Episode #37: How to Avoid the PCOS Supplement Trap

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How to Avoid the PCOS Supplement Trap

What you’ll learn in this episode

How to choose a supplement for PCOS that will help YOU with your current root cause. There are hundreds of options which is why this episode discusses the important topic of choosing supplements and avoiding the supplement trap.

The PCOS Supplement Trap

Supplements aren’t a magic bullet but that doesn’t mean that can’t help. So here is how to approach supplements:

Steps to Select the Best Supplements For You 

First, we need to look at your current health struggles and desires. Then what the root causes of those struggles are. Finally, we can determine how to create an environment that cares for your body.  Only then can we determine what supplement (s) you might find beneficial.

This process is discussed in great detail during this episode.

Important Supplements to Include 

If you do an internet search for the best PCOS supplement you will get answers such as inositol, berberine, fish oil, vitamin D, and n-Acetylcysteine. But these skip right past the fundamental supplements of health. During this episode, you will learn all about the first supplements to consider so go ahead and listen now. 

Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


Let’s Continue The Conversation

Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.


So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com


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Read The Full Episode Transcript Here

There are numerous supplements and products that are marketed for PCOS that are going to alleviate all of your symptoms and help you to feel healthy and thrive and boost fertility and help with weight loss and improve your energy. But how do you know if you need a PCOS supplement and which one is the right one for you? That’s what we’re going to be diving into in this episode because it’s so unique for each person that I want you to have the tools that you need to make these decisions for yourself. So let’s get started.

You’re listening to the PCOS Repair Podcast, where we explore the ins and outs of PCOS and how to repair the imbalances in your hormones naturally with a little medical help sprinkled in. Hi, I’m Ashlene Korcek and with many years of medical and personal experience with polycystic ovarian syndrome, it is my joy to watch women reverse their PCOS as they learn to nourish their body in a whole new way. With the power of our beliefs, our mindset, and our environment and the understanding of our genetics, we can heal at the root cause.

Welcome back to the PCOS Repair Podcast, where today we are going to be diving a little deeper into how to choose and if you need a supplement for your PCOS symptoms. A while back I recorded an episode, but there have been a lot of questions since then and a lot of interest in this topic and so we’re going to dive a little deeper and give a little bit more information on how to go about considering whether you need a new supplement, whether you want to start a different supplement, and if you even need a supplement for your PCOS. So first of all, this is general information and so with this, we’re not going to dive into dosing or exactly who should take what, those are things that you always want to consult your doctor, look at your own general health and make an informed decision about. But I want to give you more information in order to help you make those decisions for yourself and have a better conversation with your healthcare providers. And it’s really important to realize that there is no magic bullet out there. There’s not one supplement or collection of supplements that are going to reverse your PCOS or get rid of all your PCOS symptoms.

It’s not just a matter if you haven’t found it yet, they don’t exist. Okay? So I think it’s really important when we’re looking at supplementation to be realistic about what we’re expecting from our supplements and the benefits that they can provide and the limitations of a supplement. So here’s how I would recommend deciding if you need a supplement or not. Ultimately, the thing that’s going to give you the best success in reversing your PCOS, in feeling better in your body and optimizing your fertility, in being able to lose weight, having more energy, having a stable happy mood, all of those kinds of things is going to be the environment that you create for yourself. That bubble that you live in, the relationships, the food, the movement, all of those kinds of things are going to be the number one most beneficial thing for your body. Now, when our health is in crisis and we feel awful in our bodies, sometimes we need a little bit of a boost from something that is where a supplement can be potentially helpful. The other place a supplement can be potentially helpful is where we have taken those lifestyle changes as far as we can, maybe not as far as we can forever.

We’re really diving into them and we’re still struggling. So those are two different kinds of ends of the spectrum where we may want to consider a supplement. The way that we want to go about choosing a supplement is not by scrolling through our Instagram and seeing an ad, not by any sort of advertisement. An advertisement is going to tell us that something is going to alleviate energy slumps, it’s going to manage blood sugar, it’s going to help us lose weight, it’s going to boost our energy, it’s going to repair our gut health. That’s marketing. We don’t want to choose a supplement based on marketing. We want to choose a supplement based on our current health focus. So going from the top of the pyramid, so to speak, in this regard, would be our symptoms. What symptoms are you having and where do they fall into your PCOS situation? So if you’re struggling with fertility, you may not have a specific symptom outside of irregular periods, not ovulating, or not being able to get pregnant, but your primary concern is fertility. That’s a harder one to say, okay, what supplement do I take? And I think that’s where people oftentimes fall into this supplement trap if they’re not getting pregnant and so they just start trying different supplements that they’ve heard are a good option for women that are struggling with PCOS.

