The 10 Best Supplements for PCOS
Jul 23, 2023
Find out which PCOS supplements can help manage your symptoms
Rich Scherr is an updates strategist and fact checker for Dotdash Meredith brands, including Health and Verywell. He is a seasoned financial and technology journalist who served as editor-in-chief of the Potomac Tech Wire for nearly two decades, and is a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun. He has also been a news editor for America Online and has contributed to the Associated Press and The Washington Post.
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If you have the endocrine disorder PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), you know the sort of disruptive, unpleasant symptoms it can cause, from irregular cycles and acne to hair loss or excessive hair growth (hirsutism). Diet and lifestyle shifts are the primary strategies for PCOS management. However, Melissa Groves Azzaro, RDN, LD, owner of The Hormone Dietitian, suggests that supplementing can be a smart strategy in addition to nutrition and lifestyle strategies to manage symptoms of PCOS.
There is currently no cure for PCOS, but there is strong evidence that some supplements can help allay symptoms. That said, many are not well-studied or appropriate for everyone with this condition. Therefore, the best way to supplement for PCOS is based on the type of PCOS you have (yes, there are types) and your symptoms.
To compile this list of the best supplements for PCOS, we spoke with some of the leading PCOS-focused dietitians, combed the research to identify supplements that may or may not be effective or safe (despite what may be seen on social media), and reviewed dozens of products to select the best supplements for your needs.
Dietary supplements are minimally regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. They also may interact with other supplements or medications you are taking. Our team of registered dietitians reviews supplements according to our rigorous dietary supplement methodology. We also had a registered dietitian review this page for its scientific accuracy. Please always speak with a healthcare provider to discuss any supplements you plan on taking.
The amounts of key vitamins and minerals are in the most absorbable forms.
Three capsules is the recommended daily serving size, and it doesn’t have iron or omega 3s.
If you’re unsure of where to start for a supplement for PCOS, we recommend Needed Women’s Multi as the best overall PCOS supplement. We like this comprehensive multivitamin can help cover any nutritional gaps in your diet to provide you with good amounts of key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may be helpful for symptoms of PCOS. We specifically appreciate the levels of vitamin B12, folate, vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium because those with PCOS are often deficient in these nutrients.
Not only does Needed include a variety of nutrients in helpful amounts, but they are also in the most absorbable form, such as L-methylfolate, methylcobalamin, and magnesium bisglycinate.
One thing to consider for this supplement is it does not contain iron or omega-3s, which other multivitamins may include. Needed prefers to leave them out due to better absorption when taken separately. So, if these nutrients are of concern to you, you may need an additional supplement for these. The recommended serving size is three capsules daily, whereas many other multivitamins might be only one or two pills.
Price at time of publication: $40 ($1.33 per serving)
This NSF Certified powder is easy to take and provides an evidence-based amount of inositol helpful for PCOS.
The upfront cost of this canister is expensive.
One of the hallmarks of PCOS is typically insulin resistance. This can have a negative impact on ovulation and blood sugar regulation, as the body cells aren’t able to handle glucose effectively. Inositol, which can naturally be found in foods like fruits, beans, grains, and nuts, has been shown to help decrease insulin resistance, regulate blood sugars, and promote healthy hormone levels. It is considered a safe and effective treatment for PCOS that may help balance blood sugars as well as some medications. If insulin resistance is a main symptom of your PCOS, Theralogix Ovasitol Inositol Powder may be a helpful PCOS supplement.
This product contains the optimal 40:1 ratio, respectively, of 2000 mg of myoinositol and 50 mg of d-chiro-inositol. Research has shown that this combination of inositols can help improve insulin sensitivity and may benefit ovulation. To see improvement in menstrual cycle regularity, it is recommended to take Ovasitol for at least three months, and it may even be taken during pregnancy for additional blood sugar-balancing benefits.
This product is the first and only NSF Contents Certified inositol, meaning it is third-party tested for contaminants and ingredient amounts. It is gluten-free and contains no dyes or additives. As an unflavored powder, it is easy to mix into your favorite hot or cold non-carbonated beverage and comes as a convenient single-serve packet or large format canister.
Price at time of publication: $87 ($1.45 per serving)
It's third-party tested and delivers an effective dose in a single vegan softgel.
Depending on your blood levels, you may need to take two or three times the standard pill dose.
Vitamin D deficiency can be fairly common, as it is difficult to get enough through food and adequate sunlight. Low vitamin D is a risk factor for metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and is associated with PCOS. Azzarro often recommends vitamin D supplementation to clients with PCOS, as it is crucial for blood sugar regulation. Research has shown that supplementing with high-dose vitamin D may be helpful to decrease testosterone levels, reducing unwanted hair growth (hirsutism), and leading to more regular menstrual cycles in those with PCOS.
