If you have already been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS for short, you would be familiar with the many symptoms linked to it. They include excess hair growth, acne, weight gain/trouble losing weight, and irregular periods. You may have even been told that PCOS can make you infertile. But I want to bust that myth open right now. In fact, you can even think of PCOS as being positive for fertility! Let’s look at how N-acetyl-cysteine (or NAC) can help improve your PCOS.
Why PCOS isn’t all doom and gloom for fertility…
Women with PCOS have a larger than normal amount of eggs in their ovaries. This large pool of eggs means that most women with PCOS will have more eggs available at a later stage in life. This is in opposition to what I often treat in the clinic, a condition called Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (more on this in future articles!).
Management of PCOS to improve ovulation and bring back regular cycles puts the PCOS woman in the same category as any other woman in terms of chances of conception. If you’re ovulating regularly, you’ve got a normal chance of falling pregnant. One of my favourite treatments to improve ovulation naturally in cases of PCOS is supplementation with N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC for short).
NAC for PCOS
NAC is a precursor of the amino acid L-cysteine, and the antioxidant glutathione. It works in the body by maintaining levels of glutathione, which supports other antioxidants and reduces the effect of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This is a fancy way of saying it increases the number of good guys to protect against the negative reproductive effects of the bad guys.
The main areas of benefit of NAC are:
- Improves male and female fertility
- Lowers homocysteine levels
Now this last one, the lowering of the homocysteine levels, is quite important for fertility. Roughly 60-70% of the population have a genetic polymorphism (this means a gene that is slightly imperfect, or different from the norm) in the MTHFR gene. If you have the MTHFR gene mutation it can lead to increased homocysteine levels, which can result in blood clots that affect fertility and increase chances of miscarriage.
The Good News…
NAC has been shown in scientific studies to improve ovulation and pregnancy rates in women with PCOS. It has also been shown to improve pregnancy rates in women with recurrent unexplained pregnancy loss. In terms of male infertility, NAC can improve the motility, viscosity and volume of sperm, as well as reducing oxidative stress through it’s antioxidant capabilities.
NAC is a treatment that should only be taken by prescription from a registered health professional. As with any medication or supplement, there can be side effects and risks, which is why it’s important to be under the care of a professional and never self-prescribe. Your natural healthcare provider will be able to correctly determine the dose needed to positively influence your situation.
Here at Sydney Natural Fertility, we would love to help you manage your PCOS and improve your fertility. Worldwide bookings are available through our online booking system.
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Main photo by LJNovaScotia.