Is zinc deficiency a problem in women with PCOS?

Zinc deficiency in PCOS

Several research studies over the years have suggested a link between PCOS and low zinc levels. This most recent review confirms that people with PCOS have significantly lower levels of zinc than those who do not have PCOS. Why should we care about this nutrient and how might it affect someone with PCOS?

Zinc is a key nutrient in immune function, wound healing, and cellular repair. It is vital for the production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which drives ovulation as well as progesterone which spikes after ovulation and is often deficient in women with PCOS. 

Interestingly, zinc is also known as a key nutrient for thyroid function. A deficiency prevents proper formation of TSH and conversion of T4 into active T3 hormone.  Zinc deficiency has also been associated with alopecia or hair loss.

As a nutrient, zinc is not stored in the body and needs to be taken in via food on a daily basis. Good sources of zinc include chicken, oysters, beef, liver, lobster, eggs, legumes and nuts. 

Zinc can be safely supplemented at a level of 15-30mg daily. Certain types of zinc can cause nausea when taken on an empty stomach so I recommend taking with a meal. Make sure to take zinc and other minerals away from thyroid medication, as it can interfere with absorption.