Pregnant woman with PCOS relaxing with a dog

Is Vitamin E Good for PCOS?

Is Vitamin E Good for PCOS?

By April Alen Abion
Scientifically reviewed by: Michael A. Smith, MD

Can women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) get pregnant? The answer is: yes…but it can be more challenging than for women without this hormone imbalance condition. For reproductive-age women, the hallmark of PCOS is high androgen levels (the "male" hormone), which can lead to irregular periods and difficulty getting pregnant. But, as daycares full of babies conceived with a little "help" can attest, there are options.

Common therapies include ovulation induction treatments with agents like clomiphene citrate or metformin. Might nutritional support help bring forth the pitter-patter of little feet? Perhaps! A new study published in BMC Women's Health suggests that vitamin E may be helpful for women with PCOS undergoing ovulation induction.

According to the study, women with polycystic ovary syndrome undergoing ovulation induction who received vitamin E had lower levels of oxidative stress and required lower doses of human menopausal gonadotropin.

In addition to potentially supporting fertility, vitamin E has many other health benefits for women with PCOS: it also helps maintain healthy levels of insulin, triglycerides and LDL.

What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Characterized by high levels of testosterone, polycystic ovary syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, is an endocrine disease that affects four to 20 percent of women in their reproductive stage. In the U.S. alone, six to 12 percent of the female population—around 5 million women—have polycystic ovary syndrome.

Testosterone is an important hormone in women's health. It supports healthy bones, strong memory, and high libido and sex drive. However, as in women with PCOS, too much testosterone can make conceiving difficult. Pregnant women with polycystic ovary syndrome are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and premature delivery.

Although not all women with polycystic ovary syndrome display these symptoms, common PCOS symptoms include:

  • Infrequent, prolonged, or irregular menstrual cycles. (For example, you might have no period for three or more consecutive months.)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Infertility
  • Acne
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive hair growth on face and body
  • Thinning hair
  • Unexpected weight gain

If you have PCOS, your doctor might also diagnose you with polycystic ovaries. This means your ovaries are bigger than normal and might have cysts that surround the eggs. PCOS increases the risk for type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar. This makes it particularly important that women with PCOS eat healthfully and stay active, which addresses these health risks and may increase their chances of having a baby.

How does vitamin E help with PCOS?

In addition to the BMC Women's Health publication, placebo-controlled studies have shown the benefits of vitamin E for women with PCOS, especially regarding their reproduction and fertility.

In the retrospective study from BMC Women's Health, 321 women with PCOS underwent ovulation induction.

  1. 105 received 100 mg/d of vitamin E during the follicular phase
  2. 106 received 100 mg/d of vitamin E during the luteal phase
  3. 110 did not receive vitamin E

The results? Those who took vitamin E showed improved resistance to oxidative damage, healthy endometrium thickness, and decreased hMG dosage for healthy ovulation.

The top health benefits of vitamin E

Not only is vitamin E helpful for PCOS women undergoing ovulation induction, but it also offers a host of other women's health benefits:

  • Skin

    Vitamin E deficiency has been correlated with psoriasis. Vitamin E can protect your cell membranes from oxidative damage and keep free radicals at bay—so you can enjoy healthy, soft, and youthful skin.
    Pro tip: When you enjoy time outdoors, protect your skin from free radicals that result in oxidative stress. Use SPF to protect against UV exposure.
  • Healthy lipid blood levels

    —Taking vitamin E regularly can maintain healthy systolic blood pressure, LDL and triglyceride levels, which may lower the risk for cardiovascular disease and keep any cardiovascular events at bay.
  • Liver

    —A 2021 review of 8 clinical trials showed that vitamin E can improve the liver enzymes AST and ALT for a healthier liver.
  • Less painful periods

    —If you experience frequent and severe cramps and pelvic pain during menstruation, 200 IU of E intake daily can relieve menstrual and pelvic pain, especially in women with endometriosis.
    Pro tip: Make sure you check your vitamin D levels. If you're D-deficient, it may impact your menstrual cycle and ovulation.
  • Brain and memory

    —Vitamin E helps keep your memory sharp and can help protect against age-related cognitive decline so that you can remember life's special moments.

Pro tip: Adding other antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C, beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A), and fat-soluble vitamin D to your wellness routine can help protect your cells against free radicals.

How much vitamin E should I take?