We like that HUM Here Comes the Sun Vitamin D3 is a third-party tested, free of common food allergens, artificial colors, and flavors, and is vegan-friendly. It is considered a “high potency” product because it delivers 2000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D (250% Daily Value) in one easy softgel.
There is no recommended amount of vitamin D to take for PCOS, but one study showed that in women who are deficient, taking 50,000 IU of vitamin D per week for 12 weeks helped improve some major symptoms of PCOS. Keep in mind not everyone will need this level of vitamin D. It’s recommended to get your vitamin D levels checked by a healthcare professional before taking a supplement to best individualize the amount of vitamin D you need.
Price at time of publication: $15.00 ($0.50 per serving)
It contains two forms of berberine, and the dose can easily be customized for your individual needs.
Do not take this supplement if you become pregnant, are breastfeeding, or on certain medications.
Berberine, a compound derived from the goldenseal root, is sometimes touted as a “natural” Ozempic (the drug being prescribed for diabetes and now weight loss) due to its effect on blood glucose levels. Research has shown that berberine can help lower fasting glucose, post-meal glucose, hemoglobin A1c, and even LDL and triglyceride levels in those with type 2 diabetes. This may be an important consideration for those with insulin-resistant PCOS.
We like Thorne Berberine 1,000 mg because it uses the most-researched form, berberine HCl—alongside the highly absorbable berberine phytosome. Research suggests doses of 500 mg taken twice or three times daily can be effective for glucose regulation, so we like that this product is a suggested two-capsule dose to equal 1,000 mg total.
Note that berberine may cause gastrointestinal discomfort for some people and has several drug interactions. Also, it’s not recommended to take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. For these reasons, Azzarro strongly recommends working with a healthcare provider to determine if berberine is the right PCOS supplement for you.
Price at time of publication: $38.00 ($1.27 per serving)
It’s budget-friendly and easy to adjust the dose depending on your needs.
The capsule size is quite large, and it can interact with other medications.
NAC, which is short for n-acetyl cysteine, is a compound from an amino acid that is made into glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant, and research suggests it may have a beneficial effect on insulin receptors. This is important for PCOS because insulin resistance can play a major role in PCOS for many people. Some research suggests supplementing with NAC could result in improved blood cholesterol, lower fasting blood glucose, and fasting insulin levels—even better than metformin. We like NOW NAC 600 mg Veg Capsules for a NAC supplement for PCOS for its affordability, customizable dosing, and that it is third-party tested.
This kosher, non-GMO, and allergen-friendly supplement provide you with 600 mg of NAC per capsule, alongside minerals molybdenum and selenium, which can help convert NAC to glutathione. Taking 600 mg of NAC three times daily for 24 weeks has been shown to have beneficial effects on PCOS, but more research is needed for optimal dosing. Ultimately the dose of this supplement should be discussed and guided by a healthcare provider.
Another consideration is these capsules are large, which some may find difficult. It can also interact with medications such as blood thinners and those for blood pressure. Therefore, if you take any medication, it’s best to check with a healthcare professional before taking this.
Price at time of publication: $43 ($0.11 per capsule)
It’s third-party tested, sustainably sourced, and provides a high potency dose of omega 3’s.
This is not suitable for some vegetarians, vegans, and may interfere with some medications.
It can be hard for many to get enough omega-3 fatty acids if you don’t eat fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, tuna, or anchovies, the recommended two to three times per week, according to Azzaro. Omega-3s can help to lower inflammation, improve heart health, reduce insulin levels, and decrease androgen levels, all of which are prominent issues or risks for those with PCOS.
We suggest Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega 2x for a high quality, third-party tested omega-3 supplement. It is Friend of the Sea Certified, which means the company has taken great care of the sea from which they source their fish and marine life. While there is no set recommendation for how much omega-3s to take for PCOS, some research has suggested 2,000 mg per day, and maybe even up to 3,000-4,000 mg per day may be beneficial. This supplement provides a total of 2150 mg of omegas, with 875 mg coming from DHA and the rest from EPA, which is much more than other standard omega-3 supplements.
Omega-3 supplements can often give you some “fishy” smelling burps, but this product is lemon flavored which can make it more pleasant to take. Keep in mind the omega-3 sources are from wild caught anchovies and sardines, so it would not be suitable for vegans or some vegetarians. Fish oil can interfere with some medications, so you should always consult a healthcare professional before taking and to get the best dose for your needs.
