Fish Oil for PCOS: FISHIN’ FOR A REMEDY
by Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
The thought of taking fish oil for PCOS made my stomach turn.
Imagine my horror when, many years ago, I went to see a naturopath in the hopes of finding a natural treatment for PCOS, and the first thing she said to me was, “We need to get you on a good fish oil.”
I had never taken fish oil before. I remember my mom talking about how she had to take cod liver oil when she was a kid and how much she hated it.
I expected the worst but was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t bad! Once I found the right kind, there was no fishy taste or fish burps!
The best part is that I have noticed when I take fish oil my skin is clearer, my cycles are more regular, my hair loss slows, and my insulin sensitivity is improved.
My experience is not unique. Fish oil is a natural medicine that has been proven effective over thousands of years. In more recent history, studies have shown particular benefits to:
- Improved insulin sensitivity1,4,5
- Reduction of hirsutism1
- regulation of menstrual cycles3
- reduction in liver fat content2
- reduction in testosterone levels3
- reduction of inflammation4
decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease2,6
Since that fateful visit, my entire family and I have been taking fish oil regularly with wonderful results. I tried many brands and delivery methods (pills, liquids), and found one that was okay, but it wasn’t exactly what we needed. Finally, I sourced my own pharmaceutical-grade brand and PCOS Diva Ultra DHA Omega 3 Fish Oil was born!
It is important that you purchase your fish oil from a reputable company that has been verified by independent laboratory analysis that their product is free from chemical contamination. These products are regularly tested (using AOAC international protocols) for freshness, potency, and purity by an independent, FDA-registered laboratory and have been determined to be fresh, fully potent, and free of detectable levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, PCB’s and other contaminants.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is harvested from cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring, tuna, eel, and anchovies. These fish are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), which break down into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EFAs are a primary component of cell membranes and hormones. Together EPA and DHA aid in alleviating PCOS symptoms and improving fertility because they can help with hormone regulation and are anti-inflammatory.
Can’t I Get Omega-3s From My Food?
Yes and No. There is a very important distinction between the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids found in most foods.
The oil found in many foods is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In order for our bodies to use it, ALA must go through a metabolic transformation before it is converted into final omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). This transformation is controlled by an enzyme called delta-6-desaturase (D6D).
Unfortunately, conditions such as elevated cholesterol, caffeine or alcohol consumption, saturated fat or trans-fat consumption, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and hormonal abnormalities, including stress hormones, insulin resistance, and hypothyroidism can inhibit the performance of the D6D enzyme and thus reduce the body’s ability to change ALA into EPA/DHA.
Women with PCOS almost certainly have one or more of these conditions. As a result, our bodies are very inefficient at conversion and we have low levels of EPA/DHA.
Fish oil avoids this problem because it already contains EPA/DHA. No transformation is necessary, so no nutrients are lost.
Fish Oil is certainly an integral part of PCOS treatment. I encourage you to speak with your doctor and try adding high-quality fish oil such as PCOS Diva Ultra DHA Omega 3 Fish Oil to your diet. You will be glad you did.
For More information, check out these studies:
- Efficacy of omega-3 in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation decreases liver fat content in polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial employing proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy
- The effect of omega-3 supplementation on androgen profile and menstrual status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. Dyslipidemia and oxidative stress in PCOS.
- Omega-3 fatty acids improve glucose metabolism without effects on obesity values and serum visfatin levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Benefits of omega-3 Fatty acids supplementation on serum paraoxonase 1 activity and lipids ratios in polycystic ovary syndrome.
Amy Medling, the best-selling 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 them gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health, and happiness.
Thanks for the information. PCOS is so troubling as there is not just ONE solution in controlling symptoms. I have been searching for a good fish oil supplement. I will try the one the one you mention here. QUESTION: How much do you recommend? 1 teaspoon per day?
I take 1-2 tsp a day.
I am taking triple omega fish oil from GNC. My joints feel better, movement is easier. But would it help with my pcos… I did get my :real: period thus month…pain, really red blood, blood clots, just like when i used to get it on my own (which i have been since xmas, i got off the pill). Does it really imrpove fertility?
Yes! Fish oil helps with hormones and inflammation. It really is the firstline therapy for PCOS.
Is there a fish oil pill or caplet that would be good to take for PCOS or just by the tablespoon?
You can take a capsule but you have to typically take 3 or so capsules for the same amount of 1tsp of fish oil.
i’m not sure where to post this concern so i hope you can give me an advise about this. i’ve been suffering from recurring yeast infection and i was wondering if it is related to my PCOS? do you have any alternative treatment aside from taking the usual doctor prescribed medications. i’ve tried plain yogurt, garlic, coconut oil but it keeps coming back every now and then.
appreciate your help.
Olive Leaf extract is a powerful antifungal. You can take that in capsule form. You will feel kind of yucky like you have the flu while you experience the candida die-off. And you have to cut out the sugar and flour. I would also take a good probiotic powder. Best of luck!
Does the Olive Leaf extract work for nail fungus?
Olive Leaf extract is a powerful anti fungal. Coconut oil is too!
Is it ok to use this is you might be pregnant?
I was wondering if you know of any good vegan alternatives to fish oil? I have been vegan for some months, and though I was just diagnosed I really want to continue to stay vegan. Any recommendation would really be useful!
Misha- You can find algae that is a good alternative. I haven’t researched it enough to recommend a specific product
I thought I read something about women with PCOS having too much omega 3 or 9, is this true/ is there a problem when taking a complex of fish oil capsules with the omegas in the mix?
Women with PCOS have a high ratio of Omega 3:Omega 6. It should be around 1:4 and it is more like 1:20. Taking Omega 3’s and using Omega 9 oils like Olive help balance that ratio. Fish oil is very helpful in this process.
I’m allergic to fish oil…I have tried researching all different types. Do you have other suggestions
There are vegan Omega 3 DHA/EPA oils made from algae. Here is one http://www.amazon.com/Deva-Vegan-Omega-3-Algae-Vcaps/dp/B000V8BD4S
Krill oil is also wonderful and does not leave a fishy after taste. It has the same properties as fish oil with Astaxanthin a very potent antioxidant.
BTW- Dr. Mercola’s Krill Oil capsules also contain primrose oil for those who are interested.
I love fish and cod liver oils for people with insulin resistance issues. Avoid plant-based omegas unless your insulin is under control: this includes EPO/borage/flax.
You are a wealth of knowledge! Let me know if you would be interested in writing a PCOS Diva blog post!
I find the description of D6D conversion of ALA into the other (mentioned) hormones particularly interesting, as I believe this is a problem I may have. I am 40 years old and wouldn’t mind getting pregnant, but there are other problems I have that fish oil is good for.
I’m confused at times re: PCOS and even the highest quality fish-oils as they are an estrogenic, mild, however, impressionable. Something someone in an estrogen dominant state does not need. They also antagonize our thyroid, and many with PCOS including myself have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I would consider using them once PCOS is completely reversed, not during any phase of hormone imbalance.
How many mcg or mg should the fish oil pills be? Unfortunately I live outside of the United States so I cannot order your brand.