What to look for in a nutrition supplement for PCOS

Interested in nutrition supplements to help manage your PCOS? Perhaps you are already taking some now or have in the past.

You aren’t alone.

In an international poll of over 1,300 women with PCOS, 99% reported wanting an alternative treatment to oral contraceptives to help improve their PCOS.

But what you may not know is that not all nutrition supplements are created equal. Some supplements for PCOS may even harmful. Here’s how to protect yourself.

Health Benefits of Nutrition Supplements for PCOS

There are many good reasons to consider nutrition supplements as a potential treatment option either alone, or in conjunction with medications for PCOS. Supplements like a multivitamin are needed when an individual has low nutrient intake due to dieting or poor intake or avoidance of food groups.

Article: Should you take a Multivitamin for PCOS? 

A lot of time supplements are needed in the case of a nutrient deficiency. PCOS patients who take metformin may, for example, be at an increased risk for a vitamin B12 deficiency (you can read about the connection here). Supplementing with vitamin B12 then is important if you take metformin-so much so we put extra amounts of vitamin B12 in our new PCOS MULTI™ 

Certainly a Prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement such as our PCOS PRENATAL™ are important to optimize and support nutrient levels during pregnancy.  Prenatal supplements tend to be formulated with added amounts of folate and iron along with other vitamins and minerals.

pcos prenatal

NSF certified

PCOS Multi

And then there are other supplements that can help to improve many symptoms associated with PCOS. Ovasitol, for example, is an inositol supplement shown to restore hormone balance and menstrual regularity in the majority of women within 3 months of use, providing an alternative treatment to oral contraceptives. Many people who take Ovasitol find that their cravings substantially decrease which helps them make more wise food choices in the moment.

Berberine has been shown to help lower insulin and cholesterol levels and improve fatty liver as well as other benefits (you can read our post 10 Big Benefits of Berberine for PCOS).

NAC, known as n-Acetylcysteine is an antioxidant shown to improve fertility and lower cholesterol levels in the PCOS population.

Of course these are just a few examples of how supplements can help improve PCOS. You can check out the others on our blog.

The Scary Truth About the Supplement Industry

But how can you trust the quality and safety of the supplement you are taking?

Did you know that the supplement industry is not regulated nearly as closely as drugs are? That anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can create a supplement, stick a label on the bottle and sell it to you?

Yes, you read that correctly. Whereas medications have to go through rigorous testing by the Food and Drug Administration, supplements do not.

This means the supplement that you are taking may not meet the claims it states on its label. So, a supplement can say it meets 100% of vitamin C but really contain much less because who is checking?

It also means your supplement can be contaminated with other products that aren’t even nutrients but fake fillers, or worse-contain glass or other harmful materials (yes, it happens more than you think!).

Protecting Yourself: Choosing a Safe Supplement

So you may be wondering how you can protect yourself and choose a good supplement that you can trust, right?

The answer is easy.

First, look to see if a supplement was 3rd party tested. This means the manufacturers voluntarily had their product tested for purity and accuracy by an outside company and were given a Quality of Assurance report that shows it meets standards.

Some companies have even taken testing a step further and had their supplements tested by a non-profit organization. NSF International, an independent product testing and inspection firm, and U.S. Pharmacopeia, a nonprofit group work to ensure the quality and safety of foods and medicines. While these seals do not guarantee efficacy, they do confirm that a product’s label is accurate and that it is not contaminated or contains unnecessary additives.

Our PCOS PRENATAL™ is one of the few prenatal vitamins available that have the NSF seal.

Second, look to see if the supplement is manufactured in a cGMP (certified good manufacturing processes) compliant facility to ensure the company is following good manufacturing practices set by the FDA.

Why Pharmaceutical Grade Quality is Tops

Pharmaceutical grade products are THE highest quality supplements available. This is because these high quality supplements are produced to obtain the purest form of the nutrients and ensure maximum absorption.

Pharmaceutical Grade products must exceed 99% purity and contain no binders, fillers, dyes, or unknown substances. Only testing the product, ideally through a 3rd party not related to the company, can prove this.

Fewer than 3% of the products on the market are pharmaceutical grade.

Many pharmaceutical grade supplements will also contain non-GMOs. This means that ingredients are free of GMOs and have been tested and authenticated by the Non-GMO Project Product Verification Program, a nonprofit, third-party organization for food and products.

This is why high quality supplements, such as the ones sold at the PCOS Nutrition Center tend to cost more. You are paying for that high quality assurance that you can trust the supplement you are taking.

pcos supplements

Pharmaceutical grade supplements for PCOS

All of the PCOS Nutrition Center supplements are pharmaceutical grade and have been 3rd party tested, many of which hold the NSF and USP seals, and are manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility.

And Don’t Forget!

Be sure to do your research when looking for a supplement and if there are sufficient evidence-based claims to back it up (one study, especially small size or done on animals, is not sufficient).

Also, be aware of any risks or side effects. If you do experience a side effect, call the number on the bottle and report it. Supplement companies have an obligation to report ill effects of supplements to the FDA.

Lastly, don’t forget to tell your doctor or health care professional of any supplements you are taking. Some supplements may interact with medications making them more or less effective.

 

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