PCOS Natural Treatment with Inositol and NAC

Conventional treatments are often unsuccessful for PCOS, why not give this proven PCOS natural treatment a try?

PCOS natural treatment

Women with PCOS have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes at a younger age compared with controls, according to a Danish study.

© Raweewan Kitipoonwongvanich | Dreamstime

Are you one of the up to 20% of reproductive-aged women currently suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?[1] PCOS is one of the most common hormonal diseases. It is a multifaceted disease with a complex set of metabolic and hormonal abnormalities, including high testosterone, failure to ovulate, and insulin resistance.[2] This leads to wide variety of PCOS symptoms, including irregular menses, acne, abnormal hair growth, increased body mass (with weight gain around the abdomen), difficulty losing weight, and difficulty getting pregnant. In addition to infertility and obesity, the potential long-term problems associated with PCOS include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and uterine cancer. Conventional treatment, which is centered on drug treatments including hormonal contraceptives, progestins, and metformin (a drug that increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin), is not particularly effective and is fraught with side effects.[3-5] That’s why many women have turned to PCOS natural treatment.

PCOS Natural Treatment with NAC

N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is a natural variant of the amino acid L-cysteine. When taken as a supplement, NAC acts as a powerful antioxidant, mucolytic (breaks up mucus), and insulin regulator. NAC also stimulates the production of glutathione, the body’s most important detoxification compound.

NAC supplementation improves insulin levels,insulin sensitivity,  ovulation, and fertility in women with PCOS[6-10] and it works as well as metformin.[7,8] Both treatments significantly improve insulin resistance and testosterone levels and the results are comparable.[7,8] They also both help to reduce menstrual irregularity, abnormal hair growth, and cholesterol. And in women with PCOS undergoing fertility treatment, NAC significantly improves ovulation and pregnancy rates and works as well as metformin for improving egg and embryo quality.[9,10] NAC is much safer and better tolerated than metformin, however.[7]

The recommended dose of NAC is 600 mg twice a day.

Inositol for PCOS

Inositol, a natural compound belonging to the vitamin B complex, plays an important role in insulin regulation. Inositol also appears to have other actions, not related to insulin, that improve menstrual regularity in women with PCOS.

There are two forms of inositol available as supplements: myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol. Both are capable of improving menstrual regularity and insulin resistance in PCOS patients.[11-14] D-chiro-inositol appears to be better at reducing testosterone levels, while myo-inositol may be superior for improving metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance.[11] Therefore, a combination of the two forms may be better than either alone. One recent study combined relatively low doses of the two forms and found that the low-dose combination significantly improved cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin resistance in women with PCOS.[15]

The most common recommended dose of myo-inositol is 4 grams (4,000 mg) per day, while that of d-chiro-inositol is 1 gram (1,000 mg) a day, in divided doses. Inositol is typically taken with folic acid (400 mcg per day).

The Combination of NAC and Inositol May Be the Best PCOS Natural Treatment

Given the excellent results obtained with both NAC and inositol supplements, a group of Italian researchers recently decided to study the two in combination.[16] They treated 91 PCOS patients, half of whom had insulin resistance, with NAC (600 mg twice a day), myo-inositol (2000 mg twice a day), and folic acid (200 mcg twice a day) for 12 months. Insulin sensitivity significantly improved in the subgroup of PCOS patients suffering from insulin resistance, while menstrual regularity and ovulation rates significantly improved in all patients, whether they had insulin resistance to begin with or not. This combination of myo-inositol, NAC, and folic acid may be even more effective than either of the two supplements alone, and the addition of 1 gram of d-chiro-inositol may provide even greater benefits.

What Else to Do for PCOS

PCOS is a complex and multifaceted disease that requires a comprehensive approach to treatment. In addition to NAC and inositol, PCOS natural treatment always involves dietary and exercise therapies, as well as other nutritional and herbal supplements. For example, a high protein/low carb diet, or a Mediterranean-style low glycemic load diet is often recommended. Acupuncture and supplementation with fish oil, vitamin D, berberine, green tea, and other herbal extracts have also been shown to treat PCOS.[17]

Our readers want to hear from you. What natural PCOS treatments have you used? Please share in the comments section, below.

Originally published in 2015, this post has been updated.

[1] Eur J Endocrinol. 2014 Oct;171(4):P1-29.

[2] J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Dec;98(12):4565-92.

[3] Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2011 Mar;74(3):332-9.

[4] Intern Emerg Med. 2014 Dec 13. [Epub ahead of print]

[5] Acta Diabetol. 2014 Oct 15. [Epub ahead of print]

[6]Fertil Steril. 2002 Jun;77(6):1128-35.

[7] Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2011 Nov;159(1):127-31.

[8] Int J Fertil Steril. 2014 Jul;8(2):119-28.

[9] J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2012 Sep;38(9):1182-6.

[10] Reprod Fertil Dev. 2014 Nov 13. [Epub ahead of print]

[11] Gynecol Endocrinol. 2014 Mar;30(3):205-8.

[12] Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2014 Nov 22. [Epub ahead of print]

[13] Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2007 Sep-Oct;11(5):347-54.

[14] Gynecol Endocrinol. 2013 Apr;29(4):375-9.

[15] Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Feb;17(4):537-40.

[16] Obstet Gynecol Int. 2014; 2014: 141020.

[17] Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jul;301(1):E1-E10.

As a service to our readers, University Health News offers a vast archive of free digital content. Please note the date published or last update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kathleen Jade, ND

Dr. Kathleen Jade is a naturopathic physician and served for many years as the Medical Director and Editor-In-Chief of Natural Health Advisory Institute. She has been licensed as a primary … Read More

View all posts by Kathleen Jade, ND

Comments Comments Policy
  • This is a great article, much, MUCH appreciated! PCOS is a condition that doesn’t have a lot of information written about or published out there – so this truly was great.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Enter Your Login Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.