Natural Alternative to Metformin Therapy related to PCOS


The Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association released an article a few days ago describing a natural alternative to Metformin therapy, NCA, short for N-Acetyl-Cysteine. that many PCOS women are not familiar with.  Taking N-Acetyl-Cysteine may be a better alternative than Metformin due to its natural form and lack of severe side effects often associated with Metformin.  Below is the article from the PCOS Association and some links to help you in your research.

PCOSupport Organization

Here is this week’s Health Byte from the PCOSA. 

A Natural Alternative to Metformin


Doctors often prescribe metformin (glucophage) as a way to reduce the symptoms of PCOS, even though the drug is not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating polycystic ovarian syndrome.


In fact, many women using metformin experience adverse side effects. These can range from a general malaise (not feeling well), to disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract and vitamin B12 deficiency. If you’re one of these women, it may be time to switch to a natural supplement called NAC.


According to new research, it appears that NAC (n-acetyl-cysteine) is a healthy alternative which doesn’t have metformin’s side effects. NAC is a nutritional supplement derived from the amino acid cysteine. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein.


Researchers at Erclyes University in Turkey studied 100 women with PCOS for six months. One group took 500 mg. of metformin 3 times a day. The other group took 600 mg of NAC 3 times a day.


As metformin is a drug and NAC is a nutritional supplement, you might think the former would produce better results. But you’d be wrong.


There was virtually no difference between metformin and NAC on the women’s condition. Both groups of women showed improvement in such areas as testosterone reduction, insulin normalization, lessening of body hair (hirsutism) and menstrual regularity.


In addition, both metformin and NAC lowered total cholesterol but NAC was better than metformin in lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol. The researchers concluded: “Metformin and NAC appear to have comparable effects on hyperandrogenism (excessive production of androgens), hyperinsulinemia (excessive levels of insulin) and menstrual irregularity in women with PCOS.”


And that’s not all. Other medical research has shown that NAC is effective in additional areas that benefit women with PCOS, such as:

  • Reduced insulin resistance
  • Improved probability of ovulation
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved detoxification
  • Reduced consequences of NASH (non-alcoholic liver disease)
  • Reduced pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia Reduced “advanced glycation products” (AGEs)


Oner G et al, Clinical, endocrine and metabolic effects of metformin vs N-acetyl-cysteine in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2011 Aug 8.
Christine DeZarn
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association, Inc. (PCOSA) 
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About thepcosandinfertilityjourney

For almost two years I have felt so down and alone trying to maintain a normal and happy life since I realized that my husband and I would struggle to create a family. I began to second guess everything in my life, have I done the right things, made the right choices, is it my job, is it where I live, what is it and what can I do to make it better? Then, one night while laying in bed it hit me, and the words just started flowing. I have always loved writing and when I was little always wanted to be an author but never had the inspiration of something to write about; now I do. I am going to share my story, my struggles, my hopes, my fears, my triumphs in the hope that it will help someone else going through the same rollercoaster that I am the way many books, blogs, and chats have helped me cope. I will share with you how I am determined to make sure that one of my life’s dreams are not shot down and the obstacles I go through to get there.

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