The National Institute of Health has a daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 15 mg of vitamin E a day for healthy adults. Some vitamin E options offer a high-dosage of alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherols and other forms of this antioxidant vitamin for maximum benefits.

If you're taking anticoagulants or antiplatelets, speak with your doctor before taking a high-dosage vitamin E to avoid side effects including fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and bleeding for women.

What type of vitamin E is best to take?

Vitamin E is a family of eight fat-soluble antioxidant compounds that consist of two main branches: tocopherols and tocotrienols. Each compound has four different structures.

  1. Alpha or α-tocopherol
  2. Beta-tocopherol
  3. Gamma-tocopherol
  4. Delta-tocopherol
  5. Alpha or α-tocotrienol
  6. Beta-tocotrienol
  7. Gamma-tocotrienol
  8. Delta-tocotrienol

According to a study published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, our bodies prefer the alpha-tocopherol form. Additionally, alpha-tocopherol has stronger antioxidant properties than the other vitamin compounds in the family.

How much vitamin E should I take?

Speak with your doctor about adding vitamin E to your wellness routine. It can be an excellent way to address vitamin E deficiency, or support vitamin E levels in general, protect cells from oxidative stress, and help your body combat PCOS symptoms.

When you're looking for a vitamin E, choose high-quality ingredients, preferably made with oils. This helps your body better absorb the lipid-soluble vitamin.

Pro tip: If you're looking for naturally-sourced vitamin E, avoid options that offer dl-alpha-tocopherol—it's the synthetic form of this antioxidant vitamin.

Seven nutrients that can help with ovary syndrome

Aside from vitamin E, the following nutrients may improve your PCOS symptoms and increase your chances of getting pregnant. Always speak with your doctor before making changes to your diet to avoid any side effects.

Vitamin D

—Women deficient in vitamin D are at increased risk of heart disease, hormone imbalances, and metabolic and mental disorders. In a meta-analysis with a combined 483 women with polycystic ovary syndrome, those who took vitamin D showed reduced insulin resistance, lower total testosterone and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "bad" cholesterol levels.

Pro tip: Enjoy time outside and add foods like eggs and fatty fish to your meals; they're excellent vitamin D sources. If it's not sunny where you live or fish isn't your thing, you may want to add vitamin D to your wellness routine.

Omega-3 fatty acids

—Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids can help maintain healthy triglycerides and insulin levels. It also supports healthy inflammation and blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease. In a clinical trial, there was a higher prevalence of PCOS among women with lower levels of omega-3 compared to those with higher levels.

N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)

—Adding N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) to your diet can help improve your menstruation cycle, ovulation, and your chances of having a baby. In a randomized controlled trial with 100 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, those who took NAC for 24 weeks had healthier body composition compared with the placebo group. Similarly, their fasting glucose and insulin ratios improved. They also maintained healthy testosterone hormone levels.


—Berberine supports healthy insulin resistance in PCOS patients. It also helps boost the Glut-4 Expression in the ovaries for healthier ovulation and improved pregnancy rate. In a placebo-controlled trial, 89 women with PCOS who took berberine achieved higher sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and lipid profile levels compared with the placebo group.


—By bringing the microbiome back to balance, probiotics can potentially maintain a healthy response to inflammation, and a healthy hormone profile, such as estrogen and androgen balance, to support ovulation. Studies have also shown that prebiotics and probiotics can help improve insulin levels, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol in women with PCOS.


—If you experience PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, fatigue, and irritability, magnesium may help. Taking 250 mg of magnesium daily may help with cravings, bloating, cramping, and anxiety related to PMS. Magnesium may also help keep your inflammation response and blood pressure healthy.


—It's the active compound in turmeric, the famous golden spice, and it's well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin can help improve insulin resistance for women with PCOS. It may also help decrease androgen and glucose blood levels, which can potentially help improve ovulation and fertility.

Let's recap: If you experience PCOS symptoms, you can help your body find balance and support clomiphene citrate or metformin ovulation induction treatment by incorporating E-rich foods (and the nutrients mentioned above) into your meals. Adding nutrients to your diet like vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin D can also help women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Balanced meals, regular body movement, restful sleep, and a close relationship with her doctor are a must for a healthy mom-to-be and her baby.

About the Author: April Alen Abion is a graduate of Bicol University. She has over 10 years of experience copywriting for the health and supplement space. When not writing, she enjoys cuddling and playing with her son.



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