Excess Androgens – sometimes you need a little extra help

Last week we spoke about how nutrition plays a part in balancing androgen levels. Sometimes, however, food is not quite enough and we need a little extra help.

This is where supplements, or nutraceuticals, come in handy. There aren’t many, so don’t worry, I won’t have you popping a handful of pills to get these hormones back into balance.

  • Chromium is a mineral that acts as an insulin sensitizer, which means it helps to reverse insulin resistance and lowers both your serum insulin and glucose levels when they are high. I used chromium when I first started on my journey to better health and it was fabulous. It helped with my cravings for sugar because I wasn’t having the wild blood sugar swings. This is actually one of my favourite supplements for anyone who has blood sugar issues, whether they’re high or low.
  • Inositol is a naturally occurring B-complex vitamin known to improve insulin sensitivity. Two inositol supplements that appear to help correct PCOS are D-chiroinositol (DCI) and myo-inositol (MI). Women with PCOS appear to be deficient in DCI.   The combination of both DCI and MI appears to be very successful. Inositol also appears to be safer, especially for younger women and girls than the medical route of metformin and clomiphene, which can have serious side effects. Inositol (specifically DCI) also works well in lean women with PCOS.
  • Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluable vitamin that is present in fish and eggs. Vitamin D deficiency is a factor in the metabolic disturbance of PCOS and almost half of women with PCOS are vitamin D-deficient. Women who live in colder climates, who don’t get outside much or who use sunscreen do not get sufficient Vitamin D. I would highly recommend at least 2,000 IU per day; more if you have immune system issues.
  • Cinnamon is a wonderful herb and natural insulin-sensitizer. It acts like a natural form of metformin, stimulating glucose uptake by fat cells, which lowers both glucose and insulin levels. Cinnamon also lowers blood pressure, which is often elevated in women with PCOS and metabolic syndrome and helps correct abnormal cholesterol levels. Half a teaspoon a day is an effective dose.
  • Saw Palmetto is known to reduce the conversion of testosterone to the more potent DHT and to block the androgen receptors (preventing excess), but I would keep this to a low dose of 160 mg/day and would use after you have tried the other options listed above.

As I promised, you won’t be stuck taking a handful of pills in order to treat excess androgens. Cinnamon can be added to hot chocolate or certain soups and vitamin D can be obtained through fish and eggs.   I certainly would not recommend taking all of the supplements though.

My personal favourite is chromium. Inositol is excellent and vitamin D has other benefits for immunity, calcium absorption and even mood stabilization. Think how much happier we are during the warm, sunny weather compared to the cold, overcast days. That’s partially related to our vitamin D levels.

So there you have it. A few quick, easy supplements to help you along the way the rebalancing androgen levels.

Stay tuned next week where we will talk about lifestyle changes.

If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me here.

Until next time

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