how to treat pcos naturally
Education, Protocols and Detox, Supplements, Toxins

PCOS: How to Treat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Naturally

I have PCOS, or more accurately, I have been diagnosed with PCOS, but no longer exhibit any of its symptoms. I no longer have acne on my upper back or chin, hair loss on my head, irregular or absent periods, or blood sugar issues. Fortunately, I was never a person that dealt with aggressive body hair growth or obesity, and I did not have large cysts, but due to my cluster of symptoms, I still have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I have made the statistic shown to affect 1 in 5 women in the U.S. Other lesser symptoms I experienced were foggy thinking, fatigue, sugar cravings, and low libido.

PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is one of the most frustrating conditions to be faced with. The reason being that it is a condition that seems to have no straight answer. From the risk factors that lead to its manifestation, to the treatments offered for its cessation, the answers are just not really there. The “solutions” offered are varied, a mixture of trial and error, with going on birth control as being the most popular of them all. But for most of us, we realize that going on birth control is not the path that we want to take. Going on birth control not only seems to be a band-aid to the underlying issue, but it also leads to a host of its own symptoms and problems. If you haven’t fully explored the option of going on birth control, definitely take a look at my article about its pros and cons before moving forward.

 

PCOS-treat-it-naturally

Photo Credit: Abigail Keenan

 

Treating PCOS naturally is possible, and I am here to offer you guidance on how to do just that. I do not believe that using birth control or other pharmaceutical medications is the only answer, and I know that it is possible to treat it naturally. Using a combination of diet, herbs and supplements, I will walk you through the process of how to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome.

This process is just that, a process. It takes time and it does take dedication and patience. This is not like using a drug, meaning that the symptoms are not healed overnight. What you are going to do is reset the body by working on the underlying root causes of PCOS. PCOS is a multifaceted condition that can take many months to unravel, so patience and fortitude is necessary. I completely understand how emotional this process is, but I want you to know that you are not alone, and that you CAN change. As long as you are dedicated to working WITH your body, not against it, by giving it the love and support it needs to truly heal, anything is possible.

The following program is an outline designed to be used as a guide. Some of these treatments will work for you, and some will not. Each person’s chemistry is different, so the goal is to find what your body wants and to use it. I suggest that you try each treatment out for about 3 months. If you do not see any results in 3 moths, then it might not be what your body needs at this time, so move on to the next one. And why 3 months? It takes time for the body to change, so we want to make sure that you are giving the nutrient enough time to do its work.

*Disclaimer: Before you change your diet, or follow any suggestions of herbal or supplement products always consult with your doctor. This is my opinion only based on my experience. Each person’s body chemistry is different and therefore responds differently to natural treatments.

 

Photo Credit: Chris Sardegna

Photo Credit: Chris Sardegna

 

What is PCOS?

 

PCOS is a term used to describe a common hormonal disorder. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome causes the ovaries to produce excessive amounts of androgens, and an imbalance in the other hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. PCOS affects 20 percent of woman and can interfere with fertility by blocking regular monthly ovulation. When you have PCOS, although not always (like me), the ovaries become enlarged with many small follicles that appear like cysts (fluid-filled sacs). It is believed that these cysts are the result of disturbed hormones and ovulation, so that the eggs don’t go through the normal maturation sequence. The good news is that these cysts are not dangerous, meaning they don’t require surgical removal, nor are they associated with an increase in ovarian cancer.

PCOS is hard to diagnose due to its varied symptoms and its manifestation over time. Some woman have cysts but no other symptoms. Some woman are lean, deal with acne, and hirsutism, but have no cysts. Everyone is different. The range of symptoms includes hirsutism; acne; irregular, absent, or heavy menstrual periods; lack of ovulation; inflammation, blood sugar imbalance, and infertility. More than 75 percent of PCOS patients also are overweight or obese. Since PCOS cannot be diagnosed with one test alone and symptoms vary from woman to woman, PCOS has been known as the “Silent Killer.” Early diagnosis of PCOS is important as it has been linked to an increased risk for developing several medical risks including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, mood problems, abnormal liver enzymes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. If you suffer from any of the symptoms above, consult with your gynecologist for an ultrasound and blood work.

 

Photo Credit: Joshua Hibbert

Photo Credit: Joshua Hibbert

 

PCOS: How to Treat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Naturally

 

1. Hormone Balancing Diet

 

There is no way around the diet when treating PCOS. Your diet provides the nutrients the body needs to normalize, and it also controls your blood sugar, inflammation and exposure to chemicals, hormones and other toxins that contribute to the manifestation of PCOS.

The goal of this diet is to eliminate exposure to xenoestrogens, chemicals that cause stress to the liver and hormones, and foods that cause unhealthy weight gain and blood sugar imbalance. By accomplishing these three things, your body has the chance to detoxify, and to restore normal functioning of the hormone system.

 

What is a xenoestrogen?

A xenoestrogen is a substance that has estrogen-like effects in the body, leading to hormone imbalance and hormone-related conditions such as PCOS. Our exposure to xenoestrogens come in many forms. For example, plastics (water bottles, Saran wrap, plastic Tupperware) and the chemicals found in conventional skincare/household care are some of our biggest environmental exposures. As for internal exposure, xenoestrogens are also found in our food supply through pesticides, herbicides, fungacides and growth hormones. Non-organic meat and dairy products are our biggest source of xenoestrogens. The animals that are raised inorganically are fed corn that has been sprayed with pesticides (xenoestrogen), and are administered hormones for growth. When we eat these foods we are exposed. It is also important to choosing pesticide-free produce, as this is also a big cause for exposure.

 

How do I eliminate liver-stressing chemicals?

The liver is in charge of manufacturing, breaking down and detoxifying hormones. It is imperative that the liver performs these jobs efficiently because without it, the hormones have trouble being in perfect balance. When you have PCOS, it is most likely that your liver is not doing its job. That is why it is imperative to eat a diet that supports liver functioning.

The first thing to support liver, and therefore hormone balance with PCOS, is to eliminate all liver-stressing foods. This includes all foods that are processed, packaged or refined. The chemicals (preservatives, flavorings, colors, texture-agents) in these foods greatly impair liver function. Focusing on a clean diet of fresh whole foods like grains, raw nuts/seeds, pesticide-free fruits + vegetables, healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, superfoods, wild-caught fish, organic eggs and fermented foods. Include liver-cleansing foods like parsley, cilantro, turmeric, citrus, beets, garlic + onions, dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, and olive oil, which will help with liver detox. Avoiding alcoholic beverages and drugs is also very important. These substances are not only stressful on the liver, but some beverages, like beer, and drugs, like marijuana, can have estrogen-like effects on the body.

 

Herbs for PCOS

Herbs for PCOS

 

How do I eat to balance blood sugar?

If you have PCOS, then there is a very high chance you have an issue with blood sugar balance. Keeping your blood sugar balanced takes a combination of food timing + food proportion, with eating the right types of foods. You must take this very seriously because keeping your blood sugar balanced is a key part of clearing PCOS symptoms.

The first thing to know is how to eat. Focus on eating smaller meals 3x/day with three protein-rich snacks in between breakfast/lunch, lunch/dinner, and before bedtime. This is going to help balance blood sugar by preventing any major drop. When you are done with a meal you should not feel full, but rather just not hungry. You are looking to feel satiated. Great protein snacks are as follows; organic hard boiled egg with mustard + sea salt, kale chips, dried apples with almond butter, hummus and seed crackers, mini protein shake, coconut yogurt and trail mix, 1/2 avocado and sea salt, and berries drizzled in tahini.

The second thing to know is what to eat. We will be eating a low glycemic diet (foods with a score 55 or less), which has shown to reduce androgens (these are high in those with PCOS) by 20 percent. That means that all processed foods, fast foods, boxed foods and refined foods go out the door. These spike blood sugar big time. The best way to do this is to think about eliminating the middle sections of the grocery store. If it is fresh, you eat it, with the exceptions of dried foods (nuts/seeds), canned beans, pickled veggies, bulk grains (gluten-free is best), and grain-free crackers and bars. The focus will be on foods that digest slowly, eating foods rich in fiber, nutrients, healthy fats and protein. Steer clear of white flour, white sugar + white potatoes, as well as anything with a long list of ingredients you cannot pronounce. This includes sodas, pastries and other bread products like pretzels, bagels, danishes, croissants etc. Sugar significantly increases serum insulin and IGF-1, both of which raise androgens. We will also avoid dairy products for at least 6 weeks. Dairy products are shown to increase matrix metalloproteinase (MMK), which increases inflammation leading to higher androgens and acne.

