Disclaimer: I have zero qualifications on health and wellness, and it is always best to get a trained medical opinion. This is just my story and I highly recommend doing lots of research on your condition and options to solve it. I also cannot advise if this will counteract anything you’re currently taking.
A few months ago, I shared on my Instagram that I was rushed to hospital after battling the painful rupture of an ovarian cyst. It was an excruciating pain like I’ve never felt before and at first I thought it was my appendix, until hospital scans revealed the actual issue.
After posting about my experience, TV presenter and PCOS advocate, Lalla Hirayama reached out to me to ask if I wanted to try the PCOS supplements she co-founded with her highly-accomplished uncle, Dr Russel Cooper. Dr Cooper himself is an integrative doctor, a means of treatment I fully believe in thanks to my amazing integrative doctor, Dr Leila Sadien. With that in mind, naturally, I said yes and she sent me a three month supply.
If you’ve ever been prescribed a single supplement or two for your PCOS, it’s probably been birth control, or something that doesn’t directly support the condition but above all, it’s probably something chemical. I really hate birth control and chemicals, so I was very excited to try these supplements and try and find some balance in my body.
How Life Source was founded:
This is an excerpt from their Instagram account:
“Our co-founder Lalla Hirayama battled with her PCOS symptoms for many years before being diagnosed at 27. Thereafter she saw many doctors who put her on drugs that only worsened her condition. Eventally she decided to take matters into her own hands and try the natural approach.
After consulting with Dr. Russell Cooper ( MBBCh, MSc, FACNEM FAMAC, ABAARM, dipESAAM, dipIEPP, CCT) and taking his carefully prescribed list of amnio acids, vitamins, herbs and minerals combined with consistent light exercise and diet, and learning about what to avoid chemically as well as emotionally, she saw a massive change in just a few short months.
After a year of ‘muting’ her PCOS symptoms and reducing her ovarian cysts from multiple on each ovary to only 3, Lalla decided she had to share this with the PCOS community.
Creating a product incorporating all the ingredients prescribed by Dr Cooper in a convenient pack at a more affordable price than all the ingredients sold separately. “
When you look at it that way, and the fact that there are two bottles in a monthly supplement pack (one is for metabolic balance, the other for hormonal balance) the R799 per pack price tag makes sense, but now, for the verdict: is it worth it and does it work?!
In a nutshell, I say yes. If that’s enough for you, you can purchase it here. Or, keep reading for detailed breakdown of what it did for me.
You can’t take the supplements on your period. A few days after I came out of hospital, my period started soon after, so I had to wait. For the entire two weeks or so (post hospital and during my period), my ovary where I had the rupture had a consistant dull pain; never increasing, but never decreasing either.
When I started the supplements, within the first week I started noticing a difference. My ovary stopped paining completely, I had more energy (probably the Life Source metabolic balance tablets) and it felt like I was always in a good mood (I’m guessing due to the Life Source hormonal balancing tablets). My mental health and being able to cope with my anxiety has been so much better. I also sleep A LOT better these past few months, and while I think that’s mostly owed to all the collagen I’ve been drinking, it could also be a combination of both collagen and Life Source, since I’ve also had lazy phases where I wasn’t drinking my collagen.
The first month really felt fantastic. I continued to experience these wonderful effects, with no negative side effects. After my rupture, I became crippled with fear to work out, so I never went to gym for three months (I only started again now in July). Despite this, and barely watching my diet, I never gained any weight. I didn’t lose any weight either, like some women reportedly do on this supplement, but I didn’t gain, and believe me when I say the way I was living and eating, I should have gained! My mental health should have also taken a dip as it usually does when I eat loads of junk, but it didn’t. By now I know my mental pattern; eat crap, don’t work out, then get heavily anxious and negative about everything and anything. It’s been months since I’ve last had an anxiety attack. Again, I feel like the collagen also has a lot to do with this, since better sleep and a healthier gut usually equals a better me, however, the overall harmony I felt in my body – physically, mentally and emotionally – was on a totally different level to when I was consuming collagen on its own.
Now for the plot twist.
After a month of living in Postive Symptom heaven, my period didn’t show up. I was confused. I am no stranger to amenorrhea (absence of my period), but I expected my new magical pills to build me a new uterus in that month and for everything to be as awesome as my new energy and moods. Now that I read what I just typed, I realise how ridiculous that sounds.
After waiting for about 50 days, I decided to stop taking Life Source. I thought maybe it was throwing my cycle out. Within days of me not taking it, my energy took a dip, my moods felt off. A week later, still no period.
60 days passed and I messaged Lalla in a panic and told her what was happening. She spoke to Dr Cooper about what I was experiencing. He pointed out that the absence of my period could be due to the detox you often experience when taking the supplements. He and Lalla both also pointed out that as a natural supplement, it takes time to settle into the body, and for some women that takes a couple of months. It makes sense, because when you think about it, it’s said that the body takes around three months to adjust to contraceptive pills. He also advised that I should continue taking the supplements even if my period isn’t arriving each month. That did throw me a bit off track because with the hormonal balance, sometimes you’re only meant to take two pills, sometimes you’re meant to take one, and you’re not supposed to take them on your period so I ran out of the hormonal ones a little sooner than I was meant to, while still having quite a few metabolic pills left from that month’s supply. This is of course unusual and due to the amenorrhea.
On that note, I later also remembered, in February last year, when I went on pilgrimage, I took a really strong tablet to stop my period for that first week. I knew I was playing with fire, but I couldn’t afford to be barefoot on Mecca’s cold marble floors while bleeding. That experience was something entirely crazy story on its own and I don’t recommend it to anyone, but one of the frequently-reported side effects is women saying their periods are messed up for one to two years. YEARS! Last year, I skipped four consecutive periods as a result of those pills, which was only fixed with accupressure (yet another crazy story all together) that brought my period back for a little while. The taking of this period-stopping pill may also explain or have contributed to my more recent amenorrhea.
Funny enough, the same evening of this conversation with Lalla and Dr Cooper’s advice, my period finally arrived. That meant I had to wait out my period before going on to the third month of my supplement supply.
What My Period Was Like:
In many ways it was the same; painful cramps, sore boobs and heavy bleeding. BUT, I’d say the bleeding was around 20% lighter than usual and it was noticeable that I was using fewer sanitary products, and for the absolute BEST result of it all: my period was TWO DAYS SHORTER! WHAT!?! Usually it lasts 10 or 11 days, and this time around, it was about 8/8.5 days long only. I couldn’t believe it.
Another factor that pleasantly surprised me; I have three thick hairs on my face that first sprouted about two years ago. Two on my chin, one on my jaw; a dead giveaway of PCOS. Month after month I pull them out, and of course they grow back faster and still thick. Except this time, the two on my chin haven’t grown back and the one on my jaw is very light and barely there. I’m guessing I can only credit this to these supplements!
So Am I going to keep buying Life Source?
I can whole-heartedly say yes. It’s been about three months now, and I feel so good all round. I’m interested to see if my period continues to improve over time. I haven’t even been trying as much as I should be in the healthy eating and exercise department, so I can only imagine the results I’ll see if I actually make more effort with that too. I have to mention that I haven’t been for another ultrasound yet to confirm the state of my ovaries. For now, I’m taking baby steps to get back into a healthier lifestyle change, and continuing with Life Source before going back to the gynae for a check-up, and hopefully, I’ll be back here in a few months with more positive feedback!
If you’d like to know more about what Dr Cooper and Lalla have to say about PCOS, watch this video from their feature on Afternoon Express.
You can also shop your own supply of Life Source supplements here.