Supplemental Add-ins

pcos and supplements

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PCOS Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Scroll Down to See Which Supplements I’ve Been Taking Lately!

***Disclaimer, I am in NO WAY a doctor or an expert.  This is information I found via my own research and may not be the right choice for all people.  Always seek medical advice from a medical professional.***

Update:

Weight- 154.6!!!

*Only 0.6 pounds to go before I reach my initial goal!!!*

Way too many supplements, and I’m adding MORE!

I’ve been pretty consistent with my supplements recently.  I added black cohosh and plan to add a few more to the repertoire soon.  Hopefully the new additions will get my whacked out hormones under control.  My face has turned into a cesspool of hatred, seemingly overnight.  Now it won’t heal.  I’m pretty upset about it.  It hurts like hell to be broken out like this.  I also have been forgoing makeup in hopes that it will allow my skin to heal faster, so in the meantime I look like an absolute haint.  It’s humiliating.  I feel a desperate urge to explain this ugliness to random strangers, but I can only imagine the looks I would get.  Don’t get the wrong idea here, I’m a pretty au naturale girl when it comes to makeup.  However, I’m a fan of covering up nasty imperfections and getting gussied up occasionally.  Oh well, it will have to wait.

I have been walking more now that the weather is warm (actually, unseasonably HOT).  I love taking C out in the stroller after lunch.  It’s relaxing to be outside enjoying the sunshine, and I get some good exercise as well.  My fiance and I have also been enjoying some evening walks with our little fella sniffing everything in sight.  Maybe one day in the future we will have a stroller to push too…

I’m Currently Taking:

Cinnamon with Chromium


Magnesium with Zinc

magnesium calcium and zinc for pcosB Complex 

b complex for pcos Saw Palmetto

Selenium

http://bit.ly/2tCg7IBBlack Cohosh

black cohosh for pcosVitex (chaste berry)

vitex (chaste berry) for pcosInositol

inositol for pcosMultivitamin

multivitamin for pcos

*I now like to make sure my multivitamins contain FOLATE instead of folic acid. I read an article recently about the evils of folic acid.

This cute pill organizer would make taking all these dang supplements way more fun.

What supplements do you take and why?  Do you have any experience with the supplements I have mentioned?

Would you like to read the whole story? 

 

If you were recently diagnosed with PCOS and are feeling a bit lost, my FREE printable action guide is a great place to get some direction!

15 Comments

  1. krystal

    I just loaded up on some new supplements today! (My doctor refuses to listen to me or help me, so I am resolved to take charge of myself until i can find a new doctor.) I've got a multi-vitamin, B complex, and just picked up Magnesium, chromium and acidophilus.

    I'm so glad I found your page!

    I am 24 and have never been "normal". The doctors have always told me my acne is because I drink too much pop and eat chocolate; my periods are just wonky because i'm "young"; I am over weight because I don't exercise and eat too much; etc. They have always made me feel awful and guilty like I have done something awful. THe doctor always tells me I need to lose weight, when I tell her I am working out and eating a low-carb diet, she nicely calls me a liar and says that is the only thing that is going to work. She refuses to try metformin. (Although, when I mention we wanted to start planning for a baby, she wanted to jump right into clomid- which I am leery about to start with.) Doctors always insist I go on birth control (when I was in my senior year of High school and the first year of college, they talked me into the birth control patches, which is when I started gaining weight and things got EVEN worse). I have refused to take any birth control for the past 2 years. I go months without a period. I was getting it for about 6 months (sometimes twice a month) and I was able to go from 174 to 164 lbs, but I have not had it for the past 3 months and I have already gained weight (I am up to 170 already). It is SOOO frustrating! I used to weigh 145 and was slowly working my way down to 140. I would be happy back at 150! I don't feel comfortable in my own body anymore. I feel tired and sluggish. I'm 24 and have acne like a teenager. I get headaches constantly. I am always embarrassed because I have to shave or wax dark hairs off my face (I am too embarrassed to do it when my husband is home or let him see it!) I hate wearing shorts or swimsuits in public. Because my acne is also on my back, shoulders and chest, I rarely go out in public in any revealing clothes. The doctors keep trying to get me to buy $150+/month acne medications, but they don't help so I don't waste the money. I go through phases where I get frustrated and upset about all of it, and then I get resolve do take action. Usually, I end up making a doctor's appointment and tell myself I am determined not to leave without a definite answer to something, only to have to doctor write me off and tell me I am just overweight and need to take birth control. So this time, I am just not wasting my time with the doctor (at least this one). I am hoping some of the supplements will start to help! I'll take any little bit i can! 😉

    Reply
  2. SECS

    Krystal, thank you so much for taking the time to contribute! Your story sounds so similar to mine. I got completely fed up with doctors and that is why I'm doing things this way, with careful research into alternative methods. When I was diagnosed I was so glad to feel like a doctor had finally listened and I went ahead and took the medicine she prescribed (metformin and birth control)…and then I felt worse. Metformin makes me incredibly ill. I had been put on bc before several times to "regulate" my cycle. Anyway, I went off all meds more than a year ago, because I decided they might not actually be great for my body, but I didn't do anything more. Then, shortly after Christmas this year I decided I had to do something. My weight keep climbing and my skin was the worst it had ever been in my whole life. I actually had fairly clear skin as a teen so it was not something I was used to at all! I decided to eat extremely "clean" for 2 weeks, just as a starting point. This means all I ate was protein and green vegetables. After that point I started allowing myself a little more wiggle room- in my experience if I'm allowed to have a treat I'm less likely to want it. I allow myself extremely dark chocolate (meaning 85% cacao or higher,making sure the sugar content is extremely low) pretty much whenever I want it, it's actually good for your skin when there's not much sugar. Any other treats I have in strict moderation, and I religiously keep my sugar intake as low as possible (did you know a woman is supposed to keep her sugar intake below 20g/day?) If you are interested in the philosophy I lean towards, I highly recommend reading The Schwarzbein Principle, she explains in detail how your body works (as in its response to carbs and insulin and the progression of disease, etc). I certainly stray from her teachings, but I keep them in mind. I try to keep my meals around 30 carbs or less and my snacks around 15 carbs or less. I also make a concerted effort to walk most days of the week, and I plan to add strength-training in soon. I kept in such good shape as a teen and I think it held some of these symptoms at bay, but now I'm taking baby steps since I got off track because I have to make this a way of life. I have read that strenuous exercise can actually be detrimental for PCOSers. It sounds like you are on the right track with your supplements; however, I highly recommend taking cinnamon capsules to help regulate your blood sugar/insulin response and I also have been impressed with saw palmetto for my acne (it's not a magic bullet but it makes a HUGE difference). Another thing that has worked WONDERS for my skin is pharmaceutical grade Tea Tree Oil. You can swab breakouts with it to help them clear, and you can also use it like a toner or add it to your face wash. Just be sure to test your reaction to it (body and face), it's strong stuff and until you get used to it, your eyes are going to sting like the dickens from the vapor. Bonus points for tea tree oil are that it serves a panacea of skin care/first aid/housecleaning purposes. My periods are still mostly absent, I'm taking black cohosh, vitex (chasteberry), and the saw palmetto in hopes of helping establish a better balance of hormones- I'm also considering progesterone cream if things don't kickstart soon- just some ideas. After much research I don't believe I will return to birth control, apparently for girls like us it just confuses our hormones even further. I would not take Clomid until I have exhausted everything else, just given the research I have put into the possible side effects. I have basically given up on doctors. Please know that you can always come here to vent or to talk without judgement. We're actually the same age and experiencing much of the same thing! Best of luck on your journey, and please report back with updates!

    *sidenote, check the source of folate in your multivitamin*

    Reply
  3. Krystal

    I will definitely have to try the others you mentioned- esp the cinnamon. It was one of the ones I had in my hand at the store, but I swapped it for one of the others (I have to pace myself because of $$$.Rite aid had a buy one get one free sale this week!) I have also been reading a lot about the vitex.