Finally, if your blood sugar balance is not responding to diet, you may have to add in a supplement called GlucoFunction. This product helps to keep blood sugar levels in balance using minerals such as zinc, magnesium, vanadium and chromium, as well as the herbs cinnamon, bitter melon and gymnema sylvestre. This can really give you the extra boost needed to balance blood sugar thus promoting a healthy weight, mood and hormone levels.

 

What do I drink?

Drink half your weight in ounces of filtered water daily. Add a pinch of sea salt or an electrolyte powder to ensure you are getting ample minerals. Coconut water is another great beverage to drink to increase electrolytes, as well as spearmint tea, which has shown to help lower androgens in those with PCOS. Aim for 3 cups of peppermint tea daily (cold or hot). Fresh-pressed vegetable juice (the more bitter the better) made with minimal fruit and root veggies is also an option as well as kombucha, unsweetened tea, kefir, kvass, unsweetened nut milk, and black coffee. Eliminate ALL sodas, diet drinks, flavored coffee drinks, sugar beverages like hot chocolate, fruit juice, sweetened tea and energy drinks.

 

Any other foods to focus on?

There are a few foods that are particularly helpful in balancing hormones and supporting the functioning of the related organs. I recommend eating these foods as often as possible, at least one every day. This includes the following:

Seaweed (rich source of iodine needed for thyroid)

Pumpkin seeds, tahini, + lentils (rich source of zinc needed for testosterone, LH, FSH hormones)

Brazil nuts + oat bran (rich source of selenium needed for hormone balance and blood sugar balance)

Chia seeds, raw walnuts + wild caught salmon (rich source of omega 3 fatty acids needed to lower inflammation + support hormone function)

Bee pollen (rich source of bioflavonoids, building blocks of hormone production)

Coconut oil/butter/meat (rich source of MCT fats needed for thyroid function)

Cinnamon (1/2 tsp daily), buckwheat + broccoli (rich source of chromium, excellent for balancing blood sugar)

Maca + shatavari (herbs/roots excellent for balancing hormones)

Flax seeds (contains lignans, which increases sex hormone binding globulin, lowering blood testosterone levels and perhaps reducing the hyperandrogenic effects)

 

Where do I begin?

Now that I have sufficiently overwhelmed you, I am going to give you a spoon full of sugar (it helps this diet go down) – my Hormone Balancing Food and Herb Diet. The goal is to follow this diet to the T. Now don’t panic, this is NOT a deprivation diet and there are lots of foods you love and enjoy on the list. If you have a known blood sugar issue then avoid the high glycemic foods altogether, but if not, simply follow the guidelines for their consumption frequency. Print this food list out, and then go to my resources page to find my favorite list of healthy food blogs. They will be your lifeline for staying on this diet plan, providing you will countless recipes and delicious inspiration for eating while living with PCOS.

 

Foods to eat for PCOS

Foods to eat for PCOS

 

2. Restore Menstruation

 

Most of us who are dealing with PCOS are not menstruating normally. This can mean that there is no period at all, there are periods but they are infrequent, or when the periods do arrive, the blood flow is not normal. One of the best ways to restore the period when it is absent is by using Marjoram Compound. This is an all natural holistic herbal remedy. It is used to help balance out the body so that the normal menstrual cycles can normalize. In my experience, this gentle remedy can be quite powerful, helping the menstrual cycle to return within a couple months. I would suggest starting with this product if you are experiencing abnormal cycles. If it does not have any effect within 2 months time, it might not be the product for you. But don’t worry the other remedies listed here can do the trick instead.

* The marjoram compound is targeted to restoring the menstrual cycle. It is best to take with the other suggested remedies listed below in order to address the full complex of symptoms attributed to PCOS.

Supplement to take: Marjoram Compound by Weleda
*Marjoram is no longer sold online. To purchase, call the company directly at 1.800.241.1030 ext. 1

Typical dosage: 15 drops 2x/day

Duration: Take until periods have returned and you are getting your period consistently for 2 – 3 months.

 

Photo Credit: David Mao

Photo Credit: David Mao

 

3. Targeted Therapeutic Nutrition

 

It is very important to have a good foundation of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the diet. This is vital for supporting the organs involved in the PCOS syndrome including the adrenal glands, thyroid, ovaries and uterus. My favorite way to do this is not only with diet (this comes number one), but also with the formula, Women’s Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations.

Women’s Nutrients is a complete complex of the key vitamins and minerals need by those who have PCOS. In particular, it has magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc and chromium. These nutrients support the hormone system, the brain and nerves, and also play a vital role in blood sugar balance. Next, this formula is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are used to lower inflammation, support liver, and to combat any toxins present in the body. It has green tea (also great for weight loss and blood sugar balance), turmeric, selenium (also supports thyroid), pomegranate, and grape extract. Finally, Women’s Nutrients also contains herbs such as Rhodiola and Lemon Balm that help to lower stress, support the adrenal glands, and to calm the mind. This is so important because high-stress levels greatly disturb hormone balance, cause weight gain and increase inflammation. While you can take these nutrients separately, I feel like this formula blend is the easiest way to get what you need in one fell swoop.

I recommend that all women take this formula as a foundation for health and for supporting PCOS. It can be taken alongside the more therapeutic nutrients offered below, thus providing a backbone for the rebuilding of the system, and normalization of hormone functioning.

Supplement to take: Women’s Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations

Typical dosage: 6 capsules/day

Duration: I would recommend taking this long term to supplement your diet. It is not only helpful for those with PCOS, but also with maintaining good health and well-being.

Having trouble with weight loss?

If you are having trouble with weight, I would suggest taking the multivitamin pack called Pure Lean Pure Pack. Much like the Women’s Nutrients it is a high-quality multivitamin that has all the nutrients needed to support your health. In addition, it has very specific nutrients that target metabolism and can help boost the body’s fat burning capabilities. I would suggest using this product as a replacement for Women’s Nutrients as it can be very effective in helping you to get to a healthy weight.

Supplement to take: Pure Lean Pure Pack by Pure Encapsulations

 

Photo Credit: Maja Petric

Photo Credit: Maja Petric

 

4. Boost Essential Fatty Acids + Lower Inflammation

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA) are constituents of the membranes of all cells in the body and are precursors of locally produced hormones, eicosanoids, which are important in the prevention and treatment of various diseases, including PCOS, especially in women. These fats are proven to be potent anti-inflammatory agents, reducing the inflammation that adversely affects the hormone system. Omega 3 fatty acids have shown in studies to increase fertility in those with PCOS, help balance out levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), to decrease LH and testosterone levels, and to normalize the menstrual cycle in those with PCOS. Research has also indicated that omega-3 may be also effective in improving hirsutism (excessive body hair growth) and insulin resistance in patients with PCOS.

Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in numerous foods such as wild-caught salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and their oils. It is a good idea to start incorporating these foods into the diet daily. I also strongly recommend taking an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement as well. With the levels needed to be therapeutic for those addressing PCOS, the diet alone is almost always insufficient. That is why taking a supplement in addition to incorporating Omega 3-rich foods into the diet is the most effective way to reap the benefits when dealing with PCOS.

Supplement to take: OmegaGenics EPA DHA 720 by Metagenix

Typical dosage: 800 mg EPA, 580 mg DHA (on average)

Duration: I would recommend taking this long term to supplement your diet. It is not only helpful for those with PCOS, but also with maintaining good health and well-being. You may decrease your dosage or frequency of supplementation over time once your symptoms of PCOS have subsided. If your diet is extremely rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and free of unhealthy oils (fried foods, lard, canola/soy/cotton oil, margarine etc.), you may get your oils from the diet and use the supplement on occasion only.

Note: Omega 3 fatty acids are extremely delicate. They are susceptible to damage from light, heat and the processing they undergo during manufacturing. Omega 3 fatty acids are often derived from fish who have unhealthy levels of heavy metals, making them a poor (and harmful) choice for the body. ONLY choose a reputable brand of Omega 3 fatty acids like the Metagenix I listed above, or something similar such as Pure Encapsulations.

