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.
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 that time frame, then it might not be what you need 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.
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 include 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.
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 hormons, and foods that cause unhealthy weight gain and blood sugar imbalance. By accomplishing these three things, you 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.
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 everyday. This includes the following:
Seaweed (rich source of iodine needed for thyroid)
Bee pollen (rich source of bioflavoids, building blocks of hormone production)
Coconut oil/butter/meat (rich source of MCT fats needed for thyroid function)
Flax seeds (containes 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 all together, 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.
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
Typical dosage: 15 drops 2x/day
Duration: Take until periods have returned and you are getting your period consistently for 2 – 3 months.
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 separate, 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.
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.
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 jaw line, 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 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.
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.
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: Hair and Nails by Dragon Herbs
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.
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.
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 then 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.
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.
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.
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 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 at improve insulin resistance in 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.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.
≈ For more healthy living tips, recipes 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!
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.