Price at time of publication: $50 ($0.83 per serving)
It's dietitian-designed and provides herbs and nutrients specifically targeted for stress support.
It’s not recommended to take for pregnancy or breastfeeding, and each herb may interact with some medications.
Outside of physical symptoms, many with PCOS struggle with their mental and emotional health as well. Body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, stress related to missing periods, and the desire to get pregnant, or the hopelessness felt from starting and “failing” numerous diets are common in the PCOS community. Those with PCOS are at higher risk for anxiety and depression, so seeking out a supplement that addresses calming the nervous system and stress response could be beneficial.
If you’re looking for an herbal blend to address your PCOS stress, consider using the Cortisol Calmer from The Women’s Dietitian. Developed by dietitian and PCOS expert Cory Ruth MS, RD, this one-capsule supplement provides ashwagandha, l-theanine, phosphatidylserine, and Rhodiola rosea extract. Ashwagandha and Rhodiola are considered adaptogens, which means they help the body “adapt” to stress. L-theanine is known to provide a calming effect and help with sleep quality, which is important for the metabolic and mental health of people with PCOS. Phosphatidylserine can help nourish the adrenal glands, which is the central producer of stress hormones like cortisol which may be elevated for some types of PCOS.
Research is limited as far as the exact effectiveness or optimal doses of these nutrients, and this supplement is not third-party tested. So, be sure to speak with a healthcare provider before use. Another important consideration is the interaction each of these herbs may have with some medications you may be taking. It is also not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Price at time of publication: $34 ($0.57 per serving)
This capsule is third-party tested, and it’s easy to adjust the dose depending on your needs.
It should be taken with a meal, and it’s not suitable for vegans because it contains gelatin.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may be a less familiar PCOS supplement, but it is a potent antioxidant that may benefit some symptoms of PCOS. As an antioxidant, CoQ10 helps keep your mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cell) running smoothly and protects the body cells from damage. Some research suggests supplementing with 200 mg of CoQ10 daily has been shown to help improve fasting blood sugar, insulin levels, and testosterone levels for those with PCOS.
If a CoQ10 supplement is right for your PCOS needs, we recommend GNC CoQ-10 100 mg. We like it was tested and approved in a voluntary Consumer Lab Quality Certification Program in 2022. Unlike other moderate or low-dose CoQ-10 supplements, this one is inexpensive and does not contain any added fillers. The capsule is easy to take with a meal; however, keep in mind you may need to take more than one serving depending on your needs. More research is needed for the optimal dose for PCOS, so always speak with a healthcare provider about dosing.
Price at time of publication: $40 ($0.33 per count)
This convenient powder provides a highly absorbable form of magnesium with low risk of unpleasant side effects.
The taste of monk fruit may not be appealing to everyone.
Magnesium plays a role in many functions of the body, including blood sugar regulation, stress management, blood pressure, and sleep quality. Because many of these areas can be affected by PCOS, a healthcare professional may recommend a magnesium supplement and focus on eating foods high in magnesium. Some research suggests those with PCOS may have a low intake of magnesium, and increasing magnesium may help with insulin resistance and high androgen hormone levels.
With high-quality ingredients and strong third-party testing, Thorne Magnesium Bisglycinate is our top choice for a magnesium supplement for PCOS. Each serving provides 200 milligrams (mg)—48% Daily Value— of magnesium. We like that the form of magnesium in this supplement is the highly absorbable form magnesium bisglycinate. This means two glycine molecules are essentially giving a protective “hug” around the magnesium, which can decrease the laxative effect magnesium might have. Glycine can also help promote good sleep and relaxation, which could make it ideal to take this supplement before going to bed.
This powder can simply be mixed into water or your desired beverage. It contains only magnesium, citric acid, and a little bit of monk fruit for sweetness which may not suit everyone’s taste. There are no other flavorings or colors added, so it can be considered unflavored. It is also free of gluten, dairy, and soy.
Price at time of publication: $48 ($0.80 per serving)
This USDA Organic tea is a tasty way to include spearmint for PCOS support and also help meet your hydration needs.
So far, limited research has only suggested it may benefit higher androgen levels.
Pill-burden can be a real struggle for people managing PCOS. Therefore, instead of trying to take one more pill or powder, an alternative supplement for PCOS could simply be drinking spearmint tea. We also like that this will naturally help you meet your hydration goals as well. This pleasantly minty and refreshing herb has been found to have some helpful benefits for symptoms of PCOS, such as reducing hirsutism (excessive hair growth) and testosterone.