 

Omega 3 fats for PCOS

Omega 3 fats for PCOS

 

5. Support Hormone Balance + Clear Acne

 

As a person who never dealt with bad acne in her life until PCOS set in, I feel your pain. Acne popping up around the jawline, mouth, cheeks and upper back are just a few of the most telltale signs that your hormones are causing your skin to break out. It feels overwhelming, depressing and hopeless, but I promise you that you CAN and WILL have clear skin again.

The good news is that cleaning up your diet and balancing your blood sugar is going to help. Foods like sugar, gluten grains, refined and fried foods and dairy are all culprits here. So by simply eliminating them, you are already on the right track. The next step is to utilize the God-given power of the root, Maca. Maca is an adaptogen meaning that its inherent properties and nutrients help to balance out your hormones. It helps to raise the hormones that are too low, and lower the ones that are too high. In this case, we are looking to target the testosterone that is out of control. In addition, maca lowers the stress that inevitably comes with having PCOS, while also increasing energy, mood and sexual drive. Yes, a miracle root for sure.

There are many forms of maca root on the market, but I have found one product to be far more effective in clearing up acne in those with PCOS than all the rest. This product is MacaHarmony. It is a highly concentrated proprietary formulation of different types of the herb maca (Lepidium peruvianum) for hormone balance, menstrual and reproductive health. There are 13 different types (scientifically known as phenotypes) of maca, that are different colors, contain different active ingredient profiles and most importantly have different effects in the body. This formula utilizes the maca that is most effective for women’s health issues such as PCOS. It also has concentrated levels up to 10 times what is found in raw maca and over 40% higher water solubility. This maximizes the bioavailability and body’s ability to absorb the nutrients.

Also, remember to switch to non-toxic skincare products. We want to use skincare products that do not contain chemicals (like the xenoestrogens mentioned above), and are made from plant-based and food ingredients. This will help to calm and clear the skin.

Supplement to take: Femmenessence MacaHarmony

Typical dosage: 1-2 capsules 2x/day (am + 12-2 pm) or package dosages

Duration: Maca is one of those herbs that once you start taking you don’t want to ever stop. I would recommend taking the Maca for at least 3 months once your skin has cleared up. You can then lower the dosage and wean yourself off. If the acne comes back, don’t hesitate to go back on it.

*Maca is somewhat of a stimulant so make sure not to take it in the late afternoon. It can inhibit sleep.

Natural Skincare Products: Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser + Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster Serum + Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer

 

Photo Credit: Milada Vigerova

Photo Credit: Milada Vigerova

 

6. Detoxify Xenoestrogens + Support Liver Function

 

As mentioned previously, detoxifying the body and supporting liver function are two of the main steps in dealing with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The goal is to detoxify chemicals and toxins, especially xenoestrogens, which are known to cause hormone imbalance in the body, thus leading to PCOS. When the body becomes burdened with high levels of chemicals, the liver and other hormone-related organs are not able to function normally. As a result, hormones are not produced in the correct amounts, nor are they broken down and cleared from the body when necessary. This sets the stage for certain hormones to be too high, like testosterone, lutenizing hormone, estrogens, and androstenedione, and certain hormones to be too low, like the follicle stimulating hormone. In addition, the inability for the liver to perform its job correctly can also lead to high cholesterol, a common condition associated with PCOS. Finally, overall toxicity of the body from chemical exposure and a poor diet damages other tissues as well such as the pancreas. This quickly leads to blood sugar (insulin) imbalance, weight gain and diabetes.

My favorite tool for detoxifying the body of xenoestrogens and other toxins, as well as supporting liver function is a product called DIM Detox. When paired with the hormone balancing diet mentioned above, DIM Detox is an extremely effective method for cleansing when dealing with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It contains a combination of nutrients, amino acids and herbs that are specifically designed to target chemicals that interfere with hormone balance. In addition, it also works to support liver detox and tissue repair. These nutrients are well-researched and have proven efficacious in numerous studies. First off it contains indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane, and diindolylmethane (DIM). These compounds promote healthy estrogen metabolism, detoxification (esp. of xenoestrogens) and cell cycle activity. It also contains calcium-D-glucarate, which targets beta-glucuronidase enzyme activity. It has shown to promote healthy hormone detoxification and the regulation of estrogen and lipid metabolism. DIM Detox also contains silymarin (active form of milk thistle known to support detox and repair of liver), alpha lipoic acid (powerful antioxidant for repairing tissue damage from toxins + lower inflammation) and n-acetyl-l-cysteine (increases glutathione, an antioxidant that promotes liver detox, lowers inflammation, + improves insulin sensitivity). Finally, it also contains taurine, glycine and methionine, which promote phase II liver detox and healthy cell metabolism. As you can see, this formula is pretty much everything we need to support the liver and detox when dealing with PCOS.

Supplement to take: DIM Detox by Pure Encapsulations

Typical dosage: Follow supplement recommendations

Duration: The duration of this supplement depends on your level of toxicity, but for most, I would suggest taking the DIM Detox for 3 months. This gives the body time to thoroughly cleanse current toxins while supporting regeneration. In some cases, taking the DIM Detox for 6 months or more may be beneficial.

 

Photo Credit: Nigel Lo

Photo Credit: Nigel Lo

 

7. Lower Androgens + Reduce Hair Loss/Excessive Body Hair Growth

 

We have finally come to one of the most painful aspects of suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome… hair. Due to excess androgens in the body, you can suffer from hair loss (male-like pattern baldness) on the head, while subsequently experiencing excess facial and body hair. And not just a few light hairs on the body, dark and thick ones at that. As a woman, this can be one of the most frustrating, emotionally painful and depressive symptoms of them all.

Now I want to be straight forward in telling you that hair regrowth on the head is very, very possible. It will take time (up to a year in some cases), but it can happen. I had a small bald spot on the front of my scalp for many, many years but have now 85% of the hair back. This took a year or so, and continues to get better, but it takes a clean diet, non-toxic hair care products, minimal heat styling and the supplement (my saving grace!) Hair and Nails by Dragon Herbs. This supplement works unlike any other on the market. It is not based on raising the nutrition levels of the body, but rather on supporting Jing, your body’s life force. This is a formula based on Chinese Medicine, and therefore addresses the root issues of energy and its outward expression, hair growth and strength. It’s main herb is He Shou Wu, which is traditionally utilized for its ability to promote hair and nail growth. This product is amazing, and an essential part of aiding in hair (on the head) regrowth.

The bad news is that excessive body and facial hair is not as easy to treat. In fact, it might be the hardest symptom to address of them all, but that does not mean it is not possible. While Western medicine treats excessive body and facial hair growth, also know as hirsutism, with pharmaceutical drugs, we are going to look at the natural options. This includes agents that decrease the production of androgens at the ovaries and adrenal glands, and reduce levels 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme that facilitates conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

The good news is that we are already reducing androgen production with our diet (low-glycemic + inclusion of spearmint and green tea), by balancing our insulin (eliminating refined sugar and carbohydrates), and with our supplements Women’s Nutrients (zinc, lignans, calcium, vitamin D, chromium), Omega 3, and DIM Detox. But sometimes we need a little more help, which is where herbs come in. Red Reishi, Licorice, Chaste Tree, Black Cohosh and White Peony are a few herbs that have shown promise in lowering testosterone and DHT. My personal favorite though is Saw Palmetto. Saw Palmetto has anti-androgenic effects, meaning it lowers levels of male hormones in the body by preventing conversion of testosterone to DHT. This may have implications in reducing acne, excess facial and body hair, as well as hair loss from the scalp. Saw palmetto was recently studied as part of a formula and was able to initiate a reduction in hair loss and an improvement in hair density in patients with testosterone-related hair loss.

Another Saw Palmetto product that works well for reducing symptoms of PCOS including unwanted hair growth, and menstrual cycle regulation is Ovablend by Vitanica. This is more of a blended formula containing some vitamins and minerals, nettles, bloodroot and sarsaparilla, but can be very effective. One thing to mention though is that it can cause nausea in some. So if you have a sensitive stomach, I would recommend using the Saw Palmetto supplement on its own.

Supplements to take: For hair regrowth:

For hair regrowth: Hair and Nails by Dragon Herbs

For body/facial hair: Saw Palmetto by Pure Encapsulations or Ovablend by Vitanica

Typical dosage: 4-6 Hair and Nails daily, Bottle recommendation for Saw Palmetto + Ovablend

Duration: Studies indicate that hair patterns can take up to 6 -12 months to change, therefore, I would suggest taking the products for 6 months before deciding on their efficacy for your particular body chemistry.

