A PCOS diet is the best foundational treatment for managing PCOS. But dietary supplements can help a lot too. The challenge here is sorting the wheat from the chaff. The 15 supplements described below are the most well-supported by solid scientific evidence.
Of all the many PCOS supplements, inositol is one of the best. Ovasitol by Theralogix is the leading brand for the treatment of PCOS. Inositol supplements improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation [1, 2]. This has a cascading effect on hormone balance that can alleviate a wide range of common PCOS symptoms.
Myo-inositol can improve fertility and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes [3-7]. It can also help some women reduce acne and unwanted facial hair growth [8, 9]. Inositol supplements appear to be better than metformin for menstrual regularity and metabolic disorders [10, 11]. It’s also much better tolerated as side effects are minimal.
Despite popular belief, myo-inositol isn’t one of the best supplements for PCOS weight loss. It’s great for your health. But weight loss benefits (if any) are insignificantly small [12-14].
There are a lot of different B vitamins. All of which serve an important role in health and fertility. But B12 and B9 (folate/folic acid) are the most salient for polycystic ovarian syndrome. These B vitamins play a key role in regulating the amino acid, homocysteine. Homocysteine is elevated in PCOS. This leads to an increased risk for cardiovascular and reproductive problems [15-17]. B vitamin supplementation can lower these risks .
The most important time to consider B vitamin supplements is before pregnancy. For women with PCOS, it’s important to avoid folic acid. PCOS is associated with MTHFR gene mutations [19, 20]. If you have this mutation, then taking folic acid during pregnancy can affect your child’s lung function . What you want instead, is the active form of folate (methyl folate) .
TheraNatal® Core Preconception Vitamins is one of the best prenatal supplements for PCOS. This product contains methyl folate rather than folic acid.
Experts also recommend testing and supplementing B vitamins whenever metformin is used. Metformin is well-known to deplete nutrients.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplementation has been studied extensively in polycystic ovary syndrome patients. The well-established benefits include:
- Improved hormone levels, inflammation, and oxidative stress .
- Reduced insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism [24-26].
- Improved lipid metabolism and triglycerides [24, 26-28].
Vitamin D is one of the most important of all PCOS vitamin supplements. Learn more about dosing and brands here.
More than half of Americans have inadequate dietary intake of magnesium . Rates are even higher among PCOS women . That’s because many of the risk factors for insufficient magnesium are common in PCOS. This includes being overweight, having insulin resistance, and taking medications [43-49].
Taking magnesium supplements has a significant effect on PCOS hormone imbalances . On its own, it can help with weight loss, high blood pressure, and PCOS period pain [50-53]. When combined with other PCOS vitamins and supplements, magnesium can also help with glucose metabolism, hirsutism, anxiety, and quality of life [54-59].
Learn more about magnesium supplements for PCOS here. This article includes tips on blood testing, safety info’, and recommended products.
There’s a good reason that you’ll find zinc on most lists of the best supplements for PCOS.
Insufficient zinc levels are a common problem for PCOS patients. This contributes to the hormone imbalances that cause PCOS symptoms [60, 61].
This is a relatively easy problem to fix. Zinc supplementation in PCOS patients can improve hormonal imbalances. This reduces the risks of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease . At least one clinical trial has also shown the value of zinc supplements for PCOS hair loss and hirsutism .
Zinc is best taken as part of a multivitamin product like Women’s Multi 50+ by Thorne Research. This product includes 15 mg of zinc as TRAACS® Zinc Bisglycinate. This is a bioavailable form of zinc. It also includes a lot of the other PCOS vitamin supplements included in this article. Most importantly, products like Women’s Multi 50+ exclude copper and iron. This is important because PCOS women tend to have high levels of these nutrients .
Like all PCOS supplements, it’s important to consider individual differences when using chromium. In most cases, the size of the effect is likely to be small.
7. Fish Oil
Fish oil and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain are widely understood to be good for cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fats reduce inflammation which is one of the underlying drivers of all PCOS symptoms. This suggests that there may be widespread benefits from taking omega-3 supplements for PCOS. But these have not been sufficiently demonstrated in clinical trials. In PCOS patients, decreasing cholesterol levels is the most well-proven benefit .