Now, it’s important to remember that just because you’re dealing with infertility doesn’t tell you what your root causes, all of the root causes, all of the environmental factors that contribute to and worsen or improve those root causes, those are the factors that we need to look at. So instead of taking a supplement that’s for fertility, we want to take a look at what other symptoms are we having and dive backward from those into what is our current primary root causes in that we also want to take a look at what’s? the low-hanging fruit. What is the thing that’s going to give us the biggest improvement for our efforts? And the reason is because when it comes to PCOS, I mean health in general, but specifically, because this is the PCOS repair podcast, we’ll say PCOS. But when we’re struggling with our health and we’re struggling with something where our body is just not responding well to our environment, the first thing that we need to do is somehow build some momentum in a positive direction. When we can do that, other things become easier. On a practical note, if you are exhausted, how are you going to do more?

And that’s the place where we all feel stuck, we feel hopeless and we feel like, I just can’t do this. Now, if you have done this before, you’ll believe me. If this is your first time trying to address your health, then I want you to trust me on this one, on the process here, that over just a few days of digging in, and dealing with the discomfort, you’re going to see a huge improvement. So as we build that positive momentum in our root causes, addressing one thing at a time, focusing on one thing at a time, now, it may be several things that we’re doing, but we’re trying to make it practical. If we change too many things at once, if we add too many things in at once, it becomes difficult to sustain and ultimately we won’t know if it worked or not because we won’t be consistent. So then how does that relate to choosing a supplement? So if you haven’t already, a really great place to start is to take the PCOS Root Cause quiz. Once you’ve done that, or if you haven’t done it in a while, refresh your memory, go through it again and even to go through it not just for the result of the quiz, but to start looking at the questions. The questions in that quiz, those questions that I give you, give you an insight into the type of symptoms that I’m talking about. The symptoms that are going to give you a better picture of what is going on in your body are things like your energy. When is your energy good? When is your energy low? Is it always low? Does it fluctuate? That in itself tells us a lot about your metabolic health. When it fluctuates and what causes those fluctuations is all really important to the things that are going to assist you in improving your root cause. What about cravings? Cravings tell us a lot about our metabolic health as well as about our PCOS root causes. What do you crave? How is your appetite? When you’re craving? Are you actually hungry? All of those things help us to learn what we need to do in order to address those root causes. Okay, so then before picking a supplement, it’s really important to sit back and look at the bigger picture of what is your body needing from you.

Now, this is where you are welcome to reach out to me, this is where the PCOS root cause boot camp can be really helpful because we walk you through all of these kinds of things, but a lot of times your intuition is good. But sometimes what we know our intuition is telling us isn’t exactly the thing that we want to do and so this is some tough love, you guys. Instead of adjusting what we eat, instead of getting enough sleep, it’s so much easier to say, you know what, I’m going to try that supplement and when the supplement doesn’t provide us with the results that we wanted, we assume that the supplement was probably just not the right one and we go searching for another one. That is where we fall into the supplement trap. It keeps us from doing what we know we need to do or from learning what we need to do and instead we waste our money on a supplement that may or may not be a good fit for us. I also want to note at this point that some supplements actually do more harm than good. A supplement, although over the counter, is still medicine, and just like we don’t want to take too much Tylenol or we don’t want to overdose on a prescription medication or take antibiotics when they’re not needed and develop a resistance, supplements are no different. They have side effects, they have interactions and they’re not for everybody and so even though they’re over the counter more or less considered safe, it’s important to not just grab a supplement because it seems like it may be easier than figuring out what you need to adjust in your lifestyle. So now as we’ve taken that step back to look at what does our body really need, then we can choose what supplements help to support us in that. I encourage you to pick one aspect at a time, dive into it, put your heart and soul into it, and see where you can get with it. What I mean by this is that if you are struggling with low energy, focus on what do you need to improve your energy. That’s going to include a bedtime routine, it’s going to include adjusting your cortisol levels and it’s going to include if you should be drinking caffeine or in what times of the day that you cut that off.

