaries to produce more androgens (male hormones), leading to acne, hirsutism, and weight gain.
NAC has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, reducing insulin levels in the blood and reducing symptoms associated with PCOS. Additionally, NAC has been found to have a positive effect on fertility in women with PCOS, helping to improve ovulation and regulate menstrual cycles (4).
3. How does NAC aid weight loss?
In addition to reducing insulin resistance, NAC has been shown to have a positive impact on weight loss. Studies have shown that NAC increases adiponectin levels in the body, a hormone that regulates glucose levels, supports metabolism, and promotes fat burning. NAC has also been found to reduce inflammation, which is often associated with insulin resistance and weight gain.
4. What are the recommended dosages of NAC for PCOS?
The recommended dosage of NAC for PCOS varies depending on the individual’s needs and medical history. However, several clinical studies have used doses ranging from 600 to 1,200 mg per day with positive results. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage and to ensure that NAC is safe for you to take.
5. Are there any side effects of taking NAC?
NAC is generally considered safe for most people with few side effects. However, some individuals may experience gastrointestinal upset or skin rash. Additionally, individuals with a history of asthma or bronchospasm may experience symptoms related to respiratory function. As with any supplement, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before taking NAC, particularly if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any underlying medical conditions.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Weight Loss in Women with PCOS
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and PCOS
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that the body cannot produce on its own. These healthy fats play a crucial role in heart health, brain function, and inflammation reduction. Women with PCOS have been found to have low levels of omega-3 in their bodies, making omega-3 supplements and foods essential.
2. Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acid in PCOS
Omega-3 supplements and foods have been shown to help reduce insulin resistance, improve lipid profiles, and lower inflammation levels in women with PCOS. Insulin resistance is one of PCOS’s most significant concerns because it leads to high levels of insulin, which can lead to weight gain and diabetes.
3. Omega-3 and Weight Loss in Women with PCOS
A significant benefit of omega-3 fatty acids for women with PCOS is weight loss. Research has shown that supplementing with omega-3 can lead to significant weight loss, lowering BMI, and reducing waist circumference. Omega-3 supplements also assist in reducing appetite, making it easier for women with PCOS to stick to a low-calorie diet (5).
4. The Best Sources of Omega-3 for Women with PCOS
The most significant sources of omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna. Vegetarian and vegan sources of omega-3 can be found in foods like nuts, seeds, and algae. Fish oil supplements and algae oil supplements are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids for those who cannot consume enough in their diets.
5. Final Thoughts on How Omega-3 Can Help Women with PCOS Lose Weight
As we have seen, omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in women with PCOS. Supplementing with omega-3 can help reduce insulin resistance, inflammation and aid in weight loss. When combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, omega-3 supplements could be a game-changer for women with PCOS looking to lose weight and improve their overall health.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements can reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and promote the healthy release of hormones. Omega-3 fatty acids can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce cholesterol levels. In a study comprising 60 overweight women with PCOS, those who took omega-3 supplements for eight weeks experienced weight loss and improvements in fasting blood glucose levels. Omega-3 fatty acids supplements are available in liquid and capsule form.
How Berberine Can Help Women with PCOS Lose Weight
1. Berberine Can Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin resistance is one of the main culprits behind PCOS-related weight gain. Berberine has been shown in studies to improve insulin sensitivity, which means that it can help your body use insulin more efficiently. When your insulin levels are regulated, your body can better process blood sugar, and you’re less likely to experience sugar cravings or crashes that can lead to overeating. (6)
2. Berberine Can Help Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is another contributing factor to PCOS symptoms, including weight gain. Berberine has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body. This is particularly beneficial for women with PCOS who may have chronic inflammation present in their bodies.
3. Berberine Can Regulate Hormones
Berberine has been found in studies to regulate hormones, including testosterone, which can be elevated in women with PCOS. High levels of testosterone can contribute to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Berberine can help regulate hormone levels, which can support healthy weight loss.
4. Berberine Can Reduce Appetite
If you struggle with overeating or cravings, berberine may be able to help. In studies, berberine has been found to reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness. This may help you eat less and make healthier food choices, which can lead to weight loss.