One of the best fish oil supplements for PCOS is Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega. This product was used in a high-quality trial that demonstrated the health benefits of omega-3 supplements for PCOS women .
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties. This means it can combat chronic inflammation, one of the underlying mechanisms that drive all PCOS symptoms [71-74].
CoQ10 has been well-studied as a PCOS treatment. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis found the following benefits :
- Improvements in insulin resistance, fasting insulin, and fasting plasma glucose.
- Better sex hormone balance.
- Improved triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
- CoQ10 is not associated with adverse effects. It’s a safe therapy.
Because CoQ10 is only soluble in fat, many formulations are not well absorbed in the gut. Proprietary formulations like VESIsorb increase the absorption of CoQ10 by more than 600% compared with standard oil-based CoQ10 . It’s also many times more bioavailable than solubilized formulations.
NeoQ₁₀ by Theralogix uses the patented VESIsorb technology. This product can be purchased online here.
Curcumin is a naturally occurring compound with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. This well-tolerated plant-derived medicine has been widely studied for a range of conditions . In women with PCOS, curcumin can improve cardiovascular health and help with weight loss .
Curcumin is an excellent alternative medication for PCOS pain. For example, a two-gram dose of the proprietary formulation, Meriva, can produce comparable pain relief to two Tylenol (Panadol) extra-strength tablets .
It’s important when buying curcumin supplements to look for advanced delivery systems (like Meriva) that increase bioavailability. It’s unlikely that cheaper formulations of turmeric root extract will achieve the same therapeutic effect [80-82].
Out of all the many PCOS supplements, melatonin may be one of the most underrated. Like vitamin D, melatonin has massive impacts on health .
Women with PCOS have lower melatonin concentrations. This doesn’t just impact sleep. Ovarian function is also affected . This drives a lot of the hormone imbalances common in PCOS. Yet studies show that supplementation can reduce these effects [85-87].
Melatonin supplementation makes sense if you’re trying to conceive or get your period back. It also makes sense if you have difficulty losing weight or you want to reduce excessive hair growth and other signs of hirsutism [88, 89].
The research on N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for PCOS has produced mixed results, largely as a result of biases in study design. This has presented challenges in determining its appropriate use and clinical value.
Based on the most recent reviews of the evidence though, NAC appears to be one of the better supplements to treat PCOS. In PCOS patients, NAC can reduce testosterone levels and increase follicle-stimulating hormone levels . One analysis found that it was better than metformin for weight management and lowering total testosterone . Others have shown that it’s superior for improving fasting blood sugar and fasting insulin levels .
These benefits translate into real-life outcomes. For example, NAC improves pregnancy rates. It may be particularly beneficial when combined with clomid or letrozole [93, 94].
Berberine is one of the few herbal supplements with pharmaceutical-level effects. This is a great option for insulin-resistant PCOS women that aren’t trying to conceive.
Many clinical trials have shown that berberine is at least as good as metformin for treating insulin resistance in PCOS patients [95-97]. It’s also good for blood pressure, weight loss, and other markers of metabolic health [97-101].
Berberine improves hormone balance and can boost fertility [97, 101]. Many people prefer it to metformin because it has fewer side effects. Berberine is a relatively safe supplement, but it’s important to check drug interactions before use.
Learn more about berberine including dosage, safety, and the best brands here.
Resveratrol is a natural antioxidant found in grapes, nuts, and berries. Its use as a PCOS supplement mostly centers around its anti-inflammatory properties and its effect on the ovaries [102-104]. Studies have shown that resveratrol can improve menstrual regularity in PCOS women .
Care is needed when supplementing with resveratrol. It shouldn’t be used during the luteal phase of your cycle and may not be safe during pregnancy .
Cinnamon is an ancient traditional medicine. It’s also one of the best herbs for PCOS. Several reviews have shown that cinnamon can improve metabolic parameters in PCOS patients [107-109]. These include fasting blood sugar, fasting insulin, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Cinnamon is generally considered a safe supplement. But higher doses of 1.5 g/day are needed for the best clinical outcomes .
15. Probiotics and Prebiotics
Poor gut health may be one of the underlying causes of PCOS. Dysbiosis of the gut microbiome can account for all three components of a PCOS diagnosis [110, 111]. It can also cause insulin resistance in women with PCOS . So, the growing popularity of prebiotic and probiotic supplements for PCOS makes good sense.
