Approximately 7 to 10 million women and teenage girls are dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Because PCOS typically affects ovarian function, PCOS and fertility issues often go hand-in-hand.
Although PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, a diagnosis does not mean that you cannot conceive. There are many options for improving your fertility. If you are struggling with infertility, it is important to consult with your doctor and see a fertility specialist.
PCOS and Fertility Supplements
Certain nutritional supplements have been linked to better fertility among women with PCOS. In this article, we review the top three PCOS and fertility supplements.
There are nine different forms of inositols, but only two have been studied and shown benefit for women with PCOS. These two forms are myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol. These inositols, when taken in the body’s normal ratio of 40 to 1, help regulate menstruation, restore ovulation, decrease androgen (testosterone) levels, and improve fertility outcomes in women with PCOS.
Most women with PCOS experience insulin resistance which may affect fertility. Insulin is a hormone that allows our cells to use glucose (sugar) to produce energy. When insulin resistance occurs, the cells lose their ability to respond normally to insulin. Studies have shown that inositols can reduce insulin resistance, which may explain their role in female fertility.
Inositols have also been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk by helping to improve the metabolic profile of women with PCOS.
2. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 is helpful for women with PCOS in several ways. It’s beneficial for fertility, plus it may improve glucose metabolism (how the body uses sugar for energy). It can also help promote healthy blood lipid levels (markers for heart disease risk).
Research shows that CoQ10 may be particularly helpful for women with PCOS who are undergoing ovulation induction using the drug clomiphene citrate. In this study, researchers compared the effect of taking CoQ10 along with clomiphene, to the effect of taking clomiphene alone. Researchers found that those who took CoQ10 and clomiphene had more egg follicles and greater endometrial thickness. Women taking CoQ10 along with clomiphene also had higher ovulation rates and higher pregnancy rates than those taking only clomiphene.
A 2016 randomized controlled trial evaluated the effects of CoQ10 on glucose (sugar) metabolism and blood lipid profiles in 60 women with PCOS. In this study, the CoQ10 group had a significant decrease in fasting blood sugar and insulin levels. They also had decreases in total cholesterol and LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels.
A study found that 2 mg of melatonin for 6 months significantly decreased androgens (testosterone), increased follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and improved menstrual regularity in normal weight women with PCOS.
Women with PCOS have abnormally low levels of melatonin, an antioxidant, in follicular fluid, which may decrease fertility. A study showed that melatonin enhances progesterone production in the follicle during ovulation which helps improve egg quality and fertility outcomes.
Melatonin and myo-inositiol
It’s easy to see how these supplements might work well together for women with PCOS, and in fact myo-inositol and melatonin have been studied together and found to work synergistically to enhance egg and embryo quality.
Inositols, CoQ10, and melatonin can improve your health with PCOS and also boost your fertility. More and more research shows that these supplements can help women with PCOS improve fertility as well as manage symptoms such as increased risk for heart disease and insulin resistance.
It’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are so many people experiencing the same thing, consider reaching out to others for support since it can help to know that you’re not alone.
There are many different websites providing support and information ranging from podcasts by PCOS Diva, nutritional advice by PCOS Nutrition Center, and emotional support (PCOS Diet Support, Surviving Shelby, and PCOSgurls Guide to Life With PCOS).
Don’t miss an article! Sign up for our newsletter below and we’ll let you know when our next article comes out.