    I didn't know about the tea tree oil. When I was younger, my great-grandmother used to swab me down with witch hazel and make me drink aloe juice. I'm pretty sure the aloe juice didn't do a thing for my acne- but she swore by it! haha

    Yeah, the clomid was one of those things I thought was a LAST resort- so I was a little offended when the dr. offered that over metformin. To me, clomid is jumping right to "getting pregnant"- not really solving any issues. (like "what, you're not getting a period? just take birth control." "what, you're not getting pregnant? just take clomid" "What? you can't lose weight? i can't help you.")

    I've been doing all of these supplements for the the past few days, and I already feel a little better. Today was the second day in a row that I've made it the whole day WITHOUT a splitting headache! And I haven't felt crazy hungry either.

    I try to stick to the high protein/veggie diet that came with my p90x workouts. I can never eat as much food as it tells me I should, but I stick to the proportions and serving counts as close as I can. It's the best one I've found so far for me. I have the meal planning sheets and everything on my fridge- but it's to the point now, if it is lean protein or a veggie, eat it. If it is full of carbs or sugar, don't. lol. Sometimes I cheat a little- but I try really hard to keep the sugar and carbs down. I usually plan the allowed carbs (like bread) for lunch and fill up on veggies at dinner since I tend to have a later dinner because of my schedule. I find it hardest when I am at work with a massive headache and craving something sugary and full of carbs!

    I try and to the p90x workouts as often as I can. I work my day job and run my own business on the side, so some days I am just too tired, but I get in as much as I can. On the longer workouts, depending on how I am feeling, I might only do the first half plus ab ripper. For my business, I am always walking to the post office to ship my packages, so that helps too. And we have a walking trail we walk/bike on. I am waiting to try the zumba dvds from the library (I am on a HUGE waiting list). P90x was how I was able to lose the 10 lbs before Christmas, but since my pds are missing again, I've gained just over 1/2 of that back in the past month and a half. One day it wasn't there, and the next day it was- talk about terrifying! The scale this morning is FINALLY starting to show a dip back down to 169.5 – I'm not sure if that is a sign a pd is on its way or the supplements are helping. I don't know- but I'll take it! 😉 It seems that as soon as I get regular periods, I am able to start losing weight and it STAYS off, but as soon as it disappears, all the weight comes instantly back. It is funny how different you feel between just a couple pounds! At 165 I could feel a difference in my energy levels and my skin was clearing up significantly. And i wasn't getting mood swings.

    The past few days the mood swings have been back… in full swing. 😉 My poor husband! I've been so cranky lately, and the stupidest, littlest things set me off! I try so hard, but I just can't control it sometimes. My husband was trying to get me to explain WHY i was so upset and why I have been so grumpy lately. I am pretty sure I just yelled at him- something incoherent about hormones- from under my mountain of blankets and went to sleep last night. Thank god he is so patient! And of course, I woke up this morning like nothing happened and have been in a good mood all day! 🙂

    Reply
  4. SECS

    Krystal you remind me so much of myself! Especially the mood swings, half the time I feel crazy, but luckily my fiance loves me anyway 🙂 I really do think a lot of it is my hormones seeking to balance.

    Definitely give the cinnamon and tea tree oil a go (and the saw palmetto!)- and I'm not sure how you feel about WalMart, but tea tree oil is like $5 (at least here) which is cheaper than most other in-store places I have looked, the cinnamon and saw palmetto aren't too pricy either (thank goodness). You are right, the supplements really add up! I'm going to try Amazon/internet shopping when I need refills because it looks a good bit cheaper. You can always add more cinnamon to your day until you get capsules (provided you keep the spice on hand 🙂

    I wonder if you're not truly gaining FAT and if some of this weight could be bloating? I know that I bloat quite a bit and will feel sooo HUGE, just overnight. I do believe the supplements help with that though. I can tell when I get off schedule with them and miss doses/days. I missed saw palmetto for like a whole day and am having to clear a breakout 🙁 It's not nearly as bad as it was before taking charge though!