Natural Hair care Products: Avalon Thickening Shampoo + Avalon Thickening Conditioner

 

Photo Credit: Caleb George

Photo Credit: Caleb George

 

8. Support Ovarian Function

 

In the case that you have tried the various formulas above with no luck, it may mean that you need additional ovarian support. Your ovaries are in charge of making various hormones, and without proper function, these hormones become out of whack, leading to PCOS and its symptoms. While the nutrients, diet and other supplement regimes do target the ovaries, in some cases additional help is needed. In these such cases, I love using Inositol.

Inositol is a component of the B-complex family. Research suggests that myo-inositol (MI) may help to support healthy ovulatory activity, ovarian function, and reproductive system function. Specifically, decreases in testosterone, triglycerides, and blood pressure; a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity; and a greatly increased frequency of ovulation were indicated. In addition, improved insulin sensitivity and androgen levels were seen as well as a return to normal menstruation and weight loss. The second form of inositol is D-chiro-inositol (DCI). DCI has shown in a study to cut free testosterone by more than half and lowered blood pressure and triglycerides in 8 weeks or less in those with PCOS.

Supplement to take: Myo-Inositol by Pure Encapsulations and D-chiro-inositol by NOW Foods

Typical dosage: 4 grams/day of MI and 1200 mg/day of DCI

Duration: Inositol seems to have a more rapid effect on the body than some of the other nutrients, so I would suggest taking it for 2 months. After those 2 months see if there are any changes. If so, continue for another month or so, if not, consider looking for another remedy.

 

Photo Credit: Cas Cornelissen

Photo Credit: Cas Cornelissen

 

9. Cellular Cleansing + Restore Normal Cell Functioning 

 

Now if all else fails and you are still exhibiting symptoms of PCOS, you can try a cellular cleanse. By using low potency, plant-based homeopathic remedies, you can target certain cells and reset their functioning so to speak. For this purpose, I like using UNDA remedies. The UNDA remedies allow the optimal function of the organs. They help to draw toxins from inside the cells and enhance the free movement of toxins towards the eliminatory organs, thus restoring normal functioning to the cells. They are extremely gentle, simply allowing the body to return to its healthy state.

Supplement to take: UNDA #10, UNDA #21, UNDA 245 (3 different products)

Typical dosage: Use 5 drops of each in a small amount of water 3x/day, ideally away from meals. Do not mix all the remedies together, either in a spoon or in water. Do each sequentially.

Duration: Take the UNDA remedies until the completion of the bottle. At the point, re-evaluate symptoms before continuing.

 

Photo Credit: Ben Moore

Photo Credit: Ben Moore

 

10. Exercise + Burning Body Fat + Balancing Blood Sugar

 

Here it is, the one you thought you might get away from. Exercise is not just about moving your body to burn calories, it is also about strengthening your body system, moving toxins out, reducing stress (both mental + physical), and normalizing the way your body functions. When you have PCOS, each and every one of these aspects is vital to the treatment.

The best form of exercise for PCOS is short burst, high-intensity exercises. These help to jump start the body, burn fat, build muscle and get your body working how it was made. These types of exercises also help to balance blood sugar, make you more insulin sensitive, and encourages detoxification in the body.

According to a 12-month study conducted by Anne McTiernan at the Cancer Prevention Research Program of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, data shows that loss of body fat in conjunction with moderate intensity exercise causes a greater decline in androgen, testosterone and free testosterone.

Combining a healthy diet high in protein and free of processed foods, unhealthy carbohydrates, sugars and fats in addition to moderate exercise, 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week should be the starting point towards getting the body back on the right track.

Another form of exercise to take on is yoga. Yoga was recently shown to be more effective than other forms of exercise as it improves insulin resistance in those with PCOS. Yoga also helps to calm the mind and reduce stress, both of which are vitally important for balancing hormones. Plan on doing yoga 2-3 times a week, and cardiovascular/weight bearing exercises 3 times a week.

 

Photo Credit: Julia Caesar

Photo Credit: Julia Caesar

 

Q & A

 

How long did it take for you to see results?

Once I started following the program, I started to see results in 6 weeks. My period returned within 2 months time although it took awhile for it to start following a 28 day cycle. Some months it was longer, some months shorter. My skin cleared up first, then period normalization, and then my hair stopped falling out. It took about 6 months to see hair regrowth. My energy returned, my mood calmed and my blood sugar balanced in about 2-3 months time.

 

Yikes! This is A LOT of supplements! How do I navigate this program?

The reason so many remedies are listed is because each person’s hormones and body chemistry is different, even with PCOS. Since I cannot make individualized plans for everyone, I have done my best to list all the various ways to address PCOS and its many varying symptoms.

In order to get the most out of this program, you must follow the diet and exercise plan. These are essential and non-negotiable. Next up, I recommend that everyone (health permitting) utilizes the therapeutic nutrition step, taking the Women’s Nutrients, and the Omega 3 fatty acid step. These are the backbone for health overall, and have the most nutrients that support hormone balance when dealing with PCOS. Without these you will be approaching your treatment on a more symptom-based approach, rather than a root-based approach. You need to make sure that your basic nutritional foundation is secure before moving on.

Beyond those steps, I suggest supporting liver function with the DIM Detox. Everyone needs liver support when dealing with PCOS, and our body will always improve when the liver is happy and healthy. From there, simply choose the remedy that matches the symptom that you are experiencing. For example, if you have acne, then take the MacaHarmony along with the previous supplements mentioned (women’s nutrients, omega 3 fatty acids + DIM Detox).

 

I can’t afford all the supplements I need. What should I do?

While it is best to use all the supplements you need to support your body, if it is not possible, I would work the program in steps. First start with replenishing your foundational nutrition using the Women’s Nutrients and the Omega 3 fatty acids. I would take these for about 2 months or so in order to remedy any deficiencies. You can then come off the foundational nutrients, ONLY IF, you are eating an extremely clean and nutrient-dense diet. The goal will be to replace the supplement with food, but as I mentioned before, you will need to be very strict about this. You should be eating loads of veggies, and superfoods, and incorporating Omega 3 fatty acid-rich foods daily.

Once you have the basics covered, you can then choose the supplement that best fits your symptom. For example, that might mean taking the Inositol and the OvaBlend.

*Coming off the foundational nutrients may cause a return of symptoms. If so, it might be necessary to continue on them for longer.

 

How long do I take these supplements for?

You might have noticed that I have put a suggested duration for each of the supplement recommendations. These are merely recommendations and certainly are not the rule for everyone. I find that it takes about 3 months for the body to utilize a nutrient. In that time frame you should typically see some sort of result, even if it is tiny. Since not all of these remedies will be the key to your specific issue, be mindful of how you feel while on them. If in that time frame you feel better, then it is working for you. If not, move on and try a different strategy. But remember, these are NOT pharmaceutical drugs and therefore do not work like them. They take time, as it takes time for your body to change. Just like working out doesn’t make you lose weight and build muscle in a weeks time, neither do these supplements. Be patient.

If you find that a certain remedy works for you, continue taking it. In some cases, you might find that taking the supplement long-term (1 year +) is what your body needs to be balanced. Therefore, continue taking it until you feel like you do not need it anymore. You can try coming off of it and see how your body does. If the old symptoms return, go back on the supplement. If they don’t return, then your body most likely has come back into balance and no longer requires the supplement.

 

What more can I do to lose weight? It is not coming off.

I would suggest moving towards a version of the ketogenic diet. This diet eliminates sugar/glucose as a source of fuel, and directs the body towards using fat as fuel instead. It is not a long-term diet solution, but if done correctly (and strictly), it can help the body to lose the extra weight. If you are going to do this diet, it is imperative that you only eat organic meat products. Non-organic meat products contain hormones (growth hormones etc.) that will interrupt your hormone balance and further cause distress to the hormone system. For more details about this diet, feel free to email me at lauren@theholykale.com. In addition to following the ketogenic diet, consider using a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal. This encourages you to watch what you are eating, staying accountable for the food you are consuming daily. It is a great way to motivate you to reach your calorie goals for the day.

