7 of the Best PCOS Supplements Every PCOS Patient Should Consider

7 of the Best PCOS Supplements Every PCOS Patient Should Consider

Why is PCOS so hard to treat? 

One of the main reasons is because we tend to treat only the symptoms of PCOS and not the CAUSE.

This philosophy extends to supplements as well:

In order to treat your PCOS using supplements, you will need to target those supplements to your body and YOUR hormone imbalances for the best results.

Learn how to properly use PCOS supplements to help balance your hormones, lose weight, increase your energy, reduce hair loss and get rid of the unwanted symptoms associated with PCOS:


Do Supplements Really Help PCOS?


Targeted supplements can actually help treat many of the problems associated with PCOS.

The tricky part is targeting your supplements to YOUR body (more on that later).

In order to determine which supplements actually have benefit, we need to go back to the basics.

What is PCOS?

It has lots of definitions, but in the most simple sense, PCOS is the combination of a number of hormone imbalances in the body that lead to certain and specific signs and symptoms.

Which hormone imbalances am I talking about?

Most patients with PCOS have some degree of the following hormone imbalances:

  • Insulin resistance or high blood sugar
  • High testosterone or high androgens
  • Low progesterone or relatively high estrogen levels (this may come as high estrogen metabolites)
  • Usually some degree of leptin resistance and hypothyroidism (this is usually secondary, but still present)

Obviously, we can't put all women with PCOS into this box, but the vast majority of women with PCOS will experience 1 or more of the hormone imbalances listed above. 

So really, it's helpful to think of PCOS as a condition on a spectrum.

The worse your symptoms, the more hormone imbalances you have.

The more hormone imbalances you have, the more supplements/hormones, etc. you will need to treat the problem.

​It is THESE hormone imbalances that lead to the majority of the symptoms that PCOS patients experience. 

Symptoms like:

​You can see that virtually all of the primary symptoms of PCOS can be explained by the hormone imbalances present in the body. 

This is both a good and a bad thing:

Bad in the sense that these symptoms can be difficult to deal with, but good in the sense that we can target your supplements and treatment! ​

  • Bottom line: Target your supplements to the hormone imbalances that CAUSE the symptoms of PCOS. This is the best way to get symptomatic relief and treat the underlying cause. 

Targeting your Supplements

​The next step to getting on the right supplements is making sure that the supplements you choose target the hormone imbalances that we discussed above. 

Believe it or not, there are studies that show how certain supplements can improve these hormone imbalances.

In the next section, I will walk you through how to pick those supplements, how they help and what doses are necessary for optimal results.

When picking your supplements it's important to realize that not all supplements are created equal.

Because the supplement industry isn't regulated like the pharmaceutical industry some brands can slap low-quality ingredients in their products and call it a day.

These type of products will NOT result in the improvement in your symptoms that you are looking for.

All of the recommendations below are from high quality and reputable brands that I've personally used on my own patients. 

The Best PCOS Supplements​

In order to get the best results, it's best to target these supplements to YOUR body. 

Whenever possible I will mention which hormone abnormalities the supplements will tend to treat.

For instance:

The first several supplements target the more common abnormalities in PCOS women like estrogen dominance and high androgen levels.

Please take this into account when you determine which supplements would be best for you.

Let's get started:​

#1. DIM + Indole-3-Carbinol

First up are DIM and Indole-3-carbinol.

Don't let the names scare you, they are actually quite helpful for patients with PCOS.

How do they work and what do they target?

Well, we already know that women with PCOS tend to have high levels of circulating estrogens in their body.

What you might not realize is that there are two important factors when looking at estrogen levels:

#1. Production of estrogen in the body, and the ratio of progesterone to estrogen.

#2. The elimination of estrogen by your liver and the production of estrogen metabolites.

​Most of the focus is put on the production of estrogen in your body. 

But by focusing on the production you leave out a very important part: increasing the speed at which your body gets RID of estrogen.

It turns out that in order to get eliminated from the body, estrogen needs to be "cut" into smaller pieces by your liver.

This elimination process results in estrogen by-products that are still somewhat active on your cells!

So if your body has a hard time metabolizing out these particles then you may have excess estrogen metabolites floating around triggering your estrogen receptors.

Estrogen metabolism and estrogen dominance

​So when we talk about eliminating estrogen we need to do it more quickly AND we want to produce estrogen metabolites that are less metabolically active. 