Traditional Medicinals Organic Spearmint Tea is a widely available, organic, and non-GMO tea that prioritizes ingredient purity and respectful environmental practices. It’s recommended to drink two cups of spearmint tea daily, so we also appreciate that you can buy it in bulk for an affordable price. Keep in mind that as it is an herbal tea, it does not contain caffeine which some may appreciate.
Price at time of publication: $30 ($0.31 per tea bag)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a complex endocrine condition that impacts nearly four to 20 percent of women worldwide and is the leading cause of infertility in women of reproductive age. However, PCOS does not only affect fertility. It can also lead to a higher risk for gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. While we don’t fully understand all of the causes of PCOS, there are some risk factors that may lead to a diagnosis. If a family member, such as your mother or sister, has PCOS, then you may have greater odds of having the condition too. While it is less studied, there may also be an environmental link to developing PCOS. High exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) may exaggerate the expression of PCOS in some individuals.
The most common underlying driver of PCOS is elevated insulin and insulin resistance. This essentially means that those with PCOS are not able to utilize insulin (a blood sugar-lowering and fat-storage hormone) effectively. High levels of insulin will promote high androgen (testosterone) levels, which in turn impacts ovarian health, menstrual regularity, acne, hair growth patterns, weight, gut health, and mental health. In order for PCOS to be diagnosed, conditions such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, hyperprolactinemia, and hypothalamic amenorrhea must be ruled out first. Then a diagnosis can be made using the Rotterdam Criteria, whereby you must meet two of the following criteria: irregular or absent menstrual periods, physical or biochemical signs of elevated androgens (acne, hair loss, or hair growth), or polycystic ovaries.
Those with PCOS may have a variety of symptoms, including higher body weight, acne, hair growth in unusual places, or more excessive hair loss. However, in order to treat these symptoms, you must address the root causes of the condition, which means focusing on blood sugar balance, gut health, liver health, mitochondrial function, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA axis) communication.
Treatment for PCOS is a combination of lifestyle shifts and possible medications or medical interventions. Another treatment consideration for PCOS to help manage symptoms is supplements, which can be used alongside the above-mentioned treatments for symptom management.
Our dietitians agree that if you are not addressing the foundations of your diet and lifestyle habits, then that is the most important place to start with PCOS management. Yet, some may benefit from additional therapies such as dietary supplements, and they might be a smart strategy if you are manifesting symptoms (eg, irregular cycles, acne, hair loss, hirsutism), according to Azzarro.
Furthermore, Ageyman says, “When managing PCOS, it's important to remember that everyone's needs are absolutely unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Factors like lab results, allergies, intolerances, budget, and food accessibility play a role in determining the best approach for you. With the overwhelming amount of misinformation online, it's crucial to seek guidance from a registered dietitian and your doctor.”
You will want to consider supplements related to your specific symptoms. Those who may benefit from supplements are:
There are some populations or conditions that should take extreme caution when it comes to supplements for PCOS, including:
Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.
We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third-party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab.com.
It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend and gives more details on what we specifically look for in supplements.
Experts we spoke to for choosing the best supplements for PCOS include:
The different types of PCOS supplements are related to what symptoms you want to treat, as mentioned above. We recommend certain supplements that can impact the majority of symptoms those with PCOS may be experiencing but note the best supplement for you is related to your individual symptoms and health goals and take into account any other health issues you may have.
All the supplements we recommend are in capsule or powder form, but there may be other types of PCOS supplements in other forms, like liquids or gummies. Ultimately, the best type of supplement form is what works best for you.
It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.
Some PCOS supplements need to be taken with extreme caution if you are taking certain medications. For example, berberine interacts with blood pressure and blood sugar drugs, and it also inhibits enzymes that help break down certain drugs (ex. Antibiotics, cholesterol medications), which could lead to potentially dangerous levels of medications. Vitamin D can decrease effectiveness of cholesterol medications, so it should be taken only after speaking with a healthcare provider.
Note that some PCOS supplements, especially ones that are touted for adrenal or liver support or gut health, may contain herbs, antioxidants, enzymes, or probiotics that some may be allergic too, experience unwanted side effects, or don’t react well to. So, it is crucial to read labels carefully, purchase supplements that have undergone purity and safety testing, and consult with a healthcare provider or dietitian specializing in PCOS before taking a supplement.
This will depend on your specific symptoms. Some people will benefit from supplements that address insulin resistance more heavily, and others will want to focus on adrenal supporting supplements. Ultimately, working with a dietitian or healthcare provider who is well versed in PCOS management will be able to help construct a supplement regimen that is effective and not too burdensome for you.
