We’ve heard that inositol may be good for PCOS and fertility, so we’ve turned to partner nutritionist, Kirsten Oddy, to find out about any benefits of inositol for PCOS and fertility, as well as dosage.
www.kirstenoddy.com | @kirstenoddynutrition
Before you read
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Now, let’s dig in
Managing PCOS symptoms can be tough, but there are a number of ways you can control them. In fact, women often experience a significant improvement in PCOS symptoms and fertility when following a targeted dietary and lifestyle programme with supplementation of specific nutrients and botanicals. In this fertility blog, we’re going to look at one supplement in particular – inositol. Inositol shows fertility-improving effects among women with PCOS and, since the syndrome is one of the leading causes of female infertility, these results are particularly encouraging.
Related Article – Fertility Help: What is PCOS? By The Women’s Wellness Centre
What is Inositol?
Inositol is a vitamin-like substance that plays a vital role in supporting health. It is a naturally occurring substance, and most of us obtain the levels we need from the foods we eat. However, there is a different need for inositol in women with PCOS. In women with PCOS, the cellular processes that produce and use inositol fail to function correctly. This deficiency can contribute to the development of typical PCOS symptoms such as irregular periods, anovulation (lack of ovulation), insulin resistance and those symptoms related to androgen excess like acne, hirsutism (excess hair growth) and hair loss.
How Does Inositol Benefit PCOS?
Inositol is an effective support in PCOS. Research shows that taking inositol supplements can have a positive effect on this faulty cell functioning and in turn restore your health and fertility. The main way inositol helps women with PCOS is by lowering insulin levels and improving insulin sensitivity. Over 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance and as one of the most common causes and symptoms of the syndrome, addressing insulin is key. Lowering insulin levels in turn lowers androgen levels and regulates LH:FSH ratio – which means less acne, improved hirsutism, restored ovulation and regular menstrual cycles.
Does Inositol Increase Fertility?
Not only does inositol help women with PCOS to ovulate, but it can also improve outcomes in women with PCOS who are undergoing fertility treatment too. Studies show that women with PCOS who are taking supplemental inositol, alongside folic acid during IVF, have higher IVF success compared to those women who only took a straight folic acid fertility supplement. Similar results are found in women with PCOS undergoing IUI; pregnancy rates were improved by approximately 50% in women with PCOS taking an inositol supplement compared to those without.
The benefits of inositol for fertility don’t just stop there – inositol has also shown to influence egg quality and reduce the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in women with PCOS undergoing ovulation induction.
Related Article – Fertility Supplements: The Importance of Omega-3 for your Fertility Journey
Which Type of Inositol Should I Take?
There are several forms of inositol, however the two that are most commonly used as nutritional supplements are myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol, or a combination of the two. Each of these forms of inositol show promise in supporting different PCOS symptoms and fertility outcomes, but myo-inositol is thought to be the most effective, affordable and widely researched type and is usually the one I recommend.
Inositol Dosage for PCOS?
The benefits demonstrated so far have involved myo-inositol in supplemental form rather than from food sources. It is also unlikely that food sources alone can supply high enough levels to achieve a therapeutic effect. Current research into inositol and PCOS suggests that women with PCOS should take a dosage of 2000mg myo-inositol 1-2 times per day for it to be most effective. Clinical doses may also be best achieved in supplemental powdered form as opposed to tablet or capsule form.
How Long Does Inositol Take to Work For Fertility?
Most studies document women with PCOS taking myo-inositol for up to six months, however three months would be an effective starting point before reviewing. As you can see, there are many reasons to consider supplementing with myo-inositol, but remember that myo-inositol is only part of the solution. Every woman with PCOS is unique and requires an individualised and multi-faceted approach – and whether you’re taking myo-inositol supplements or not, it is also important to switch to a PCOS friendly diet. Learn more about natural strategies for PCOS in one of my previous articles here.
Before taking any supplement for PCOS or fertility, you should speak to a registered nutritionist or GP to ensure the supplement is right for you and you are taking a safe amount.
Interested in working with a PCOS and fertility nutritionist? As a Fertility Help Hub reader you receive a lovely 10% discount off personalised consultations with Kirsten. Schedule a complimentary discovery call with Kirsten below.
Related Article – Conceiving with PCOS: 11 Things that Helped us