​This is where DIM and indole 3 carbinol step in. 

These supplements help promote estrogen metabolism (6) in your body and they help to produce less active estrogen metabolites.

Taking DIM helps increase the production of 2-hydroxy estrone which is actually felt to have some protective capacity when it comes to breast cancer (7).

How to Supplement with DIM & Indole 3 carbinol
Why I like it

Helps promote proper estrogen metabolism

May promote healthy estrogen metabolites

Helps treat estrogen dominance

Generally works within 1-2 months

How to Use

  • Take 100 to 300mg per day
  • You may benefit from taking more DIM right before ovulation and towards the end of your cycle when estrogen levels are highest
  • Monitor your symptoms while taking DIM to ensure that you tolerate the supplement
  • Take this supplement in addition to consuming more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and bok choy
My Recommended Brand and Product:

To get the best results with DIM it's often helpful to combine this therapy with other supplements like Calcium D Glucarate. 

Patients who have symptoms like PCOS, PMS/PMDD, fibrocystic breast disease and endometriosis will most likely find benefit by using DIM provided they use it for long enough and at a high enough dose. ​

#2. Calcium D Glucarate​

​Next up is a very important substance known as Calcium D glucarate. 

This is a substance found in fruits and vegetables (found naturally as glucaric acid). ​

​I should point out here that it's a great idea to make sure you clean up your diet if you have PCOS! As you might have noticed many of these supplements are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. 

Back to Calcium D glucarate:

Why is it so helpful for women with PCOS?

It turns out that this substance has a special impact on phase II metabolism in your liver.

glucoronidation elimination pathway

The phase II elimination pathway in your liver helps your body get rid of 2 very important things that are important for PCOS patients:

First: Estrogen metabolites (as we discussed above). And...

Second: ​Endocrine disrupting chemicals and Xenoestrogens. 

You already know why getting rid of excess estrogen is important (we discussed it above in regards to DIM) so we will focus on xenoestrogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals. 

People nowadays are exposed to certain chemicals on a DAILY basis that can actually mimic estrogen hormones in your body.

These compounds are known as xenoestrogen (meaning foreign estrogen-like molecules) and they can sit on top of estrogen receptors in your body and make your body think that it has more estrogen than it really does.

You may think this is rare, but it's actually not.

Recently the Endocrine society put out a paper (8) discussing how endocrine disrupting chemicals are ubiquitous (meaning ALL over the place) and that they can seriously impact your hormonal function. 

What's more interesting is that we don't have a great way to test for these compounds AND they interfere with our ability to interpret and understand hormone lab tests.

For instance:

Certain endocrine disruptors can reduce circulating T3 thyroid levels WITHOUT altering your TSH levels. 

This combination results in hypothyroid like symptoms but normal thyroid labs.

The same kind of problem can also occur in patients with PCOS and may explain why some women have very obvious lab abnormalities while other patients do not. ​

​So how does Calcium D glucarate fit into this?

Well, it turns out that Calcium D glucarate helps your body ELIMINATE these xenoestrogens, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and estrogen metabolites by increasing liver metabolism and excretion (9).

​The only downside to using Calcium d glucarate is that it provides a temporary boost to elimination which means you will need to keep taking the supplement for best results. 

But this can help quickly eliminate any excess endocrine disrupting chemicals you may come into contact with. ​

How to Supplement with Calcium d-glucarate
Why I like it

Helps promote proper sex hormone metabolism (estrogen + testosterone)

May help detox other substances and chemicals

Helps treat estrogen dominance

Also acts as an antioxidant in the body

How to Use

  • Higher doses of calcium d-glucarate may be necessary for the best results. Start off by taking 500mg per day and slowly increase your dose up to 3,000mg per day. 
  • While increasing your dose monitor for negative side effects or "detox" like reactions: flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, acne, etc. 
  • Calcium d-glucarate helps the body eliminate more than just estrogen metabolites - this will also help your body eliminate medications, cortisol, testosterone/androgens and bile acids (anything that is eliminated via glucuronidation
  • Calcium d-glucarate can also be used in short bursts to help eliminate medications, chemicals, etc. that you may have come into contact with and this method of use may be superior to taking it daily
My Recommended Brand and Product:

#3. Zinc + Saw Palmetto

​Next up is a combination of supplements that will help your body get rid of excess androgens. 