Exercise cannot be missed either if you are looking to lose weight. Cardiovascular activities are always going to be the best way to lose pounds. This can be in any form that best fits your needs. Running, long-distance walking, swimming, dancing, spinning, biking, hiking, skiing, surfing…. there are so many options! I also like using a FitBit wrist tracker that helps you count your daily steps, miles, and calories burned. This has shown to be extremely motivating in helping you to get moving!

 

What more can I do to balance blood sugar? I have really bad low blood sugar.

Try taking nutrients to support the pancreas like GlucoFunction, and consider taking a pancreatic enzyme like Pancreatic VegEnzymes. This will help to further support the pancreas and thus blood sugar. It is also imperative that you follow a clean, and low glycemic diet to the T. Make sure you are not eating processed foods, fast foods, and are not eating sweets or drinking soda. These are some of the worst offenders. I also recommend greatly increasing your consumption of foods that help balance blood sugar. This includes green tea, cinnamon, broccoli, oats, barley, spinach, kale, seeds, cacao (unrefined form of dark chocolate), almonds, beans and apple cider vinegar.

 

I’ve done everything above to the T, but I am still experiencing symptoms, what should I do?

If you have followed the program above and have tried each remedy for at least 2-3 months without any response, then I would get your blood work tested again. There might be a specific deficiency, or excess of a hormone that you are missing. Once targeted, treatment can be directed towards normalizing that one specific aspect. In some cases, once everything else has been tried, bioindentical hormones can be utilized. Progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone cream are the most common bioindentical hormones used, but be mindful of how you are using them. They must be taken with extreme care, and I recommend that your blood levels are monitored carefully when taking them. More often than not, bioindentical hormones can make your symptoms worse not better, since the blood levels of the hormones are not monitored leading to an excess of a hormone.

 

How do I know when I am in balance?

When you are experiencing a balance of androgens, the gross symptoms of PCOS should be no longer present. You should feel calm, alert and confident. Your skin should be clear with minimal, if any, acne. Your period should come every month within a few days of the 28 day cycle. The period should have a good amount of blood flow, and it should come without extreme PMS. You will be at a good and healthy weight, one that reflects your clean diet and regular exercise routine. You hair should be returning to your head, and hopefully thinning out and disappearing on the body. Although, I must mention that it is possible for your hormones to be normal, but there still to be body/facial hair present. In some cases, it is merely genetic and not related to hormones that are out of balance. There should be no longer cysts present on the ovaries and your body should be able to conceive when ready.

 

I don’t see any references for the scientific basis of this program. Is there any?

Yes there is. Because of the readability of this piece I have chosen to not post them. If you are interested in furthering your research of this topic, feel free to email me directly at lauren@theholykale.com. I would be happy to direct you to the sources.

 

Should I work with my doctor before taking these supplements?

Yes. Always always consult with your doctor before changing your diet or taking any supplements. If you are on certain medications or have pre-existing conditions it is imperative to check with your doctor to make sure there will be no interaction with the new supplements or diet.

 

There it is. My dearest wish is that you find hope, answers and change through this post. Please share your experiences, your fears, your challenges and your feedback below in the comments. The more that we can come together and support and encourage each other, the more powerful we become. This is a loving, nurturing and safe space, do not hesitate to join the conversation.

xx

Lauren

≈ For more healthy living tipsrecipes and inspiration please subscribe to this blog on the bottom right of the homepage, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and  Join the THK health conversation on Facebook!

 

Photo Credit: Sascha Oberholzer

Photo Credit: Sascha Oberholzer

 

 

This information (and any accompanying material) is not intended to replace the attention or advice of a physician or other qualified health care professional. Anyone who wishes to embark on any dietary, drug, exercise, or other lifestyle change intended to prevent or treat a specific disease or condition should first consult with and seek clearance from a physician or other qualified health care professional. Pregnant women in particular should seek the advice of a physician before using any protocol listed on this website. All product recommended in this article are chosen because I know them to work from personal experience. I am not working for any of these companies, and am not paid by them to recommend their products.

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55 Comments

  • Reply Aubrey @ Just Balancing Health October 16, 2015 at 12:32 am

    I don’t have PCOS but this was such a beautifully written, thorough post!!!

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale October 21, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Thank you Aubrey. Hopefully if you come across anyone that could benefit from this you can forward it along 🙂

  • Reply Grazyna October 16, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Need a copy of this article sent to me

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale October 21, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Hello Grazyna, feel free to email me directly at lauren@theholykale.com and I can help you with getting started.

  • Reply Hannah January 8, 2016 at 2:03 am

    Thank you very much for this article. I have a few questions on the hair and nails formula. I am interested in herbs- but i do worry about their safety. I did some research and the primary ingredient in that formula has been shown to do liver damage. Do you have any thoughts on the safety of these products?

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale January 8, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Hannah, Chinese herbs have been in question for a long time because they are not strictly regulated and many herbs from China have been found to have heavy metals. The good news is that Dragon Herbs (the company that makes Hair and Nails) is highly regulated and undergoes rigorous testing to ensure its safety. Feel free to give the company a call directly to learn more about their safety procedure. But it is because of this that I trust their company and have had no issue with their product line especially the hair and nails product. I have seen a couple reports where liver issues were tied to He Shou Wu but overall I believe it is a safe herb when taken correctly. If you have pre-existing liver issues, like Hep C, then it might be best to talk to your MD. Hope that helps!

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  • Reply Emmanuela February 12, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Incredible POV. This really rmednis me of the book Animal, Vegetable, Mineral as well as Michael Pollan’s theory of only eating food that your grandparents would recognize.

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale February 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply Kelly March 9, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I have recently stopped taking my oral contraceptive.. and since have learned what poison it was for my body as I am experiencing a slew of unpleasant, frightening and new symptoms. I had been taking the pill for about 10 years to manage my PCOS, periods and of course as a form of protection. I haven’t yet begun to experience all of the symptoms typically identified with PCOS (hair loss or acne), or that you specifically identified, rather, when I discontinued taking the pill I immediately gained a few pounds, became (and remain) severely bloated, am suffering from unbearable pelvic pain, mood swings etc. I’m just hoping for shared experiences, perhaps even some validation or clarification from you or the community about these symptoms and if they are normal and if this program would also help. I did order a few of the products and they are scheduled to arrive today however being in the dark about this and what my body is going through is extremely scary and I’m already a bit sensitive these days.

    Thank you,
    Kelly

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale March 10, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      Hi Kelly, I am so sorry to hear about what you are facing. It is common to have side effects from coming off the birth control, especially since you were on it for so long and have PCOS. The good news is that there is ways to manage and to get rid of the symptoms. The supplements you ordered is a good start, but just be mindful that the diet and exercise is also an essential part of the program, along with stress management. If you want to hear more about BC side effects, head on over to this post and read through the comments, I think it will give you motivation and hope. Remember to be patient, these things take time and for being on BC 10 years it may take time to rebalance. Stay dedicated and hopeful. Feel free to email me directly at lauren@theholykale.com as well.

  • Reply Lilah May 20, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Is it safe to take both Spironolactone (50-75mg) and Saw Palmetto?

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale May 30, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Lilah, Definitely check with your MD before starting. Saw Palmetto interacts with Testosterone.

  • Reply Stephanie May 24, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Hi Lauren – I noticed the Women’s Nutrients supplement is for women 40 years +. I would imagine you aren’t 40, but still take the supplement, correct? Thank you for this solid source of information. I found it so helpful. 🙂

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale June 1, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Absolutely Stephanie! The calcium levels are a bit higher since you need more as you age, but other than that I think it is a great multi vitamin for all women. So glad to hear it! xx

  • Reply suzy July 13, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    This article was really helpful. I’ve been off oral bc for 2 years now and my period was there for a few months but has been absent for about a year. I’ve tried acupuncture and tcm herbs but it hasn’t helped really. I’ve found that I put on weight much more easily than I used to. I’ve gone to a fertility specialist and they said they think I have mild pcos. It is so frustrating and I just want to feel normal again. I will definitely try some of the supplements you suggest. I’ve also ordered some bee pollen to try out. Thanks for dedicating time to this!

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale July 14, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Hey Suzy, so glad to have you here. Yes, start the program and see how you do. There are many options to try out, so stick with it until you find something that works with your body and chemistry. Let us know how it goes!