It’s also going to include getting good nutrition. Our energy levels are very linked to how we eat and how our body has the fuel that it needs for the energy that it needs. Are you well hydrated? But I know that sounds like a still a really broad thing, but if we can narrow it in on my focus is energy, and not get distracted with other things, then we can more easily decide if and what supplement would fit into that primary focus. Then once we have felt our energy start to boost, now we have more bandwidth to focus on our movement to maybe meal prep a little bit more so that our nutrition is easier to improve. Do you see what it’s like then you can kind of take on that next step, next step and it can have a ripple effect? Now for some people, energy isn’t their primary concern. I bring that one up because oftentimes that’s one that holds people back or trips them up when they’re trying to adjust to other things. But maybe your primary concern is cravings and you just feel like you are a slave to your cravings and you can’t get through a day because your appetite and your cravings are tripping you up.

If that’s the case, then we want to focus on those symptoms because they’re the ones that are holding you back. Maybe it’s your mood, and your outlook on things, and it’s not just about trying to force your mindset to change. There are, again, habits, nutrition, and movement that are specifically helpful to helping you get in the right mindset and they work together. But again, that focus of mindset so that you can stay positive throughout the day, that you can stay encouraged throughout the day so that you can stay motivated throughout your day in order to follow through with what you’re trying to do. If that’s tripping you up, that’s a different focus. We want to choose a supplement that’s going to address that. Okay, so let’s consider the different types of supplements. Now there are too many to list them all, but I want to give you at least a couple and as well as a couple of thoughts that I feel are super important when it comes to supplements that oftentimes people don’t consider as a supplement for everyone. We want to consider supplements for general health. So if you are not getting enough omega threes, vitamin D, and magnesium, those may be things that you want to be taking.

You definitely want to be taking a multivitamin and you want to be choosing reputable companies to buy from. One of the companies that has a lot of really good supplements is Nordic Naturals. They do a really good job at keeping their products very clean, low in sugar, low in additives, and really focusing on nutrients that can be absorbed. So that’s a company that I choose to buy from if I have the option. But otherwise just doing your research on the company a little bit and making sure that you have a good feel for what they’re doing, then the supplement that I think everyone forgets about and doesn’t even consider as a supplement is a protein. So many of the symptoms that we mentioned, hunger, mood, cravings, energy, if we were just getting enough protein in our day, most of those would calm down significantly. So when I approach protein in my diet, I almost think of it as a supplement. How do I get these many grams at different servings throughout the day into my daily food intake? And then I can be less concerned about what else I’m getting into my day because that protein is going to help me make better choices, it’s going to help me feel better, it’s going to make me less snacky, it’s going to give me fewer cravings. All of those things just because I made a point of getting enough protein in my day. So whether or not you are making sure you have something like eggs for breakfast or you’re having a protein shake, choosing high-quality protein is really important. In a very recent episode, we talked about dairy and how whey is usually fairly well tolerated for most women with PCOS, a whey protein powder that doesn’t have casein in it is going to be a really good choice. I personally think better than a vegan choice or a plant-based choice because that whey is going to be better absorbed. So gram for gram, you’re actually going to absorb more of those protein grams per serving than you are a plant-based protein. Now, if you prefer to go plant-based, just be aware you’re probably going to need to eat more of it in order to absorb the same amount. But they’re both good. One of my favorite protein powders is naked whey. They do have in their flavored versions, they do have some coconut sugar, so be aware of that but the grams of sugar per serving are very, very low and it’s all very clean ingredients. I think the company is very good and the amount of gradients that they have in each flavor is very, very short. That list of ingredients is very short. I personally haven’t tried any of their flavored whey protein mixes. I use just the straight naked whey unflavored and then use banana, peanut butter, almond butter, berries, and things like that to flavor it. I might add a little bit of a flavored other protein mix if I need to. But if I’m really trying to up my protein amount in a smoothie, it’s completely unflavored and it just adds a ton of protein and so if you were already making a fruit smoothie, this would be an excellent choice to add to it to bump up that protein content. Another protein supplement that I use is Vital Proteins. Now keep in mind, this is a collagen, so it doesn’t have all of your amino acids. So you don’t want this to be the only source of protein, but it is a great way to get some additional protein. I like to add it to my coffee or other foods that I just want to throw in a little extra protein such as a smoothie although in a smoothie I tend to go with the naked way. So these may not be some of the supplements that come to mind. When you think of a PCOS supplement recapping, you know, a multivitamin omega three, vitamin D, and protein. But I think that if you’re looking for somewhere to start, if you haven’t optimized those, then you’re jumping ahead of yourself. If you can get these things in place and keep it simple, most people will find that this is a really beneficial place to start. Now I also have a PCOS supplement handout, and I’m going to link to that because it will give you some additional ones that you may want to look at. You might think when you think about PCOS supplements, you might think of things like ovostal or saw, palmetto or spearmint tea or macaroon, berberine, ashwagandha or other various fancy supplements, and sure, they may have a place. But the other thing that I want you to consider when it comes to supplements is aside from the fact that they can have side effects and all of the medical concerns and interactions that supplements can have that are going to increase in likelihood if you’re taking a lot of supplements, I want you to also consider how likely are you to really take that many supplements in a given day? Maybe you’re better at it than I am, but unless it comes in a gummy, I don’t really want to take a supplement. And the gummy supplements, although they taste yummy, are usually quite high in sugar and things to make them taste good and low in the actual amount of supplement that they’re giving you because you’re chewing it instead of swallowing it. And so it’s difficult to make the taste tolerable if a lot of sugar isn’t added. So unless you love taking a huge handful of pills every day, I encourage you to simplify your supplement regimen, really hone in your focus on your current root cause, focus on the lifestyle adjustments for the symptoms that you’re having, and then choose one or two well chosen and researched supplements to assist you in improving those symptoms. So there you have it, my friend. In recap, you want to dive into your root cause, using your symptoms to listen to what your body is needing and then learning and understanding where those symptoms are coming from, then creating an environment and potentially including a supplement to support that root cause to help you heal and reverse and improve your symptoms.

