Should you take a multivitamin if you have PCOS? This is one of the popular questions we hear from our patients at the PCOS Nutrition Center. Certainly many with PCOS may be taking other supplements to help manage their PCOS, do they really need a multivitamin on top of those pills? How much is too much? What should you look for in a multivitamin? Here’s what to know about taking a multivitamin if you have PCOS.
Supplements Shouldn’t Replace Food
A pill can’t substitute for the fiber content or the numerous health benefits from the synergy that a variety of whole foods provide.
But the reality is most people don’t eat a diet that includes at least half of whole grain foods or the 9 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables needed each day. And for the one out of 6 Americans facing food insecurity at some point in their lives, meeting these nutrient requirements through food is next to impossible.
Supplements Prevent Deficiencies
In some cases, it’s clearly beneficial to take a multivitamin to prevent a deficiency or to help maintain adequate levels of nutrients.
Take women who are trying to conceive. Taking a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin helps ensure an adequate amount of necessary nutrients for fetal growth like folic acid or folate, choline, and omega-3 fats, all crucial for fetal brain development.
Vegans need to supplement their diets with vitamin B12.
People who take metformin, birth control pills or heart burn medications should also supplement their daily nutrition with vitamin B12 to prevent a deficiency. Didn’t know about this? Head over to our blog post about the Mandatory Supplementation of Vitamin B12 if you take Metformin.
People with certain types of anemia may require iron supplementation.
Multivitamins can help prevent nutrient deficiencies in those that are malnourished due to poverty or food insecurity, restrictive diets or food allergies or intolerances.
Women with PCOS Have Nutrient Deficiencies
While I do think that most individuals who eat a healthy diet that meets their nutrient requirements, don’t need a multivitamin, I do think individuals with PCOS would benefit from taking one. The reason is because women with PCOS have been shown to be at a higher risk of numerous nutrient deficiencies such as the following:
Magnesium is an important mineral that most people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are significantly lacking in. Women with PCOS are 19 times more likely to have a magnesium deficiency, according to a study in Gynecology Endocrinology. This is concerning as magnesium has been shown to play a role in glucose, insulin, and blood pressure regulation. Individuals with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes have also shown to have low levels of magnesium. In fact, having low levels of magnesium increases your risk for having type 2 diabetes.
Zinc works to inhibit testosterone from converting to its non-aromatizable form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is how it can reduce hair loss as well as other symptoms associated with high testosterone levels in women with PCOS like acne, hair loss, and unwanted hair growth.
Low vitamin D status is highly prevalent among the PCOS population. Vitamin D is a vitamin but also a hormone that’s involved in metabolic health. A deficiency of vitamin D contributes to poor egg quality and infertility.
People with PCOS need to make sure they are getting enough vitamin B12. Why? Metformin, oral contraceptives, and common heartburn medications can deplete levels of vitamin B12. Conditions that interfere with nutrient absorption, such celiac or Crohn’s disease, can also affect levels of B12. Read our popular blog post 7 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamin B12
Supplements Don’t Treat Diseases
Dietary supplements aren’t intended to treat diseases. The roles vitamins and minerals are involved in include maintaining normal cell function, metabolism, growth and development, and act as essential cofactors in hundreds of enzyme reactions throughout the body.
Vitamins and minerals may help improve certain aspects of medical conditions such as insulin sensitivity in PCOS, but they won’t cure PCOS or any other disease.
Multivitamins and any other dietary supplement shouldn’t replace food, especially whole foods which can help heal PCOS. But they can improve many aspects of the condition and maintain good health.
Shopping For a Multivitamin
Dietary supplements are not regulated like drugs are. Anyone can put a dietary supplement on the market without prior testing. Pretty crazy when you think about it, huh?
When looking for a multivitamin, look for a pharmaceutical-grade quality one. It may be pricier, but chances are, the product has been manufactured in a FDA compliant facility.
Look to see if the multivitamin has been 3rd party tested. This means an independent lab not associated with the manufacturer has done their own testing to make sure the supplement is meeting requirements on the label and is free from contaminants.
As a reminder, all the supplements in the PCOS Nutrition Center Store have been independently tested by a third party and manufactured in an FDA compliant facility.
PCOS Nutrition Center PCOS MULTI®
Knowing many people with PCOS are not getting enough vitamins and minerals, and how important certain vitamins and minerals are for PCOS, we specifically formulated PCOS MULTI to help meet these needs.
PCOS MULTI® contains extra amounts of B-vitamins, vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc folate, and other antioxidants to support health in those with PCOS.* All this in just 2 small capsules…because no one needs to be swallowing more pills than bites of breakfast.
The PCOS Nutrition Center PCOS MULTI® is the only multivitamin specifically formulated to meet the unique health needs of people with PCOS.* and is manufactured in an FDA compliant facility and is 3rd party tested by an independent lab.
Need other supplements to help you manage PCOS? Visit our supplements store for a variety of medical-grade supplements that are 3rd party tested and specifically formulated for women with PCOS.
Sharifi F, Mazloomi S, Hajihosseini R, Mazloomzadeh S. Serum magnesium concentrations in polycystic ovary syndrome and its association with insulin resistance. 2 Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012;28(1):7-11.
Siahbazi S. Effect of zinc sulfate supplementation on premenstrual syndrome and health-related quality of life: Clinical randomized controlled trial. 2017. J Obstet Gynaecol Res.
Jamilian M, Foroozanfard F, Bahmani F, Talaee R, Monavari M, Asemi Z. Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Endocrine Outcomes in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Apr;170(2):271-8.
Baillargeon JP, Iuorno MJ, Apridonidze T, Nestler JE. Uncoupling between insulin and release of a D-chiro-inositol-containing inositolphosphoglycan mediator of insulin action in obese women With polycystic ovary syndrome. Metabol synd related disorders. 2010;8(2):127-136.
Cheang KI, Baillargeon JP, Essah PA, et al. Insulin-stimulated release of D-chiro-inositol-containing inositolphosphoglycan mediator correlates with insulin sensitivity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Metabolism. 2008;57(10):1390-1397.
Wehr E, Pilz S, Schweighofer N, et al. Association of hypovitaminosis D with metabolic disturbances in polycystic ovary syndrome. Europ J Endocrinology. 2009;161(4):575-582
Dr. Hina is a fertility specialist and radiologist working as a IUI Consultant. She is a beacon of hope for couples on their journey to parenthood, specializing in fertility treatment and serving as a trusted IUI consultant. With an impressive 8 years of experience in the field, she has witnessed the transformative power of reproductive medicine firsthand and is driven by a deep passion to help individuals realize their dreams of starting a family. Read More