  • Reply Alison August 2, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Lauren – I have a question I’m hoping you can answer. I likely have PCOS or at least high androgens but am still on BC (Nuvaring) and trying to build myself up as much as I can with diet, supplements, etc. before I stop it so I have the best chance of making and regulating my hormones on my own. I’ve been taking Womens Nutrients (Pure Encapsulations) for several months. I’ve noticed that recently, even when I take out my ring, I don’t bleed (which hasn’t happened in 6 years) and my acne has gotten much worse. Have you heard anything about the lignans and calcium D glucarate in this vitamin decreasing estrogen with negative effects? I don’t have enough estrogen and have too much testosterone, so I’m now concerned that perhaps I am making this imbalance worse with these vitamins that could lower estrogen levels. I’d appreciate any thoughts you have given your recommendations. Thanks so much!

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale August 17, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      Hi Alison, Calcium d glucarate does not directly change estrogen levels but rather works on the detoxification process of the liver. It supports healthy detoxification and cellular function. In the liver, toxic compounds are bound to glucuronic acids so that they can be eliminated in a safe form from the body in a cleansing process known as glucuronidation. Beta-glucuronidase is a naturally-occurring enzyme found in various organs and cells, which can cleave apart these neutral compounds. D-Glucarate has been shown to help target beta-glucuronidase enzyme activity, supporting the process by which healthy cells eliminate waste and foreign elements. It effects the hormones by supporting liver detox, thus helping it to excrete used hormones, such as estrogen before they can become reabsorbed. This is a positive process because too much estrogen is a major concern for women and can lead to a condition known as estrogen dominance, which is associated with a hormone related disorders. The calcium d glucarate does not make your body produce less estrogen, it simply gets rid of it more efficiently when the body is done using it.

      With that being said, obviously something has changed which has led to the symptoms you are experiencing. Before we point to the supplement, are there any other changes you have made recently? Diet (more dairy, soy, meat..), stress levels (new job, relationship trouble, moving, financial..), another supplement?

  • Reply mona September 5, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Hello,

    I want to start by saying what a good job you have done, i feel like by your article i finally know whats happening with my body.
    But i have just 1 question, i have been recently found to have a very high prolactin hormone, PCOS and my Ovary hormone is low & Vitamen D. And i would very much like to feel better as for the past few months my megrain attacks have become more regular like before and having IBS is not helping.
    Me and my husband how ever would really like to have a baby soon hopefully in the beginning of next year, if God will grant us the blessing.

    Now to finally get to my question since last week my Doctor as given me Planfertile, for the Ovary Hormone that is low. Would it be ok to drink Myo-Inositol and D-Inositol together with the Planfertile? I found a product that has both together Ovasitol. I would love to start using it and see if i can feel better and hopefully get pregnant.

    Some help will be so helpfull.

    Kind Regards
    Mona

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale September 7, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Hi Mona, thank you so much for writing in. It is great that you are working on addressing your issues, esp. since a baby is in the future 🙂 You will have to discuss with your MD about taking the two supplements. He would know best about potential interactions. Best of luck!

  • Reply Jessica October 17, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Hi! I love this article and am so glad for all your knowledge and sharing. I noticed that you recommend pure encapsulations for a lot of your supplements. After sourcing a few of their vitamins I’ve noticed that some of their vitamins are derived from corn and soy products….were you aware? do you still take them? I am shocked that some of their products are from corn and soy! ick.

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale October 18, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Jessica, yes I am aware. The first thing to note is that all Pure Encapsulations ingredients, including those derived from corn are GMO free. For some nutrients of particular concern, they have done PCR testing to confirm the absence of genetically modified material. Therefore, the presence of soy and corn does not concern me.

      As for other companies that use GMO corn and soy in their products, in many cases the processing filters out the GMO fraction. Therefore, even if GMO corn and soy are used, the extensive process gets rid of any fraction of corn or soy. It is so refined that in many cases there is no test that can even trace the final product back to the soy. For example, 99% of vitamin D is made from the fat of soy. Phospholipids and choline are also made from soy.

      As for corn, its cellulose or corn syrup is used as a base to make nutrients such as vitamin C. Almost all ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is made from corn. The cellulose or corn syrup is used as a base for microbial fermentation in the lab, which is then used to derive nutrients.

      Hope the helps make things clearer!

  • Reply Monica October 18, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Laurem

    Thank you so much for this article! I have tried so many things and this is giving me to so much hope; I am excited to give these things a try and get off the meds! One question I had was in regards to the Weleda Marjoram compound. I’m having trouble finding this product on Amazon and was wondering if there was a particular reason you chose Weleda? I found another version made my Hawaii Pharm, but wanted to check in before ordering. Again, thanks so much for all of the guidance here, this is the first time I’ve been excited about a PCOS solution!

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale October 20, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Monica, so glad to hear that you have found this page! Yes, it really gives you so much hope to know there are options out there that do NOT include medication. As for the Marjoram, Weleda is the brand that I have worked with previously so I can trust its efficacy. It looks like the marjoram is out of stock, but it might be worth contacting Weleda directly to see when it will come back in. The difference btn the Hawaii Pharm and the Weleda is that Weleda also contains other ingredients other than Marjoram. Here is the ingredient list:
      10 drops serving size contains Yarrow N/A extract (flower) 106mg
      Marjoram N/A extract (herb) 79mg
      Oak N/A extract (bark) 79mg
      Shepherd’s purse N/A extract (herb) 79mg
      Stinging nettle N/A extract (flower) 63mg
      Marjoram N/A extract (seed) 16mg
      Hope that helps!

  • Reply Danielle December 9, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    I first started losing my hair at 12, and it’s been a spiral of symptoms ever since. About a year ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS and put on hormonal birth control. I was told it would be a miracle worker, but my symptoms have only gotten worse. I stopped taking birth control a few weeks ago, and have started looking into natural ways to balance my hormones. I started taking Maca and the Dim Detox two days ago (I figured this was a good place to start along with a more natural diet since acne is my worst symptom), so obviously it’s too soon to tell if anything’s happening. But, when I take the Dim, I experience some gastro-intestinal pain and I get a headache. Is this a normal reaction?

    This is the most thorough post I’ve found on PCOS–finally I feel like I’m getting answers after 12 years of my body feeling totally out of my control. Thank you!!

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale December 12, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Danielle, I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. It seems like a long journey and I am so happy to know you are finally on the track to getting it under control. Are you taking the supplements with food? Also, are you drinking enough water throughout the day? These are two things that could be causing the discomfort. The DIM does have herbs that cause detoxification. If the body is quite toxic, and the liver congested, when you take herbs that promote liver detox the movement of the toxins can cause headaches. In this case, you can back down to 1 instead of 2 DIM daily. Then move it back up to two in a week. I would also make sure that you are eating super clean and following the hormone balancing diet. The cleaner the body, the less of a toxic body burden and the better the herbs can work to help the hormones balance.

  • Reply Ashley January 30, 2017 at 4:14 am

    Thanks for this informative article. I have PCOS and am already doing a lot of the things you suggested here, but still not ovulating (this month marks 1 year trying to get pregnant, and have only ovulated once in that year’s time). I’m really curious about the marjoram. The specific supplement you recommend is not available on Amazon, and when I did a search for marjoram supplements, only the essential oil is showing up. I’m just wondering if marjoram essential oil can be used to reinstate menstruation?

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale January 30, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Hi Ashley, I know the Marjoram has become really hard to get a hold of. I have been looking for an alternative. Have you tried Chaste Berry (vitex) or B6 yet?

  • Reply SHA February 2, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Great article!

    What you do is almost what I have done (organic & raw food, no sweets, and etc.) .

    I do not have PCOS but have endometriosis (chocolate cysts and uterine fibroids). I take high dose of Vitamin C (> 20,000mg), B3 (750-1000mg), Magnesium (1000-1200mg), B complex, active B6: P5P (30-50mg), Selenium (200mcg), Iodine (800mcg), Zinc (30mg), calcium-d-glucarate (1500mg), curcumin (900mg), K2 (150mcg), D3 (2500IU) and some herbal tea or tincture such as yarrow, lemon balm, lady’s mantle, and etc . Besides, juicing (organic) is really important because it helps to liver detox! Like we asians always say, “If your liver works great, you will have a colorful life!”

    I have no pain now and did not got colds since that day (almost 3 years). Hope it would be helpful!

