The Ultimate Guide to NAC: The PCOS Fertility Supplement You Should Know About

pcos supplements for fertility can make you pregnant

Key Takeaways:

  • NAC may help manage PCOS and boost fertility.
  • Potential benefits: improved hormonal balance, ovulation, insulin sensitivity, egg quality, and metabolic health.
  • Consult a healthcare provider before starting NAC.
  • More research needed to confirm NAC’s benefits.


Among the myriad PCOS supplements for fertility, one shines brightly for its versatility and potential benefits – N-acetylcysteine, fondly known as NAC. As a powerful antioxidant, it’s garnering attention not only for its potential benefits in managing the hormonal chaos of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but also for its emerging role in enhancing fertility.

From its antioxidant properties to hormonal balance, from insulin sensitivity to ovulation and egg quality, NAC could be a multi-pronged game changer in PCOS management. So, let’s dive in and unravel the magic of this potent supplement, explore its impressive potential benefits, and discuss why it is widely being hailed as a promising PCOS fertility supplement.

What is N-acetylcysteine (NAC)?

NAC is a supplement derived from the amino acid cysteine. It’s crucial for the production of glutathione, a potent antioxidant that helps neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. NAC, by boosting glutathione levels, can help protect the body from oxidative stress and inflammation. In addition to its role as a precursor to glutathione, NAC is used in medical settings for conditions such as acetaminophen (Paracetamol) overdose and chronic respiratory diseases.

Recently, NAC has been studied for its potential benefits in a variety of health conditions, including psychiatric disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and reproductive health conditions, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Dr. Jinnan Jawad expounds more on NAC benefits in this video:

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a complex hormonal disorder that affects approximately 10% of women of reproductive age. It’s the most common endocrine disorder in this population, and it’s a leading cause of female infertility.

Despite its name, you can have PCOS even without having multiple cysts on your ovaries, which are actually immature follicles containing eggs that haven’t been properly developed or released.

The condition is characterized by three main features:

  • Irregular Menstruation: Women with PCOS often experience irregular periods or even complete absence of periods, known as amenorrhea. This irregularity is typically one of the first signs of the condition.
  • Elevated Androgen Levels: Androgens are often termed “male hormones,” but they are crucial for both males and females. Women with PCOS frequently have higher than normal levels of androgens, which can result in physical signs like excess facial and body hair, acne, and male-pattern baldness.
  • Polycystic Ovaries: As mentioned, polycystic ovaries have many small follicles that appear like cysts. This is seen on an ultrasound, but not all women with PCOS have this feature.

PCOS is also strongly associated with insulin resistance, a condition where the body’s cells become less responsive to the hormone insulin. This can lead to elevated insulin levels in the blood, which may further stimulate the ovaries to produce more androgens.

In addition to its reproductive implications, PCOS can also lead to metabolic complications. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. They are also more likely to struggle with weight issues, and in particular, to carry excess weight around the abdomen.

It’s essential to remember that PCOS is a syndrome, meaning it’s a group of symptoms that can vary widely from woman to woman. Some women may have only mild symptoms, while others may experience severe manifestations. Similarly, the best treatment approach can differ from person to person, and it often involves managing individual symptoms and long-term health risks.

Polycystic ovary syndrome. Can pcos supplements for fertility help in this condition?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

NAC: A Versatile Ally in PCOS Management

As mentioned, PCOS is frequently associated with insulin resistance and inflammation, making its management a considerable challenge. This is where NAC steps in.

In the multifaceted world of PCOS, NAC brings a range of potential benefits to the table:

1- NAC and Hormonal Balance

PCOS is essentially a hormonal imbalance, and one of its key characteristics is an excess of androgens (male hormones) in women. These elevated levels can lead to a host of issues like irregular periods, acne, and hirsutism (excessive hair growth).

NAC’s potential role here is crucial. By demonstrating antioxidant activity, it may help reduce the excess levels of these male hormones. A study published in 2011 in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology found that NAC supplementation significantly reduced androgens levels in women with PCOS. By restoring hormonal balance, NAC may help manage the uncomfortable and often distressing symptoms of PCOS.

2- NAC and Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a significant concern for women with PCOS. It’s a condition where the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, leading to higher insulin levels to keep blood sugar under control. This high insulin can, in turn, trigger the ovaries to produce more androgens.

This is where NAC comes in. It’s been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS, according to a study published in 2002 in the Fertility and Sterility Journal. Improved insulin sensitivity could potentially lead to better hormonal balance, easier weight management, and reduced risk of developing diabetes – an additional health risk associated with PCOS.

3- NAC and Ovulation

Ovulation, the release of an egg from an ovary, is a crucial process for fertility. In PCOS, hormonal imbalances often disrupt ovulation, making it irregular or even absent. This lack of regular ovulation can pose significant challenges to women with PCOS who are trying to conceive.