    Also, random, but have you had a FULL thyroid panel performed? Doctors usually just look at TSH, but they need to look at ALL thyroid values for accuracy- also I would find a doctor who believes in treating subclinical hypothyroidism. I hope to find one in the near future- I'm fairly certain it's a problem for me given that EVERY female in my family suffers from it and I have symptoms. I have yet to have a doctor LISTEN though (what else is new?). There is quite the controversy over what should be considered a "normal range" value- however, studies show treating subclinical hypothyroidism HELPS tremendously and does not hurt to try (if you have side effects of too much thyroid, you quit taking the medicine, duh). Just a thought.

    You sound like quite the busy lady! What sort of home business do you run? Thanks again for sharing, it's wonderful to hear from a reader. Best of luck, I hope you continue to feel better and empowered!

    Reply
  5. krystal

    The doctor "checked" my thyroid and hormones at one point and said they are fine. I'm pretty sure they're full of it! Like always, it was just a phone call that said, "you're fine"- click! I was never able to get any specifics or get them to explain the results. What else is new? There are thyroid and pcos problems throughout my family. Last summer the doctor put my dad on something for his thyroid because it was borderline. My dad was slightly put off by it because he really didn't have any symptoms or complaints about it. Anyways, my doctor thought thyroid was the answer, so I was surprised when she was like, nope! Another reason to find a better doctor! haha

    I make felt toys and things like that. You can see them at http://www.ecofriendlyfun.com. I sell online and go to craft shows/festivals. It's about that time of year for festivals, so I've been trying to get everything organized and stocked up.

    Reply
  6. SECS

    I would request ALL of my medical records be released to me- including all test results- from every doctor. Go through them with a fine tooth comb and compare your results to the normal values and whatnot. See if anything sticks out to you, doctors miss things all the time. She may have only tested your TSH, and you can have thyroid disease with a normal TSH value. Did she test your blood glucose and insulin? If you have too much insulin floating around, you're pretty much not going to lose fat. I actually found a video on Pinterest that explains this in detail (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1RE4cXeX7Po)

    I would try the cinnamon ASAP- there are also strong studies that suggest EATING vinegar (careful with your teeth, it's acidic!) with meals reduces insulin response and keeps blood sugar steadier. It's definitely worth a try. Basically cinnamon regulates insulin/blood sugar BEFORE (fasting glucose) you eat and vinegars regulate it AFTER you eat (it's called postprandial glucose).

    Taking the cinnamon and vinegar, making sure you don't eat anything that will spike your blood sugar, getting some activity in to help your cells become less insulin resistant, and getting good rest should definitely help you out. I personally would really stick with the supplements for at least a couple of months or so before I decided I needed to go back on meds. You may truly be surprised.

    However, you may truly be a good candidate for metformin, it's such a common treatment that most doctors should want to try that first before any other fertility treatment. However, in case you didn't catch on, metformin made me feel like utter crap. Literally and figuratively. The "mild side effects" were NOT mild for me. We're talking unmanageable stomach issues every day and no energy at all. It also made me have frequent hypoglycemic episodes. Not trying to scare you off at all, just wish someone had told me more about it before I suffered. I lost a good chunk of weight, but it was because I became an involuntary bulimic (and we're talking painful stomach issues from both ends, gross but true 🙁 sorry for the TMI.

    Your shop is too cute! The "Munchies" are awesome! I actually started a shop on Etsy more than a year ago but never got it really off the ground because I am just so busy with school and such. I love crafty stuff and knit and sew as well 🙂 Do you do any shows/festivals in the South? I don't know how far you are from Greenville, SC, but there is the cutest festival gaining a following around here called Indie Craft Parade (http://indiecraftparade.com/)

    Reply
  7. SECS

    Also, I just added a link to your store to my page! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Thank you for linking to my shop! :). I am in the akron, ohio area. Maybe one day i can travel and do shows in other areas.

    What time of day do you take your supplements? How much saw palmetto do you take? I'm not sure, but I think the saw palmetto is messing with me a little. I've been getting queasy off and on since I've started it.