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale February 8, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your story! It is great to see how someone has cleared their endo, a condition that causes a lot of pain for many. I am sure this will be invaluable to many in our little community here. Keep up the great work! For conditions like these it is always about sticking with the plan long-term.

  • Reply Monique February 12, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    LAUREN THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS WITH ALL OF US PCOS SUFFERERS!

    YOU ARE INCREDIBLE AND I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH!

    I have been battling with PCOS since I was 16, and doctor’s told me to take birth control, metformin, and spironolactone. I took them for 10 years. Finally, I saw a doctor who recommended I treat it naturally with acupuncture and get off all the pills. I tried that, but it didn’t help me get my cycle back and I had terrible acne. I eventually went back on all the meds. About 5 months ago, I decided enough was enough and that there had to be a way to get my body to do it’s thing, naturally. I came across this page and ordered much of what you recommended. I’m not sure what exactly did it, but within 4 days, I got a period. A REAL PERIOD. I was so thankful and hopeful that it was not just a fluke. 45 days later, go another period and it wasn’t as painful and horrible as it had been years ago. I did have ovulatory pain, which felt incredible in a way because it meant to me that my body was finally ovulating and working out the kinks after being “turned off” for so long. 38 days later, another period. 35 days later, PERIOD. All this without my acne coming back. I’m waiting on another period, which I hope will come any day now. Before the pill and during my first time off the pill, I got a period only every 6 months or so and it was brutal. Having had 4 periods now, I know that something here is working. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to you, because this article is the reason why I am achieving all of these results. I went in for blood work to check out my hormones and all my hormones had normalized. My doctor truly couldn’t believe it. I could go on and on, but I just had to take a moment to thank you. You have truly changed my life and given me hope that I can still conceive in the future. Thank you so much!

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale February 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      WOW! What a beautiful note to wake up to. I too experienced such a remarkable change once using these supplements and it is always amazing how a little help from nutrition and herbs can give your body just what it needs to get back on track. The body is truly an amazing organism and we just need to work WITH it, not against it to heal. Patience is always necessary as well, but I am so happy for you and the progress you have seen. My only advice would be to stick with it. Too many people drop off of their program as soon as they see results, but it can take a while for the body to fully heal and work on its own. Cannot wait to hear of more successes from you in the future. Hugs!!

  • Reply Gabi February 15, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Thanks so much for this article, it’s so informative! I suffer from PCOS, have been trying to conceive for a few years now and just suffered a miscarriage. My main concerns are excessive hair growth and getting pregnant. Do you think the OvaBlend or MacaHarmony pills would be better for these two concerns? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale February 16, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Gabi, I think that is a great place to start. Unfortunately it is a bit of a game to figure out which nutrients work best with your body, but those are great ones to begin with. You might also want to add the Inositol as well. I would also suggest purchasing the book Taking Charge of your Fertility to learn more about your cycle and to ensure that you are ovulating and have a sufficient luteal phase. If your luteal phase is too short (which is common in those that have a miscarriage) then the ovablend (chaste tree vitex) is very important. Vitex along with B6 and vitamin can also help lengthen the luteal phase, thus helping to prevent miscarriage. It does this by boosting progesterone levels. Low Progesterone is typically the cause of luteal phase deficiency. You might consider getting your hormone levels checked after using the products for 2 months to see where you are. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Mary Reyes February 22, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Lauren
    Thank you! What a thorough and well written article. It is obvious you did your research. My daughter is 14 and has been suffering with PCOS for over a year. Finally disgnosed last October. She has cleaned up her diet now and incorporated some supplements but Acne and other issues still persist so going to try your recommendations. One thing I would like to share that truly helped regulate her periods is the seed rotation diet. Recommended by her Holistic MD. Everyone can google it. Within 1 month she started to get her period regularly again after not getting it for 5 months. Hope this helps other girls and women who suffer with this.

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale February 24, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Thank you Mary for sharing. For anyone looking into the seed rotation you can learn more here. It is about boosting estrogen in the first part of your cycle using pumpkin and flaxseeds, then boosting progesterone using sesame and sunflower seeds. As for the acne, have you tried the MacaHarmony supplement? I have had great success with that product.

  • Reply Shirni March 7, 2017 at 4:28 am

    Hi Lauren,

    Thank you for all the information!

    I am a long time PCOS sufferer – unable to lose weight and losing a lot of hair :(. I was on metformin till recently, which had regulated my periods to a great extent. But I felt that it was wreaking havoc on my hair. So I thought to look up some natural ways to control my PCOS symptoms, which brought me to your website.

    I am in India and the supplements that you have suggested are either not available or prohibitively expensive. Pure encapsulations do not ship to India and even if they did the retail prices are beyond my means :(.

    I am able to find some NOW Foods supplements which are a little easy on my wallet. So I was wondering if they can be used as substitutes.

    Thanks

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale March 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Hi Shirni, so happy that you found this post. Yes, go ahead and try to find supplements that best replace the ones listed. I cannot guarantee their efficacy since I have not used them, but let’s give them a try!

  • Reply Maria March 21, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Lauren, your post has been amazingly written. Thanks so much for all of the insightful guidance and your support with your knowledge and experience. I suffer from PCOs (finally diagnosed about 6 yrs ago). I have been taking Metformin to regulate my periods, and have managed to have regular periods with it since the therapy started. Nevertheless, I still suffer from incredible hair thinning. I do not think that I loose more hair than others, but my hair is still thinning out extremely as it doesn’t regrowth, and this is extremely depressing. From my blood work, I also do not seem to have a high amount of testosterone in my blood, so I do not understand why the hair thinning is so drastic (I’m 35). Furthermore, the last few years my libido has been extremely low and this only continues to get worse and is now having a negative effect on my relationship.

    A few of my questions, I would like to follow your recommendation and start with the recommended supplements to help restore my hair and my libido. I already order the Hair and Nails by Dragon Herbs and Women’s Nutrient. However, I am also vegan, and I would like to find a vegan supplement that covers your recommended Omega 3 recommendations EPA (800 mg) and DHA (580mg) dosage, but most vegan supplements that I find do not even come close to this daily value. Is there any vegan supplement that you would recommend? Also, are there any specific supplements that could help me restore my libido?

    Furthermore, I am schedule to have an insulin resistance test next week. At which point the Dr. might take me off Metformin and move me to Spiraloctane. What are your thoughts on such a change? Should I be concerned about taking Spiraloctane?

    Thanks again! Maria

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale March 23, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Maria, thank you so much for writing in. It is great news that you are regularly menstruating – that’s a great sign! As for hair loss, the Hair and Nails and Women’s Nutrient is a good place to start. I would also make sure that you are following a hormone supportive diet, and that you are getting enough protein. Hair is made of protein so if you are deficient, that can affect your hair growth. I see that you are vegan, and as being a former vegan myself I know how hard it is to get enough accessible protein. Check out my article on being a healthy vegetarian (this applies for vegan too), and see how you can ensure that you are getting enough protein. Depending on your reasons for being vegan, adding in eggs might be a helpful tool in hair regrowth. Make sure you are counting your protein calories and adding in a protein powder daily too. I explain my journey with being a vegan and getting enough protein here. In addition, make sure you are using non toxic shampoos and conditioners. I like Avalon Hair Thickening Shampoo and their conditioner. Also, avoid heat styling your hair (curling, blow drying etc.) and dye it as infrequently as possible. Both of these things add to hair loss.

      As for the omega 3 (epa/dha) supplement, I love this EPA/DHA vegetarian supplement by Pure Encapsulations. The oil is derived from algae and it has comparable levels.

      As for libido, you can try MacaHarmony, a maca root concentrate. It helps to balance out the body and hormones while reducing stress. This is a great place to start and see how you react. If after a couple months you see no difference, you might want to try Ginseng, in particular Ginseng Sublime by dragon herbs. Ginseng is a root that is a well known adaptogen. An adaptogen helps the body function at a higher level despite its current levels of stress. So it can help to promote energy, sexual desire, focus and concentration, and boost mood while combating stress and promoting sleep. Ginseng can also be helpful in blood sugar balance. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Danielle April 5, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Lauren,
    It’s been about 5 months–my diet is mostly clean, I’m taking 6 Hair & Nails/day (along with a number of other supplements), and switched to natural haircare products. But, my hair is still falling out, some days more than others. I know I shouldn’t expect regrowth so quickly, but is there anything else you recommend I do to stop it from falling out? It’s been particularly disheartening lately (it’s looking very thin), and I don’t know what else I can do. I’ve also noticed it seems to be falling out more with organic/natural shampoos and conditioners (i’ve tried two kinds). I’d appreciate any advice you have!!