Some supplements for PCOS, such as vitamin D, do have established DRIs and ULs as set by the Institute of Medicine, but many other suggested herbs or nutrients do not have evidence-based recommended doses. Speaking with a healthcare provider will be most helpful in determining which and how many supplements to take.
As we have discussed, PCOS is not a condition with a singular root cause or treatment plan. There is a dynamic hormone balance that needs to be addressed and Azzaro would never recommend taking any supplements that can directly impact a hormone without working with a healthcare practitioner and having thorough hormone testing. Many supplements have caveats for use, whether contraindications, medication interactions, or long-term safety concerns, so, Azzaro recommends working with a healthcare professional if you're interested in learning whether certain supplements are right and safe for your situation.
If your symptoms are not improving with diet and lifestyle changes, or supplements, then it may be time to seek out advice from a healthcare provider about medication or other clinical interventions to manage your PCOS more effectively.
Massman suggests many people are undernourished and over-stressed, and it’s important to meet these concerns first with PCOS. Ways to do this include focusing on balancing your blood sugar and insulin levels throughout the day, eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, getting quality sleep, moving your body, and reducing stress levels. These can also help make great strides in naturally managing your PCOS.
Weight loss is common and oversimplified advice given to many with PCOS. However, Massman suggests weight gain and difficulty losing weight is one symptom of PCOS, but not everyone with PCOS experiences this. She suggests weight gain is not the cause of PCOS, and weight loss is not always an automatic cure.
Dieting for weight loss can often lead down a path of too much restriction and make PCOS worse. Instead, Massman advises clients with PCOS to take a whole-body approach with a focus on nourishment. “This means targeting insulin resistance and chronic inflammation by considering what to add, not restrict when it comes to nutrition and lifestyle factors affecting their PCOS.” Supplements may be a part of this, but there are no supplements that guarantee weight loss, just as no one diet will either. Massman feels it is more realistic and motivating to address PCOS as a whole, not just a singular symptom, such as weight.
Research has shown that people with PCOS are more commonly deficient in vitamin D, B vitamins (especially folate and vitamin B12), zinc, magnesium, and potentially vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. Vitamins and minerals play a key role in managing stress, inflammation, hormone production, liver health, and gut health. When the body is lacking in optimal levels of these nutrients, the symptoms of PCOS can manifest much more strongly.
Massman says, “There is no cure for PCOS, but many of the symptoms those with PCOS experience can be reversed with great medical care, nutrition, and lifestyle management, in addition to medication and/or supplementation.” You may see more consistent ovulation, improved skin, less hair loss or growth, less anxiety, and weight loss or weight stabilization once you have addressed your root causes for PCOS and supported your body and mind as a whole.
Casey Seiden is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes care and education specialist based out of New York City. Casey works at Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates, the premier maternal fetal medicine practice in Manhattan, where she provides nutrition therapy and counseling to women with high risk pregnancies. She is also the founder of Casey Seiden Nutrition, a virtual private practice specializing in a non-diet approach to diabetes care and women’s health.
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Szczuko M, Skowronek M, Zapałowska-Chwyć M, Starczewski A. Quantitative assessment of nutrition in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2016;67(4):419-426.Price at time of publication: $40 ($1.33 per serving) Product Details:Form: Other Ingredients: Third-Party Tested: Price at time of publication: $87 ($1.45 per serving)Product Details:Form: Type: Dose: Third-Party Tested: Price at time of publication: $15.00 ($0.50 per serving)Product Details:Form: Type: Dose: Third-Party Tested: Price at time of publication: $38.00 ($1.27 per serving)Product Details:Form: Type: Dose: Third-Party Tested: Price at time of publication: $43 ($0.11 per capsule)Product Details:Form: Type: Dose: Third-Party Tested: Price at time of publication: $50 ($0.83 per serving)Product Details:Form: Type: Dose: Third-Party Tested: Price at time of publication: $34 ($0.57 per serving)Product Details:Form: Type: Dose:Third-Party Tested: Price at time of publication: $40 ($0.33 per count)Product Details:Form: Type: Dose: Third-Party Tested: Price at time of publication: $48 ($0.80 per serving)Product Details:Form: Type: Dose: Other ingredients: Third-Party Tested: Price at time of publication: $30 ($0.31 per tea bag)Product Details:Form: Type: Dose: Other ingredients: Third-Party Tested: Medication intoleranceNutrient deficiencyLack of diet varietyThose who are pregnant or lactatingThose on certain medicationsCertain health conditionsThose who eat an adequate, varied diet