We've discussed how to eliminate estrogen and estrogen metabolites, but we haven't discussed how to reduce testosterone levels.

As you probably know one of the more concerning side effects (from a cosmetic point of view) is the excess hair growth, and sometimes hair loss, that can occur in PCOS.

These symptoms stem from having TOO much testosterone (or other androgens) in the body.

While women do have a need for testosterone, you do NOT want to have excess.

So how do you know if you have too much testosterone?

Well, you can certainly check both your free and total testosterone levels through lab testing, but sometimes these labs can come back as high normal which may prompt physicians to ignore them.

high free testosterone example

(Most women with PCOS tend to have normal total testosterone levels but high FREE testosterone levels or high normal - the lab tests above indicate a fairly normal pattern for PCOS patients)

Instead of focusing on just labs it's helpful to focus on a combination of labs plus symptoms.

List of symptoms associated with high testosterone and high androgen levels:

  • Excess hair growth on the chin, face and upper lip
  • Male patterned hair loss or hair loss in general
  • Acne, especially on the chin/face/back area
  • Mood disturbances like depression, anxiety or general moodiness
  • Weight gain

The combination of symptoms plus high serum levels of testosterone can help identify if you are having issues with androgen. 

And that's where Zinc and saw palmetto step in:

​Both of these supplements help your body ELIMINATE (get rid of) testosterone in a way that doesn't activate testosterone receptors. 

Much like estrogen, testosterone needs to be eliminated in your body and part of that process is a conversion process.

Your body has the ability to turn testosterone into a more potent androgen known as Dihydroxy testosterone or less potent androgen metabolites.

Testosterone metabolism

Zinc and saw palmetto help reduce the enzyme that promotes conversion to the more potent androgen (this is a good thing).

Another ​added benefit is that taking zinc may also promote T4 to T3 conversion if you have thyroid problems. 

This combination of supplements should be taken together for the best benefit and should be seriously considered if you have ANY of the symptoms of excess testosterone listed above. 

How to Supplement with Zinc & Saw palmetto
Why I like it

Helps promote proper Testosterone and androgen metabolism

May also increase thyroid conversion

May help with hair loss if it is related to excess androgens

Many people are deficient in zinc

How to Use

  • Take up to 60mg per day of zinc (max) - Zinc can also help promote proper thyroid function and immunity 
  • Take up to 600mg per day of Saw palmetto
  • Combine both therapies for maximum benefit
My Recommended Brand and Product:

Use 30-60mg of Zinc bound to picolinic acid per day and use it in conjunction with saw palmetto to help lower testosterone levels: 

Use 600mg of Saw palmetto along with 30mg of zinc per day:

#4. Berberine + Alpha Lipoic Acid + Chromium

​This set of supplements should probably be #1 in terms of importance. 


Because I believe that the majority of the problems associated with PCOS stem from 1 hormone imbalance:

Insulin resistance (10).

Insulin resistance leads to increased testosterone levels, leads to weight gain, and changes sex hormones like progesterone and estrogen levels.

Because of these changes insulin resistance has been implicated as one of the primary causes of PCOS.

This is also why many of the treatments for PCOS target insulin resistance.

​Because insulin resistance is so important in treating PCOS it's usually best if you use a combination of hormones plus supplements plus lifestyle changes to treat the condition. 

This is where most providers and patients get it wrong:

They treat insulin resistance with something like metformin or a single supplement like chromium.

While these therapies may be somewhat helpful you really need to layer multiple therapies in order to have the BEST effect.

That's why this section contains 3 supplements that all help to reduce insulin resistance.


Because the combined effect of these supplements is far superior to using just one.

​Because we are talking about supplements I won't go into detail on using medications, but you should know that in order to have the most benefit you should be using these supplements in addition to any medications to target insulin resistance. 

So how do these supplements work?

They work by targeting your cells and increasing insulin sensitivity (11).

Basically, they make the existing insulin work better in your body which helps to reduce insulin levels overall.

Berberine, for example, has also been shown to be as effective as metformin (12) at reducing blood sugar levels, and each of these supplements has been shown to help with weight loss to some degree.

These supplements should also be combined with a very healthy whole food diet for best results. 

Another very important aspect of using these supplements is the dose. 

Most of the supplements require very high doses to be effective (I will go over those below), so if you've used them in the past but at lower doses and without combination therapy then that may explain why you didn't get your desired results. 