Several meta-analyses show the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics for the treatment of PCOS [113, 114]. They appear to improve many hormonal and inflammatory markers. They can help with insulin sensitivity, weight gain, and cardiovascular health. They can also lower testosterone levels and relieve hirsutism.
The greatest challenge with using prebiotic and probiotic supplements for PCOS is picking the right type. Many over-the-counter products may not be worth the cost.
But following a PCOS diet is. Adding more prebiotic and probiotic foods into your diet can help improve gut health. Cutting out the foods to avoid with PCOS, makes a big difference too. The benefits of these steps have been well-demonstrated by participants from my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge.
The Bottom Line
Nutritional supplements are a valuable intervention for women with polycystic ovary syndrome. In some cases, dietary supplements can be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs. But often with fewer side effects.
The 15 compounds described above provide a good short-list for consideration. A naturopathic or functional medicine doctor can help you determine which of these supplements are best for you.
Irrespective of your drug or supplement protocol, a PCOS-friendly diet will help you achieve the best health outcomes. To get started today, join my next free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge or download this free 3-Day Meal Plan.
What are the best supplements for PCOS weight loss? The most effective PCOS weight loss supplements are those that help improve insulin sensitivity. These include inositol, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, chromium, berberine, cinnamon, and CoQ10. Curcumin, melatonin, and probiotics may also be helpful. It’s important to keep in mind that the strength of the effect is very small for all of these PCOS weight loss supplements. Even modest dietary changes are likely to overshadow any benefits. Learn more about how to lose weight with PCOS here.
What are the best PCOS fertility supplements? Myo-inositol and products like Ovasitol are the most well-proven PCOS fertility supplements. TheraNatal® Core Preconception Vitamins, are another obvious choice. For women undergoing IVF, supplementation with NeoQ₁₀ is recommended . Many of the other supplements listed above may also help you conceive.
What are the best supplements for PCOS hair loss? The treatment of hair loss requires supplements that lower testosterone in PCOS. NAC may be one of the best options. But myo-inositol, B vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, chromium, CoQ10, and melatonin may also be helpful.
What are the best PCOS acne supplements? Like hirsutism and hair loss, PCOS acne supplements need to reduce androgen hormones like testosterone. The most well-proven PCOS acne supplements include myo-inositol, zinc, and vitamin B3 (niacin). Some probiotics may also be helpful . Learn more about the best ways to treat PCOS acne here.
What about all the other supplements I read about online? The list above is not exhaustive. But it includes products that have been the most well-proven in PCOS patients. That said, other supplements may be useful as part of a holistic PCOS treatment plan. Products like selenium, carnitine, CBD oil, licorice root, maca root, saw palmetto, vitex, and many others may be helpful too. A naturopathic or functional medicine doctor can help you determine what’s best for you.
Ready to Take Action?
- Join my free 30-Day PCOS Diet Challenge here. This is a unique program where you'll receive weekly meal plans, shopping lists, and helpful video lessons. You'll also be part of a motivated and inspiring community of like-minded women.
- Download my free 3-Day PCOS Diet Meal Plan here. This is perfect for getting started if you aren't ready to commit to 30 days.
- Join my PCOS Monthly Meal Planning Service here. This service includes hundreds of PCOS recipes within a pre-populated, yet customizable meal plan. It's designed to save you time and help you apply a PCOS diet.
- Sign up for my Beat PCOS 10-Week Program. This is a comprehensive program that covers diet, PCOS-centric emotional eating, exercise, stress management, and much more. All within a support group environment. The 10-Week Program includes the same recipes and meal plan as my monthly meal planning service.
Combining rigorous science and clinical advice with a pragmatic approach to habit change, Kym is on a mission to show women with PCOS how to take back control of their health and fertility. Read more about Kym and her team here.
Quick Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. This means that when you use them to purchase something, it won't cost you more but I may get paid a commission for referring you. In order to avoid any prejudice, I only recommend products that I personally use or would have recommended anyways.
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Combining rigorous science and clinical advice with a pragmatic approach to habit change, Kym is on a mission to show women with PCOS how to take back control of their health and fertility. Read more about Kym and her team here.