The takeaway here is that while a supplement can be very helpful to get you over a hump to help you build momentum in your health, it’s not a magic bullet. It’s not there to replace creating an environment of love and care and nourishment for your body so that it can thrive and be healthy, and so that you can feel good and full of energy with optimal fertility and easy weight management that comes from the bubble that you create yourself, plus or minus the supplements you take. If you have found this episode helpful, please subscribe to the PCOS Repair podcast so that you will be notified each and every week as the next PCOS health topic becomes available. And until next time, if you would just take a minute to write a review for the podcast, I would greatly appreciate it. Spreading awareness for PCOS is a huge passion of mine and empowering women to learn about their bodies and discover what their body is needing by learning to listen to their symptoms and address them accordingly is a huge passion and joy of mine, and I would greatly appreciate your help by rating the podcast to help other women find this information so that they can also create the help that they want.

And until next time, I would love to connect with you over on Instagram. If you have specific questions or if you’ve heard about a certain supplement, that’s actually a really great way to continue this conversation. I would be happy to review various supplements on my Instagram channel over @Nourishedtohealthy, we can create stories or reels about those so that you can learn more about specific supplements and when and where they may be helpful because there are too many supplements you guys to name them all and discuss them all into this podcast in one episode, we would be here all day. But if you have specific ones that you have questions about or that you’ve heard about, I would love to hear about them and we can continue this conversation over on Instagram @Nourishedtohealthy. And until next time, bye for now.

Did you know that studies of PCOS epigenetics have shown that our environment can either worsen or completely reverse our PCOS symptoms? I believe that although PCOS makes us sensitive to our environment, it also makes us powerful. When we learn what our body needs and commit to providing those needs, not only do we gain back our health, but we grow in power just by showing up for ourselves. This is why I’ve created a guide. For you to get started. My PCOSS fertility Meal guide can be found in the show notes below. I want to show you how to create an environment that promotes healing while still being able to live a life that you enjoy. This guide is completely free, so go get your copy now so that you can step into the vision that you have for your life and for your health.

Take The PCOS Root Cause Quiz

   What Do Your Symptoms Mean?

  Discover your current PCOS Root Cause

Start to reverse PCOS at the root cause. 

Results are not guaranteed. Please see Medical Disclaimer for more detail.

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About Show

Welcome to The PCOS Repair Podcast!

I’m Ashlene Korcek, and each week I’ll be sharing the latest findings on PCOS and how to make practical health changes to your lifestyle to repair your PCOS at the root cause.

If you’re struggling with PCOS, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in ten women have PCOS. But the good news is that there is a lot we can do to manage our symptoms and live healthy, happy lives.

So whether you’re looking for tips on nutrition, exercise, supplements, or mental health, you’ll find it all here on The PCOS Repair Podcast. Ready to get started? Hit subscribe now