by Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
The most common questions I receive from PCOS Divas are, “What vitamins or supplements do you take?” and “What vitamins are best for PCOS?” These are very important questions, but the answer is not simple. I have spent years researching and looking for the best supplements to enhance my PCOS Diva diet and lifestyle regimen.
When I chose to treat my PCOS naturally, I changed my diet and lifestyle. The improvements in my quality of life were dramatic, but I knew there were still sporadic nutrient gaps that I was missing. I began to look for the best supplement for PCOS. I had always taken a multivitamin from my local drug store, but the more I read, the more I realized that I was wasting my money. I knew I had to find a better vitamin. The choices, information and marketing can be overwhelming, I know. Over the years, I have tried many varieties with varied success. Finally, I decided that if I wanted a foundational multi-vitamin specifically for PCOS, I was going to have to find a reputable company and source it myself. So I did. PCOS Diva now has a line of supplements that are the perfect addition to the PCOS diet and lifestyle. Introducing the PCOS Diva Essentials Bundle and PCOS Diva Advanced Supplements.
Studies indicate that most Americans take vitamins. Why is it then, that most of us are still vitamin deficient? There are several reasons, actually:
- First, supplements are designed to be just that- supplements. A healthy person uses high quality supplements to fill in the gaps in their whole food, nutrient rich diet. If your diet is vitamin poor, no supplement is going to replace everything you need.
- Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. We often aren’t getting as many nutrients from the food we are eating as our great-grandparents did.
- Many people take medications that deplete vitamins in our bodies. For example, Metformin depletes B-12 and the birth control pill depletes vitamin B, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Zinc.
- Finally, many people suffer chronic conditions, such as PCOS, which themselves rob the body of nutrients.
Women with PCOS definitely need supplements. Even those of us that follow a strict PCOS diet and lifestyle have gaps here and there to fill. The dilemma is how to choose the right supplements for PCOS. There are piles of research out there on this topic. Where do we begin? First, let’s discuss the grade of supplement you need. I break supplements into three grades.
- Nutritional Grade (Drug Store): This grade of supplements is the type widely consumed and available on the shelves of your drug store/megamart. They typically advertise one tablet per day to cover all of your vitamin needs. The problem with this grade is that no one is monitoring the contents and effectiveness. They are rarely tested for consistency of ingredients across a batch, absorption, dissolution or purity by a third party independent lab. The result is wide variation of questionably effective contents even within a batch of vitamins. In fact, GNC, Walmart, Target and Walgreens were recently sent Cease and Desist letters from the New York State Attorney General who, after studying the DNA of their supplements found that “few of which were found to contain the herbs shown on their labels and many of which included potential allergens not identified in the ingredients list.” In addition, they often contain fillers, binders and dyes which are, at best, useless. Finally, since it is often cheaper and takes up less space, companies will pack the pills with harder to digest varieties of the vitamins and minerals you need. In most cases, your body disposes of most of the supplement without digesting it at all.
- Medical Grade (Nutrition Store): This grade is usually slightly better quality than the drug store supplements. While they contain less filler and often contain more usable nutrients, they are also rarely third party tested and also have a wide variance in their actual contents.
- Pharmaceutical Grade (Health Care Professionals): This grade is the gold standard for supplements. These are the highest quality supplement, which means that the purity, dissolution and absorption meet the high standards of an independent third party tester. These supplements are often available without a prescription, but only through licensed health care professionals who understand the potency and efficacy of the supplements they suggest.
What is the main difference between the grades? When taking pharmaceutical grade supplements, you are consistently consuming and absorbing the vitamins and minerals listed on the bottle.
Your body is always looking for nutrients. When it finds a naturally occurring vitamin E, for example, in the almonds you had for a snack, it easily absorbs the vitamins. When it finds the synthetic form in your drug store brand vitamin, it is often too hard to break down, doesn’t get absorbed, and is excreted right away. If you are taking a pharmaceutical grade supplement, the manufacturer has chosen a bioavailable variety of vitamin E, and as a result, your body can actually absorb and utilize the nutrients! Be sure that your pharmaceutical grade vitamin uses chelated minerals as well. Chelated minerals are minerals (like chromium) that have been combined using a special process with amino acids to form complexes. The greater absorption and bioavailability of amino acid chelated minerals compared to nonchelated minerals have been well-documented. Yes, you will have to take more than one pill per day. The fact is that you cannot fit all of the quality ingredients your body craves into one capsule.
Finally, pharmaceutical grade supplements are checked by an independent third party to be sure of their effectiveness.Third-party certification is your guarantee that the supplement has been manufactured properly, does not include any harmful contaminants, and the amounts of vitamins and minerals contained in each dose are consistent across each batch. Also check the label to be sure your supplement does not contain binders, dyes, fillers, excipients, and other unknown or unnecessary substances.
In the end, smart money buys pharmaceutical grade vitamins. What is the point of buying and consuming a product that doesn’t work? If you are serious about giving your body the nutrients it needs and deserves, choose a pharmaceutical grade supplement that may cost a little bit more, but is guaranteed to be pure and effective. Yes, pharmaceutical grade supplements cost a little bit more than nutrition store or drug store vitamins, but since your body is actually using the nutrients, you are getting what you pay for.
PCOS Diva is proud to offer seven pharmaceutical grade supplements which are all GMP certified. The PCOS Diva Essentials trio are the foundational supplements of choice for women with PCOS to optimize wellness, leaving you feeling powerful, healthy and energized. PCOS Diva’s Essential Supplement includes a host of bioavailable vitamins and chelated minerals, providing the support you need for maintaining optimal glucose, insulin and leptin levels while helping your body efficiently convert carbohydrates into energy and managing your metabolism, which can mean even blood sugar levels and less belly fat. PCOS Diva Vitamin D may increase fertility, reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, alleviate mood disorders, boost your glucose metabolism and support adrenals. PCOS Diva Ultra DHA is proven to reduce fatty liver, control insulin, and improve hair and skin, as well as lower triglycerides and blood pressure.
Amy Medling, author of Healing PCOS and certified health coach, specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill, and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet, and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health, and happiness.