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale April 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Hi Danielle, have you gotten your hormones tested lately? If your testosterone is high than that can be the reason, in particular, DHT. If so, then taking Saw Palmetto would be a good supplement to start taking.

  • Reply Danae May 16, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Very impressive article! Amazing deep knowledge and guidance. I really feel as if I have a good overview over these issues and most of all a way to implement changes. A lot of the information you said I can attest to – however, you mentioned a couple of products I have never come accross and new approaches! THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale May 17, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      You are so very welcome! I do hope those new tools can help you get on track. Please check back in and let me know how you respond!

  • Reply Priyanka Shruti June 1, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    I first had symptoms when i was 17 and was told that i had PCOS (thin people type PCOS) and was officially diagnosed at 22 ans now i am 35. I have always had regular periods and unless on birth control pills were they irregular at times and I had a hard time getting pregnant because of the absent periods. I was always told by doctors that I would have a hard time conceiving so I would only go on the pill periodically which i did for more than 4 years, not for protection against getting pregnant, but just to get a period (since I was told it’s not healthy to have less than 4 or so periods a year). Last time I went on a 3 month birth control pill and then stopped again because the medicine was not curing my pcos nor making me get pregnant. I went in search for a cure and ended up with so many drugs, medicine and even soaps that didn’t work. I actually thought at a point that i was cursed that there is no cure for it, i was prepared to live like that till i read a testimony of a patient who suffered from pcos whose case was even worse than mine and how she was cured completely, I was amazed and at thesame time anxious and curious so i had to contact the doctor with the contact details that she left on the note. The doctor gave me so much hope and confidence with her kind words of encouragement to believe in myself and i was lifted because no one has ever given me hope like that before. I ordered the medicine, took it for 8 weeks and to my complete surprise, all the facial hairs, weight gain and all disappeared within 4 weeks and I ended up getting pregnant within a few weeks of completing the treatment! I was in shock. I think the main reasons it happened was that I never gave up and was ready to try alternative treatment so my body was back to normal. Before now i never enjoyed sex because it was very painful but now i do and my husband is the best thing that ever happened to me.. I hope this inspires some of you because I never in a million years would have thought that I would get pregnant and was getting frustrated and now our baby is due next month! You too can reach her on [aletedwin@gmail.com] for more information, advise and also how to place an order for yours.

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale June 5, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and journey with us. It will certainly help others in their quest to find answers and natural solutions. But as you mentioned, believing that there is an answer, and a way out is the key. Stay motivated and don’t give up! Congratulations on your precious child and enjoy motherhood!

  • Reply Chelaine Soo June 3, 2017 at 5:13 am

    Dear Lauren

    Im starting a list of supplements for my pcos and type 2 diabetes issues..and hope to receive your advice. Currently Im taking :

    1) Vitex – 1 x 320mg capsule per day
    2) Saw Palmetto Berries – 1 x 580mg capsule per day
    3) Fish Oil – 1000mg x 1 capsule per day
    4) EPO – 1000mg per day (at night)
    5) Magnesium + d3 – 400mg x 3 capsules (at night)
    6) Multivits – 1 capsule per day
    7) B12 – 50mg x 1 tablet per day
    8) Milk Thistle – 300mg x 2 capsules at night

    For my diabetes, Im currently taking Januvia 100mg and 250mg Metformin…but I would like to add Chromium Plus (with Niacin 100mg/Inositol 25g) – 200mcg x 1 capsule (on empty stomach in am).

    My question is can taking Chromium once a day at above dosage allows me to stop taking Metformin or either Januvia? Im not able to go higher than 250mg Metformin due to the GI distress its giving. Also, I started feeling a bit dizzy and disorienteed when i started taking Milk Thistle..is this due to the detoxyfying effect?

    Im taking Saw Palmetto berries for hair loss and acne/oily skin and excess free androgens…but recently i started Optizinc (30mg zinc and b6) and noticed that my skin is dryer than normal…is it due to the zinc dosage? I understand that Saw Palmetto will reduce sebum level as well…so if i take SP…perhaps i can stop taking Optizinc as my multivits as 15mg Zinc as well.

    Is it Ok to take Vitex and EPO for pcos? The vitex dosage on the bottle says to take 2 x 320mg capsules per day…but i dare not take such a high dosage..so only take 1 capsule per day..

    Appreciate your reply on above as I really want to straighten out my PCOS supplements that I can easily get in Malaysia which is only above.. Can you reply to my inquiry to my email directly?

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale June 5, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      I will reply to your email.

  • Reply Jessica P. September 16, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Lauren, this was so very helpful. I’m now 33 and I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15. My doctor put me on birth control way back when I was first diagnosed, and I’ve been on some form of it until last December. Now, I’m dealing with the detox that comes along with years of being on birth control while trying to figure out my cycle. My husband and I want to start trying to have a baby as well, once my cycles get a little more regular. I have done a lot of research over the years and have the diet and exercise part down, but your supplement suggestions have helped me round things out. I’ve started the DIM Detox and Vitex, as well as continued to do a B-complex. In just a few days, the DIM Detox has made a huge impact on my acne as well as improved my sleep. Ever since coming off birth control I’ve struggled with insomnia, but I have slept better this week than I have in a very long time and I feel much better. The first day I did have some migraine-like symptoms, but I imagine that was just my body dealing with the detox. Thanks again for this article and resources. You’re awesome!

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale September 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Jessica, I am so glad to hear you have been seeing improvements! That is great! Yes – the migraines are usually a detox sign. Epsom salt baths, infrared saunas and drinking lots and lots of mineral-rich beverages like coconut water and fresh green veggie juices will help ease them. In addition, I would suggest tracking your cycle to see where your hormone levels are. This will be very important when trying to get pregnant as it will target your fertile days (when you are ovulating) and make sure you are having a proper post-ovulation stage to ensure a successful impregnation. This is based on progesterone levels. A really useful book to learn how to do this is called Taking Charge of your Fertility. I highly recommend reading this and following the charts for tracking your cycle. Best of luck!

  • Reply May September 23, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Hello , do you think maca will reduce excess hair not increase it ? I bought some capsules and I’m afraid to take them in case it makes the hair worse ? What do you mean think ? I’ve had more hair growth from inositol and turmeric that’s why I’m worried .

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale September 29, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      The maca helps to normalize hormones by supporting the body. It doesn’t directly impact hair, although by balancing hormones it can support normal hair growth. The product that directly affects unwanted hair growth is Saw Palmetto. I would not be afraid to take the maca, it is one of my favorite products for PCOS. Inositol and turmeric should not have any direct affect to unwanted hair growth. It could be a coincidence occurrence. If your unwanted hair growth is not improving, it might be worth it to get your hormone levels tested, esp. DHT.

  • Reply Is November 3, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Hi Lauren and thank you for a very informative and straight forward post. Really excellent!
    I have two questions:
    I would like to follow your regime above since I have many of the symptoms of pcos but not the diagnosis. However I am currently nursing my babyboy and I am thus wondering what of the recommendations above I can follow and not follow (that is, wait until Im done with nursing)?
    Secondly, I would like to buy the “Pure Encapsulations – Women’s Nutrients – Hypoallergenic Multivitamin/Mineral Complex”, however they do not send it to Norway via Amazon. Do you know any smooth way for me to get hold of these?
    Thank you in advance for your answer.

    • Lauren The Holy Kale
      Reply Lauren The Holy Kale November 10, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Morning! I would say that since you are breastfeeding the safe route would be to take the women’s nutrients as you planned along with the Omega supplement. I would wait on the DIM Detox as it can influence hormones and promote detox which you do not want when breastfeeding. The good news is that you can support the same pathway naturally by eating lots of cruciferous vegetables and avoiding xeno-estrogens (plastic water bottles, chemicals in personal and household care products, BPA liner in canned foods etc.). You might be able to take the Maca and Myo-Inositol, but I would consult with your MD before starting.

      As for getting the supplement in Norway, you can always contact the manufacturer directly from their website to see if they have any international distributors. If not, the second best thing would be to find a multi in Norway that matches up to it. Hope that helps and best of luck!

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