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Supplements to Boost Fertility

fertility supplements

 

I am a firm believer that supplements are to be added to a healthy diet – or at least one that you are working to improve!  While you cannot out-supplement a poor diet, supplements can help boost your fertility. Women and men who are nourished have a greater chance of natural conception and less likely to have pregnancy complications. If you’re interested in learning more about an optimal fertility diet and how different nutrients affect fertility, check out my previous blog post.

In this post I am going to share some common supplements that can help boost fertility, but keep in mind that if you are struggling with nutrient deficiencies or other health conditions, your needs may be a bit different. I love micronutrient testing for fertility, because we can specifically address, through foods and supplements, what YOUR body needs! Adequate antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals are HUGE for the health of the egg and the sperm!

 

1. Omega Fatty Acids

Omega fatty acids can be found in fatty fish such as wild caught salmon or trout as well as some plant foods such as flax seeds, chia seeds, raw walnuts, grass fed meats, and evening primrose oil. Omega oil (3, 6 & 9) play a crucial role in brain function, normal growth and development, balancing blood sugars, and decreasing inflammation. They also balance prostaglandins which are hormone like substances that play a role in regulating menstruation and ovulation (among other things).

Omega 3 fatty acids are especially important for conception as they improve your ovarian reserve and play a role in the formation and development of the egg. DHA & EPA are two of the omega 3 fatty acids that have been well studied. DHA is especially important for the development of baby’s brain and neurological system so you want to be sure you are getting plenty before you conceive. EPA is also beneficial in preventing depression (before and after baby).

Another omega oil is evening primrose oil. This can especially be helpful for producing more cervical mucous which can increase your chances of getting pregnant.

I recommend including both plant and animal based forms of omegas in your diet on a regular basis as well as supplementing with a good quality fish oil that has combined DHA & EPA.

 

2. Folate

Folate is found in dark leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, oranges, lentils, nutritional yeast, animal liver and many other foods. It is a vital nutrient during pregnancy due to its role in cellular growth. Folate absorption is decreased when you are on the pill, so it is especially important to replenish folate in the body before conception.  Adequate levels of folate help prevent nervous system defects, improve egg quality, and helps prevent depression, miscarriage, and other pregnancy complications.

Some people have trouble using folate if they have a MTHFR gene mutation. To assist your body, you can take a methylated form of folate. B vitamins work well together, so taking methylfolate in a b complex supplement or a prenatal is your best bet. 400 to 800 mcg methylfolate daily is recommend for fertility and pregnancy.

 

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is produced by your body from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to the sun for adequate amounts of time. It is found in a few foods: fatty fish, egg yolks, and fish liver oil (ex: cod liver oil). Adequate vitamin D is associated with improved fertility as it plays a role in sex hormone production and healthy follicle formation. Hormone balance is huge for fertility. Vitamin D can also reduce insulin resistance (PCOS) and can improve fibroids and endometriosis.

Since vitamin D deficiency is somewhat common, it is best to have your levels tested and supplement appropriately. For many women, around 2000IU/day will be adequate, but if you are deficient you will need more to boost your levels. Ideally vitamin D levels would be around 50 ng/ml.

 

4. Magnesium

Magnesium is found in dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, avocados, nuts such as almonds and cashews, lentils, beans, bananas, and some fatty fish. Magnesium is an important mineral that is involved in 300+ different reactions in the body. It is a mineral that is also commonly deficient among Americans. Magnesium is important in many reproductive processes as well as your immune function, heart health, and stress response (which can be especially high when trying to get pregnant).  Magnesium is best absorbed in a chelated form or a form such as magnesium glycinate or malate.

 

5. Vitamin B6

B6, like many B vitamins may be deficient if you were previously on a hormonal contraceptive. B6 is high in meats, avocados, chickpeas, potatoes, bananas etc. It is especially important if you suspect low progesterone. B6 helps boost progesterone production and a healthy uterine lining both of which are imperative for pregnancy to occur. One of the best forms of B6 is pyridoxal-5-phosphate.

Adequate levels of B6 may also help prevent morning sickness. A good quality prenatal supplement of B complex will provide adequate B6.

 

6. Prenatal Vitamin

Several of the nutrients mentioned above can be found in a good quality prenatal supplement. A few other nutrients that are important and should be included in a prenatal are:

  • Iodine: critical to healthy menstrual cycles, thyroid health, and miscarriage prevention. Food sources are mainly seafood, sea vegetables like kelp or kelp sprinkles, and iodized salt. A prenatal should have about 200-250mcg of iodine.
  • Zinc: supports healthy estrogen and progesterone levels (as well as healthy testosterone in men). Zinc is important for proper immune function, protecting the eggs against DNA damage, proper brain development for the baby, and for ovulation. Zinc is found in seafood, oysters, beef, lamb, and pumpkin seeds. ~ 20-50mg/day is needed.
  • Choline: may prevent birth defects, protect from anxiety, and is needed for baby’s neurological development and brain function. Eggs are the main source from the diet. At least 100mg/day.

 

Other supplements to consider:

  • Probiotics – good for a healthy gut, vaginal microbiome, immune function, inflammation and more
  • Antioxidant boosters such as NAC for glutathione production, Co-Q10 for mitochondrial support, and vitamins C or E
  • Herbs such as vitex berry, maca root, ashwaghanda…
  • Teas such as red clover, nettles, red raspberry leaf

 

For boosting male fertility, check out this post.

For improving egg health, check out this post.

 

If you want to support your fertility journey naturally and need help, contact me for a free consult!

 

 

 

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