Kat Keough is a leading fertility and prenatal nutritionist, she has been interviewed by publications such as Australians Women’s Health.
Kat Keough is a leading fertility and prenatal nutritionist, she has been interviewed by publications such as Australians Women’s Health. She has a true passion about helping people optimise their fertility, prepare for pregnancy and conceive a healthy baby. She provides tailored online fertility diet courses as well as one on one counselling.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones that can affect fertility and make it more difficult to have a baby. In fact, it’s one of the most common causes of infertility in women. The hormonal imbalance results in the development of cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries, and can cause irregular (or even absent) periods and other side effects like abnormal hair, acne or weight gain.
But… if you are one of the 116 million women worldwide who suffer from PCOS and are trying to fall pregnant, don’t give up!
Fortunately, research has shown that there are several nutrients that may help to regulate hormonal imbalances, promote ovulation and improve fertility for women with PCOS.
This may be the single most important nutrient to take if you’re trying to fall pregnant. Why? Around 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance; this can cause the body to produce excess insulin levels, which in turn causes the ovaries to make more androgen (male) hormones like testosterone, altering the balance of other sex hormones. Hormonal imbalances like this can impair egg development and disrupt ovulation. Inositol is well known for its ability to decrease insulin resistance (even by up to 70%). This is even more important as those with PCOS have naturally lower inositol levels.
It seems inositol can also affect egg and embryo quality. Research has found taking inositol before egg collection results in a greater chance of fertilisation, higher number of Grade A embryos and improved pregnancy rates in those going through IVF.
It’s shocking that up to 85% of women with PCOS suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Low levels appear to intensify PCOS symptoms, including insulin resistance, cycle irregularities, hyperandrogenism and infertility.
Did you know that if you suffer from PCOS you are 19 times more likely to be deficient in magnesium than the general population? It seems low magnesium can worsen insulin resistance and affect our hormones.
Research shows that taking magnesium may help reduce inflammation, improve insulin resistance, and even ease PMS symptoms. Hooray for that!
Zinc is an important antioxidant that has many vital functions in the body. It crucial for cell growth, hormone release, immune response and reproduction.
Although zinc deficiency is fairly uncommon, it is more prevalent in women with PCOS. Studies show that supplementing with zinc can improve insulin resistance and cholesterol levels in women with PCOS – even preventing type 2 diabetes.
It’s also thought to improve other symptoms like hair growth or loss, acne and weight gain.
While there are numerous types of B vitamins, the most important ones for PCOS sufferers are B9 (folic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B12 (cobalamin).
These B vitamins help to lower inflammation by breaking down homocysteine (which is generally elevated in PCOS sufferers). High homocysteine levels are associated with infertility in the following ways: poor egg quality, miscarriage, hypertension and low-birth weight.
B vitamins can also help improve fertility in the following ways:
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and anticoagulant that has been shown to significantly improve insulin resistance and testosterone levels in those with PCOS (in conjunction with omega-3), as well as improving endometrial thickness in women with unexplained infertility.
Calcium is an essential micronutrient that has numerous roles in egg development, maturation and activity. Additionally, studies show that calcium (when combined with Vitamin D) can have positive effects on weight loss, follicle maturation, menstrual regularity and in improvement in hyperandrogenism in infertile women with PCOS.
This trace element plays critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protecting our cells from oxidative damage and infection. Unfortunately, selenium deficiency is common in women with PCOS. Luckily however, research shows that supplementing with selenium can decrease oxidative damage and lower androgen levels. In one study, women who supplemented with selenium had a much higher pregnancy rate; hair loss and acne was also greatly improved.
So there you have it…
While PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility, falling pregnant with this condition is not impossible! Supplementing with a prenatal that contains all these nutrients we’ve mentioned above can help improve your symptoms AND boost your fertility!
Ovitae Pre-Conception & Pregnancy Support contains everything you need in just the right dose!
“Very Impressed I have recently been diagnosed with PCOS and one of my major symptoms is having long cycles ranging from 45-60 days, after just one month of taking Ovitae my last cycle was reduced to 33 days, my period pain had also drastically reduced and my flow was so much lighter than it had been previously! These supplements are incredible!” – Jane
“Incredible, effective and worthwhile product. Could not rate highly enough. I was experiencing 45-65 day cycles and struggling to conceive for approximately 12 months. After two months of taking Ovitae my cycles became 28 days, I have conceived and nearing the end of my first trimester. I had previously been taking other, popular vitamins that made me incredibly sick and I experienced upset tummies. I’ve had no issues with Ovitae and now recommend it to friends.” – Very Happy Customer
Until next time,
The team at Ovitae xo
Ovitae is proud to be Australian Made and offically endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives.