Along your fertility journey, despite your best efforts to stay healthy, you may still be at risk for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. PCOS, one of the most common causes of female infertility1, affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. While no cure exists, such lifestyle changes as diet, exercise, and supplementation may benefit PCOS and overall female reproductive health.
What Is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
With PCOS, a lifelong hormonal condition2, multiple cysts, which are small, fluid-filled sacs, develop along your ovary’s outer edges, interfering with eggs’ release. You may have increased levels of insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps your body convert blood sugar, or glucose, into energy. You may also be insulin resistant3, meaning your body cannot use insulin properly. Other PCOS symptoms include acne, weight gain, irregular period frequency, and excess facial and body hair.
Can Lifestyle Changes Help With PCOS Management?
Specific PCOS treatment options may depend on such factors as your age, symptom severity, overall health, and whether or not you plan on becoming pregnant.
Consume A PCOS-Friendly Diet
With PCOS, you should consume lean protein sources and foods that reduce inflammation. High-fiber foods are also advised, as they help to slow down digestion and reduce glucose’s effects4. And, you should lower or avoid starchy and sugary foods.
Physical Activity Is Important
Weight loss is recommended with PCOS, as it may help to regulate insulin, reduce glucose levels, and help with ovulation5. You should first discuss your exercise plans with your doctor, as too much can disrupt your hormones. Engaging in gentle, low-impact exercises, like yoga, swimming, light running and aerobics may be ideal options.
Reduce Stress, Improve Sleep
Among women with PCOS, sleep disturbances6 are twice as common. They can affect stress levels and help to regulate the hormone cortisol, which balances other hormones. You should get 8-10 hours of sleep per night, establish a regular bedtime, and avoid caffeine and rich, fatty foods before bed. These practices may also apply to stress relief, and you should also walk outdoors and find time to relax.
Which Nutrients Are Important for PCOS?
Studies suggest that certain nutrients may benefit PCOS, including antioxidants, which protect against cellular damage. As most Americans fail to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance7 (RDA) through food sources, supplementation is often advised.
- Inositol, a naturally produced sugar, may promote valuable PCOS benefits8. Inositol has antioxidative properties, regulates glucose control and improves insulin resistance and metabolism. It may help to restore ovulation and improve the quality of oocytes, or immature eggs. The two most effective inositol forms for PCOS are myo-inositol (MI) and D-chiro-inositol (DCI). The RDA is 2 grams (g), twice a day.
- Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers9 that stimulate and restore healthy bacterial growth in your gut, which helps to maintain digestive health. The RDA depends on your fiber intake, with most supplements providing a 4-5 g dose.
- Probiotics are live organisms, such as bacteria, that increase the number of healthy gut microbes and maintain proper digestion. The RDA ranges from 10-20 billion colony-forming units.
- Grape seed extract, a powerful antioxidant, may promote normal cell development and restore hormone balance and fertility in women with PCOS. Resveratrol, a grape seed extract compound, may help to improve insulin levels. No RDA is established, but 100-400 mg daily is recommended.
- Lycopene, an antioxidant, stimulates the pancreas, helping it to generate more insulin. No RDA is established, but up to 75 mg is safe.
Shop Supplements to Improve PCOS
Nutrabloom’s PCOS Support Kit, formulated by fertility experts, is designed to support women with PCOS who are ready to start or grow their families. This supplemental blend, which includes our Probiotic 50 Billion and Inositol Blend, contains optimal levels of antioxidants and other nutrients shown to help decrease insulin resistance and re-establish normal menstrual cycles and ovulation.
Suggested use: Probiotic 50 Billion – One vegetarian capsule per day; Inositol Blend – One scoop per day, as recommended by your healthcare provider.