    And I am thinking a lot of my weight right now is bloat. The only place I feel it is in my middle. It's to the point it is painful! Water pills are not working either. When I relax o looks like I am preggers! Haha It's pretty terrible. (and yes, i tested and it is definitley not pregnancy. Lol)

    The doctor originally checked my thyroid and insulin, but i am prettt sure it was a sham. Lol. I thought when they tested insulin resistance they did it before and after food or something like that. She didn't ask when I had eaten last, if I fasted, nothing. So how would she know what to compare it to? And she tested me for anemia because I go through lengths of time where I have no energy. I feel the need to eat for energy, but I can't get any and I end up sleeping A LOT. Plus she was ever so slightly concerned because I was getting two periods a month- like four days after finishing the first.

    Reply
  9. SECS

    You are quite welcome! Your stuff is incredibly cute!

    I have my supplements broken up into 3 times a day (when I'm good and remember all of them!). I take a combined formula of chromium chelate and cinnamon in the morning when I wake up (2 capsules is 100mcg chromium and 1g cinnamon), as well as B6 (to be replaced with a B complex when I run out) I take 1 tablet which is 100mg B6, and Black Cohosh Extract (1 capsule), and Vitex (1 capsule), and Saw Palmetto (1 softgel is 160mg). I have experimented a little with the Saw Palmetto (taking 2 instead of 1 or taking more than 2x per day, and have not noticed negative side effects). I then take Black Cohosh Extract and Vitex again at lunchtime (Vitex is supposed to be used 2-3 times/day for the first 8-12 weeks). Before bed, I take selenium (200mcg) (which btw, the smell just about makes me puke, that's why I can't take it in the morning :), I also take Black Cohosh and Vitex again (1 capsule each) and a combined magnesium and zinc gluconate (3 tablets for 400mcg magnesium and 15mg zinc).

    If it feels like bloating, make sure you're drinking lots of water, avoiding added salt and such, and as weird as it may sound, eat asparagus- it's a natural diuretic. I hope you're feeling better very soon!

    The doctor should have tested your insulin/blood sugar in a FASTING state. There is a glucose tolerance test (which is what you're referring to) but generally the fasting levels provide the needed information.

    Believe it or not, insulin resistance can make you feel exhausted because your body has so much trouble getting energy into your cells (if you haven't watched that video I mentioned, please do! I also still think you would benefit from reading through The Schwarzbein Principle, she explains insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome so well). You may have adrenal fatigue as well, which makes proper self care even more important. This is also why it is recommended that PCOSers avoid strenuous exercise, our adrenals are usually already stressed.

    Did the frequent periods resolve on their own, and did she ever figure out an explanation? My periods did that when I was a teen at first, now I'm just plagued with the ever-absent period. I swear, you might know the feeling too, but I am GLAD when my period shows up!

    Hope you have a wonderful Monday!

    Reply
  10. Tracey Piper

    Thanks for the info. I have had PCOS @ least 13 years that I am aware of. As I get older it becomes harder to manage. I have been taking metformin for quite a while to help balance the hormone imbalances. Now, I found out that taking metformin long enough can deplete your body of important nutrients such as B12. No one told me that. I am trying to research online and attack this the natural way. I have just started a new diet plan and program called Plexus that consists of plant based supplements. Wish me luck!! Take care. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Unknown

    i want to thank you for this blog . i have just found it from pinterest and i have to say you wrote alot of encouraging information.
    i have always known something wrong with me . but never knew what it was until now i have been told i have PCOS its my three month mark now. i feel like im hitting walls with my symtoms. im in my late 26s now and ifeel like im not getting better but staying the same. im on Birth control and metforin which i can handle after the first two weeks. i am really overweight i am 200 and my goal is 140-150 but ive been 200 for the past 2 months now im not going down or up just staying same and its got me so down and now less into eating right because its not working. i never liked talking meds and now i am told i need to . i just dont feel like im getting anywhere . i just wish i knew how to start my family is now wanting me to try wieght watchers and go from there. i dont know were to go to get support other then you and looking at all your writings i feel like i can get support and guidance .
    best wishes
    feeling lost

    Reply
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