How to Supplement with Berberine, Alpha Lipoic acid & Chromium
Why I like it

May improve GI function and treat SIBO/SIFO

Up to 50% of patients have insulin resistance + Blood sugar problems

May help with weight loss and improve muscle recovery

Generally works within 4-8 weeks with high enough dosages

My Recommended Brand and Product:

Take up to 2,000mg per day of Berberine: 

Alpha lipoic acid should be used in dosages of 1,800mg to 2,400mg per day for best results with weight loss and reducing insulin (make sure to also get the sustained release version of ALA): 

You should be using up to 1,000mcg of chromium each day: 

*Note: You will need to use at least two of the supplements listed above for best results, but I generally recommend using all 3. 

#5. Fish Oil

​Next up on the list is fish oil. 

You probably already know that fish oil is healthy, but you may not realize why.

Fish oil is another one of those supplements that most people take at some point in their life, but they may not be taking a high-quality fish oil supplement at a high enough dose.

So why is fish oil helpful for PCOS patients?

Primarily because it does 3 very important things: 

  • Reduces insulin resistance (and has been shown to help with weight loss)
  • Reduces leptin levels (which again helps with weight loss)
  • Reduces systemic inflammation which improves all hormonal systems

​I've written extensively on how fish oil can help with weight loss and reduce blood sugar levels which you can read about by clicking here

Since we've already discussed the importance of insulin resistance, I want to focus on leptin levels (which are more difficult to treat). 

Leptin is a hormone secreted by your fat cells that is supposed to send a signal to your brain to burn more calories to help with weight loss.

If you are overweight and have PCOS, chances are high that you have a condition known as leptin resistance.

If you have leptin resistance your body thinks you're in a state of starvation which increases your appetite and lowers your metabolism - basically it makes weight loss impossible. 

Leptin resistance is one of the primary reasons that women with PCOS have difficulty with weight loss (among other reasons), and it's something that doesn't get a lot of attention.

This is where fish oil steps in:

Fish oil has actually been shown to help reduce leptin levels (13) and reverse leptin resistance - this, in conjunction with its effects on insulin resistance, is why fish oil can directly help with weight loss. 

You can learn all of the ins and outs of fish oil supplementation in the article above, but for now, just realize that you can really boost the effects of fish oil on leptin resistance by adding in the right type of exercise. 

If you do decide to use fish oil make sure that you combine it with a healthy lifestyle (exercise + whole food diet) for best results, also make sure you use a high enough dose (it's higher than you probably realize). 

How to Supplement with Fish Oil
Why I like it

May help to reduce leptin resistance and lower leptin levels

Up to 50% of patients have insulin resistance + Blood sugar problems

Helps reduce systemic inflammation

Can be combined with exercise for even more weight loss

How to Use

  • Recommended dose ranges from 2,000mg to 6,000mg per day (depending on condition)
  • Start titration at 1,000mg per day and increase up to therapeutic dosage as recommended
  • Higher daily doses will be necessary for weight loss and treating insulin resistance
  • Duration of therapy should be consistent for at least 3 months (6+ months for insulin resistance + weight loss)
My Recommended Brand and Product:

Take up to 4 capsules daily as tolerated: 

#6. Adrenal Support

Next up is a more controversial topic and that is adrenal function.

We can argue and discuss the connection between cortisol and adrenal fatigue, but at the end of the day what's more important is helping you INCREASE your energy levels.

One of the main symptoms of PCOS is fatigue.

While it's true that the fatigue experienced in PCOS patients is likely multi-factorial (meaning several things are probably causing it) one thing is for sure:

Taking an adrenal supplement has the potential to dramatically improve your energy levels.

​Why is that?

Well, nowadays it's not uncommon for women (and men) to be exposed to extreme levels of stress.

This low-grade chronic stress can really impact your hormones and energy levels.

In addition, stress has a DIRECT effect on hormone imbalances like insulin and thyroid function (14).

This gives us an opportunity to treat this problem with certain adrenal adaptogens.

​The adaptogen Ashwagandha has been shown to do several very important things in patients (all relevant studies are in the links to the claims made): 

That's a pretty exhaustive list of benefits that can all come from Ashwagandha and it isn't even complete. 

As you go through the list and read the studies that I've provided I think you will find that ALL of these hormones are somehow connected in your body.