5. Berberine Can Support Healthy Gut Bacteria
Research has shown that there is a link between gut health and weight loss. Berberine has been found to support healthy gut bacteria and improve gut health. When your gut is healthy, your body is better able to digest and absorb nutrients from food, which can contribute to weight loss.
The Power of Vitamin D in Weight Loss for Women with PCOS
1. Vitamin D and PCOS:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps absorb calcium and maintain bone health, but it also plays a role in regulating hormones and metabolism. Women with PCOS often have low levels of vitamin D, which can contribute to insulin resistance, inflammation, and weight gain. Studies have shown that adequate vitamin D intake can improve insulin sensitivity, lower inflammation, and promote fat loss in women with PCOS. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 600-800 IU per day for most adults, but women with PCOS may require higher doses.
2. Benefits of Vitamin D:
Besides aiding in weight loss, vitamin D provides numerous other benefits for women with PCOS, such as improving mood, reducing acne, and regulating menstrual cycles. Vitamin D has been linked to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, leading to a decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, research has shown that vitamin D can decrease inflammation and oxidative stress, leading to improvements in skin health and reduced acne in women with PCOS. Lastly, vitamin D has been shown to regulate menstrual cycles and improve ovulation in women with PCOS, making it a vital nutrient for those struggling with infertility.
3. Sources of Vitamin D:
Although vitamin D can be obtained through diet or supplements, it is primarily synthesized by the body through sunlight exposure. However, many women with PCOS have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency due to lifestyle factors or geographical location. Some foods that are rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as milk and cereal. However, it may be challenging to consume enough vitamin D through diet alone, so supplementation may be necessary. Be sure to consult a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen, as excessive vitamin D intake can be toxic.
4. How to Incorporate Vitamin D into Your Weight Loss Journey:
Incorporating vitamin D into your weight loss journey may involve changes to your lifestyle and diet. Spending more time in the sun may be helpful, but be sure to wear sunscreen and limit exposure during peak hours. Additionally, consuming vitamin D-rich foods or supplements may be necessary to reach recommended levels. Vitamin D supplements can come in the form of pills, gummies, or drops, and can range from 1,000 to 5,000 IU per serving. Consult with a healthcare provider to determine the proper dosage for your individual needs. Combining vitamin D supplementation with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management techniques can lead to successful weight loss and improved overall health in women with PCOS.
Summing it Up:
Supplements can be an excellent addition to one’s PCOS management plan. Inositol, NAC, Omega-3 fatty acids, Chromium, and Vitamin D are the top supplements for PCOS and weight loss. However, not all supplements are suitable for everyone, and one should always consult with their healthcare provider before taking any new supplements.
Also, supplements are just one aspect of losing weight with PCOS. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management techniques should all be incorporated into an individual’s PCOS management plan for optimal results – all of which I teach about in my PCOS Weight Loss Program. With the right approach to one’s health, significant improvements can be achieved.
Have you found any of these supplements to be helpful for your PCOS in general? Leave me a comment below and let me know!
1Tabassum, R., et al. Prevalence and Clinical Profile of Insulin Resistance in Young Women of Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome: A Study From Pakistan – PMC. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, 1 Apr. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809275.
2Frank, Kurtis. “Inositol Health Benefits, Dosage, Safety, Side Effects, and Supporting Evidence. | Supplements | Examine.” Examine, 1 Feb. 2023, examine.com/supplements/inositol.
3Willis, Bill. “N-Acetylcysteine Health Benefits, Dosage, Safety, Side Effects, and Supporting Evidence. | Supplements | Examine.” Examine, 28 Sept. 2022, examine.com/supplements/n-acetylcysteine.
4N-acetyl-cysteine Treatment Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – PubMed.” PubMed, 1 June 2002, https://doi.org/10.1016/s0015-0282(02)03133-3.
5Yang, Kailin, et al. “Effectiveness of Omega-3 Fatty Acid for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis – Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.” BioMed Central, 27 Mar. 2018, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12958-018-0346-x.
6“PCOS and Berberine: What Women Should Know.” Verywell Health, 21 Jan. 2023, www.verywellhealth.com/pcos-and-berberine-4136324.