Over this past year I’ve been working with PCOS patients.  Nearly always there is an underlying blood sugar dysregulation, gut issue, inflammation and hormone imbalance.  Thyroid can be implicated as well especially if autoimmunity is a contributing factor.  I’m delighted when I haven’t heard from someone in awhile and then receive a note saying a baby is on the way.

It is possible to conceive before your health is perfect.  I always ask patients to give me 2 months to focus on their health prior to conception.  We can get a lot done in 8 weeks.  Its enough time to get the gut working, optimize micronutrients and open the pathways for hormone balance.

The woman who I hadn’t heard from in awhile had a hormone retest showing a marked  improvement on many levels. Although we hadn’t resolved everything, the most important markers were in range.

What are the most important markers?

I want to see total and free cortisol in range.  I also want to see the three month blood sugar marker under the functional level.  When insulin resistance is primary than we’ll want a more in depth panel.  If inflammation has come down then we know we are on track.  These are the three big ones.  Then there is ferritin.  Before conceiving we want to see healthy levels of iron stores along with folate.

When androgens are primary then checking to see the metabolite pathways is important but again sex hormones are downstream the big three I mention above.

Lifestyle

Building in stress management and a dietary routine prior to baby coming is so important.  These will be what carry you through any difficulties that may arise in the first months of parenting.  They also set the stage for the child’s health and habits which are easier to influence earlier rather than change later in the game. 

Some of my favourite, effective supplements for PCOS

  1. Inositol: balances blood sugar, prevents gestational diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  Effective for treating anxiety and other mental health issues.
  2. Alpha Lipoic Acid: an anti oxidant that balances glucose levels.
  3. Glycine: an amino acid that supports good digestion, calms the nervous system and promotes restful sleep.  Best to test your levels before doing higher doses.  (see note below)
  4. Heme Iron: the most bio avalable and absorbable form of iron.
  5. Omega 3’s:  found in fish, grass fed meats and pastured products these are anti-inflammatory.
  6. Nettles:  increases the production of SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) which reduces levels of free testosterone in the blood.   SHBG is often low in PCOS.
  7. Reservatrol: a polyphenol found in red wine and grapes that helps counter the effects of androgenic activity that is commonly found in PCOS.

Testing for Optimal Health

Basic blood work and hormone testing is important.  The organic acids lab work looks deeper.  By giving another view of gut health and nutrient absorption we can see more of the underlying cause for illness.  It’s proving more accurate for yeast and fungal overgrowth for instance.  

Often patients are come back after the initial treatment.  They want to do another next layer of work.  The Organics Acid test can act as a yearly check-up.  Its an overview not just of the gut but also the brain, fatty acids and cellular energy production. 

If you’ve been hearing about mitochondrial health then this how you can get a peek into yours.  Is your DNA is replicating well?  What micronutrients are low?   Is your liver functioning optimally? This test provides insight in tough cases or tweaks treatment plans for anyone wishing to thrive.

Going back to fertility, both parents can use this test to address lingering health concerns prior to conceiving.  Retesting after the first few months or years after birth can be a good check-in.  Ensure you have the energy to enjoy your little ones through all their stages!