How else can you explain that Ashwagandha helps with ALL of the conditions, ranging from sleep issues to weight loss and metabolism?

The bottom line:

If you are suffering from fatigue in some way, or any of the symptoms listed above, you should seriously consider using Ashwagandha in appropriate doses: ​

How to Supplement with Ashwagandha
Why I like it

May Improve Thyroid + Adrenal Function

Naturally occurring and generally safe

May also improve Mood + Depressive symptoms

Generally works within 4-8 weeks

How to Use

  • Dosage varies from 500-2,000 mg per day depending on tolerance and degree of symptoms
  • Length of treatment varies by condition, for adrenal fatigue supplementation as long as 6+ months may be required.
My Recommended Brand and Product:

#7. Bio-identical Progesterone​

Lastly, it's worth mentioning the supplement (or hormone rather) progesterone. 

Unlike other hormones in the US, progesterone can be purchased over the counter.

But just because it can be purchased over the counter doesn't necessarily mean that it should be.

​Just in terms of raw numbers, the female body has more progesterone than it does estrogen. 

So if that is any measure of importance, then progesterone might be more defining to female sexual characteristics than estrogen (but we will save that for another time).

What's more important than that is the question:

Should you consider using progesterone? ​

That's an interesting question and worth exploring. 

Before we discuss whether or not you should use it, we need to talk about progesterone facts. 


Over time all women will eventually have low progesterone. 

This decrease in progesterone starts around age 35 when progesterone levels tend to fall more rapidly than estrogen levels.

age related decline of estrogen and progesterone

So starting from age 35 progesterone levels fall until women reach menopause at which point progesterone levels tend to fall to zero.

While estrogen levels fall to almost zero, estrogen levels may actually stay high.

And this primarily happens due to estrogen conversion in peripheral fat cells. ​


​Women with PCOS tend to have low progesterone levels at baseline and higher estrogen levels at baseline. 

This starting combination can exacerbate progesterone deficiency as women age and may lead to worsening symptoms long term.

​But just because this happens does it mean you should use progesterone? 

​It's true that progesterone can literally be life changing for some women, but it can also be detrimental for others (leading hormone problems and weight gain). 

My recommendation ​is to check your progesterone level AND check to see if you have any of the following progesterone deficiency symptoms prior to supplementing. 

Symptoms of progesterone deficiency: ​

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Water retention
  • Irregular periods (if menstruating)
  • Anxiety or difficulty relaxing
  • Emotional and other mood problems
  • Decreased libido
  • Hot flashes
  • Breast tenderness and pain
  • Breast lumps or cysts
  • PMS, fibroids, & endometriosis

​If you find that you have a combination of these symptoms plus low progesterone levels on serum testing then it would be worth a trial of progesterone therapy. 

Just make sure to monitor your symptoms as you ​use it and discontinue use of progesterone if you experience negative side effects. 

How to Supplement with Bioidentical progesterone
How to Use

  • If menstruating: Use 20-40mg per day on days 14-28 of your cycle (the latter half of the month)
  • If in menopause: you can use 20-40mg per day either 6 days per week (with rest on the 7th) or 26-28 days per month (with 1-3 days off per month)
  • Make sure to monitor your symptoms while using and discontinue use if you experience any negative side effects
  • Discuss the use of bioidentical hormones with your physician
My Recommended Brand and Product:

Back to you

I hope you found my recommended list of PCOS supplements helpful.

Just remember that these supplements only represent ONE part of a complete treatment regimen for patients with PCOS.

You can't forget lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.

Also, if you decide to use any of these supplements, make sure that you use the recommended brands and the recommended dosages for best results.

For most of these supplements, you will need to use them for at least 3 months to experience optimal results.

​Now it's your turn:

Are you using supplements to treat your PCOS?

Which ones have worked?

Which haven't?

Leave your questions or comments below! 

References (Click to Expand)

7 of the best PCOS supplements on the market

Dr. Westin Childs

About Dr. Westin Childs

Hey! I'm Westin Childs D.O. (former Osteopathic Physician). I don't practice medicine anymore and instead specialize in helping people like YOU who have thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, and weight loss resistance. I love to write and share what I've learned over the years. I also happen to formulate the best supplements on the market (well, at least in my opinion!) and I'm proud to say that over 45,000+ people have used them over the last 4.5 years. You can read more about my own personal health journey and why I am so passionate about what I do here.

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