NAC may be beneficial in this aspect of PCOS management. It has been studied for its potential to improve ovulation rates in women with this condition. One clinical trial conducted in 2012 found that NAC supplementation, when given alongside the fertility drug clomiphene citrate, significantly improved ovulation rates in women with PCOS compared to those who received the fertility drug alone.

Another systematic review published in 2015 in the Obstetrics and Gynecology International Journal concluded that NAC showed significant improvement in pregnancy and ovulation rate as compared to placebo.

The proposed mechanism by which NAC may enhance ovulation is its antioxidant effect, which could potentially protect the ovaries from oxidative stress, a damaging process that can interfere with their function, including ovulation. Moreover, by improving insulin sensitivity and helping to restore hormonal balance, NAC may further promote regular ovulation.

4- NAC and Inflammation

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are often present in women with PCOS and can exacerbate hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance.

NAC, with its antioxidant properties, has been shown to help manage inflammation and oxidative stress. By combating these detrimental factors, NAC may improve overall metabolic health, potentially reducing the severity of PCOS symptoms and improving fertility outcomes.

5- NAC and Egg Quality

Egg quality, which refers to the health and viability of a woman’s eggs (or oocytes), is another essential factor for fertility. In PCOS, egg quality can be adversely affected by hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and increased levels of oxidative stress.

Emerging research suggests that NAC may be beneficial in improving egg quality in women with PCOS. While specific studies on NAC and egg quality in PCOS are limited, a clinical trial conducted in 2016 on women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures indicates that NAC supplementation can improve measures of egg quality.

The proposed mechanism involves NAC’s antioxidant properties, which may reduce oxidative stress within the ovarian environment, a factor believed to impact egg quality. By reducing oxidative stress, NAC may protect the developing eggs and enhance their quality.

6- NAC and Endometrial Health

The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus. Its health and thickness are crucial for successful implantation of an embryo, and therefore, for achieving a successful pregnancy.

In women with PCOS, endometrial health can be compromised due to hormonal imbalances, particularly due to excessive estrogen without the counterbalance of progesterone. This imbalance can lead to a condition known as endometrial hyperplasia, which can make the endometrium a less hospitable environment for an embryo.

NAC, as one of the PCOS supplements for fertility, has been suggested to have a beneficial effect on the endometrium. A study found that NAC administration could improve endometrial thickness and potentially enhance pregnancy outcomes . It’s plausible that NAC’s antioxidant properties could contribute to a healthier endometrial environment, although more research is needed in this area specifically related to PCOS.

The Female Reproductive System
The Female Reproductive System

7- NAC and Metabolic Health

PCOS is frequently associated with metabolic issues, including insulin resistance and an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Overweight and obesity are also common among women with PCOS, further complicating the metabolic picture.

NAC could play a role in improving metabolic health in women with PCOS. For one, it has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which means it helps the body’s cells better respond to insulin, thus lowering blood insulin levels. High insulin levels are not only harmful to the body’s overall metabolic health but can also stimulate the ovaries to produce more androgens, exacerbating PCOS symptoms.

In addition, there’s some evidence that NAC could have a beneficial effect on lipid profiles – that is, levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. A study published in 2011 in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology found that NAC supplementation improved lipid profiles in women with PCOS. This could potentially reduce the risk of heart disease, another concern for women with PCOS and metabolic issues.

NAC Dosage and Side Effects

While NAC appears to be a promising supplement for PCOS, it’s crucial to remember that everyone’s body responds differently to supplements. Typically, doses of 600-1,800 mg per day have been used in studies, but the appropriate dosage may vary depending on individual needs. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Although NAC is generally well-tolerated, some people may experience side effects like gastrointestinal issues including nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal discomfort. Always discuss these potential side effects with your healthcare provider.

pcos supplements for fertility
PCOS Supplements for Fertility


In the challenging journey of managing PCOS and enhancing fertility, NAC emerges as a potentially powerful ally. It seems to take a multi-targeted approach, addressing several critical aspects of PCOS — hormonal balance, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and egg quality — all of which can play a role in enhancing fertility.

Remember, while NAC is demonstrating potential as a PCOS fertility supplement, every woman’s body is unique, and responses to supplements can vary. It’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before embarking on a new supplement regimen.

As we continue to understand and unlock the potential of NAC, it’s crucial to remain open to the advancements and findings of scientific research. PCOS can be a daunting condition to navigate, but with knowledge, the right tools, and a healthy dose of determination, it’s a journey that can be embarked on with hope and positivity.


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  • Cheraghi E, Mehranjani MS, Shariatzadeh MA, Esfahani MH, Ebrahimi Z. N-Acetylcysteine improves oocyte and embryo quality in polycystic ovary syndrome patients undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection: an alternative to metformin. Reprod Fertil Dev. 2016 Apr;28(6):723-31.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement or treatment regimen.

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