Conception involves both the male and female partners equally. This is why it is so important that both you and your partner are at optimal health in the lead up to conception, to ensure you are producing healthy sperm and eggs to give your child the best possible start in life. In this blog we are going to talk about how to increase fertility with supplements
Unfortunately, research has shown that the majority of Australians don’t receive the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for many important nutrients. An RDI is the minimum level needed to prevent deficiency; however often the amounts needed for our bodies to function optimally is actually much higher. While many of your nutritional requirements can be maintained by consuming a healthy diet, you can enhance your health and nutritional status with supplementation to reach your healthiest preconception and pregnancy state using nutritional supplementation. Many have been clinically proven to reduce the risk birth defects, miscarriages, learning difficulties, allergies and asthma while also improving the rates of conception and reducing infertility. Below lists some of the most important nutrients needs to help you get FERTILITY FIT. This list is not comprehensive but is a good starting point for those wanting to conceive.
- Folic acid- Well researched in its effect of preventing spina bifida, folic acid is particularly important in the preconception period and first trimester. It is most important in weeks 4-6 of pregnancy, often when you don’t yet know you are pregnant yet. It also is necessary for healthy eggs, health implantation, development of the placenta and foetal development.
- Vitamin B12- Reduces the risk of chromosomal defects in the embryo, prevents neural tube defects, spina bifida and reduces the risk of miscarriage.
- Vitamin B6- Is needed for balanced hormone levels, particularly for increasing progesterone which prevents miscarriage.
- Vitamin E- Studies have shown an increased rate of conception and a reduction in infertility in women taking vitamin E supplementation. It is particularly important during IVF and in older women to maintain egg health.
- Vitamin C- Aids a healthy ovulation
- Iron- Deficiency is common in pregnancy and it is important to get your iron levels check at each trimester. Supplements may be needed if deficient.
- Zinc- Supplementation of zinc reduces the risk of miscarriage, improve egg quality and aids a healthy ovulation. All hormones in the body need zinc to be made. The pill can reduce zinc levels, so women who have a history of pill use may need a higher intake.
- Essential fatty acids- Are essential for prostaglandin production and hormone production. They reduce the risk of clotting issues and miscarriage and ensure you have a healthy endometrial lining for an embryo to impant. A lack of ‘good fats’ has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight babies.
- Iodine- A high proportion of Australians are iodine deficient- in fact, one study found 50% of Australian pregnant and breastfeeding women to be deficient. It is most critical in the first trimester for the early development of the central nervous system. A deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to a lower IQ later in life.
- CoEnzyme Q10- Aids energy production and therefore aids cellular turnover in the developing baby. It is very useful for improving egg quality.
- Zinc- Zinc is considered the most important nutrient for males. It is essential for the healthy development of sperm and is found in high concentrations in semen- in fact men lose about 3-5 mgs of zinc per ejaculate. Low zinc is associated with low testosterone and poor sperm parameter (poor motility, count and morphology).
- Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, lycopene, selenium + CoQ10 – All prevent and reverse oxidative damage to sperm, improve sperm motility and quality, increase sperm count and reduce DNA fragmentation. These should be staples in all men wanting to conceive.
- Essential fatty acids- Low levels are associated with infertility, sperm damage and abnormal sperm levels. Healthy fats are essential for keeping the sperm membranes healthy and reducing the risk of damage.
- Vitamin D- Deficiency can lead to a low sperm count
- Folic acid- Deficiency is associated with DNA damage and genetically abnormal sperm
- B12- Can improve sperm morphology, motility and count
- Carnitine- Supplementation can significantly improve sperm count