Your body needs the best nutrition possible when trying to conceive. And although you should always strive to have a healthy diet, sometimes our bodies need a little extra help from vitamins.
Vitamins bridge the gap between what your body needs and what it gets from your diet, and some of the vitamins we talk about here are crucial when you’re trying to conceive.
Prenatal vitamins are essential both when you’re trying to conceive and for the duration of your pregnancy. They contain a variety of vitamins, including A, B, C, and E along with zinc, iron and folic acid. Folic acid and iron are particularly important for pregnancy.
Folic acid helps keep your baby from developing neural tube defects. Because our bodies need more folic acid than usual during pregnancy, it’s common not to get enough through diet alone.
Iron is similarly vital for a healthy pregnancy and baby. It helps the placenta properly grow and plays an important role in making healthy blood. That, in turn, helps your baby have enough oxygen and red blood cells, which are necessary to prevent anemia.
Some vitamins can be harmful if taken in large amounts, so always talk to your doctor about which vitamins are right for you.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are among the best vitamins to help with fertility because they provide the healthy fats needed to support your baby’s growing brain. These are also the types of healthy fats found in foods like salmon, flax seeds and avocados.
If your diet already includes plenty of foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, you may not need a supplement. If you’re lacking, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor about whether you need an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
Calcium plays a role in helping your baby’s bones develop properly, and is also important for many other bodily functions, including nerve conduction and hormonal balance. And because so many fertility issues, like PCOS, are linked to hormone imbalances, calcium is often an essential vitamin to help with fertility.
Some research also suggests that male fertility may be impacted by low calcium levels, particularly when it comes to sperm motility. Talk to your doctor about whether you should take a calcium supplement to help boost your fertility.
B vitamins play important roles in your body’s nerve cell function and blood development, and some seem to have a direct impact on fertility.
For instance, research has found that women with high levels of the amino acid homocysteine in their follicles are more likely to have problems with ovulation and unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss. However, one study showed that after taking a B6 supplement, women who had previously experienced pregnancy loss had lower levels of homocysteine. Additionally, women who have higher levels of B6 in their blood are more likely to be fertile.
As previously mentioned, folic acid (also called folate) or vitamin B9, is typically taken to prevent problems with brain development. Women are also more likely to have proper progesterone levels and regular ovulation if they get adequate folate in their diet or through B9 supplements. Similarly, men with low levels of folate in their diet are more likely to have damaged sperm and should consider a B9 supplement.
Although our bodies make vitamin D from sunlight, it’s very common to be deficient in vitamin D, particularly if you live in northern latitudes. And while fortified foods like milk and cereal help, they may not be enough to get your levels back to normal, particularly when trying to meet the needs of pregnancy. And that’s important because vitamin D deficiency is linked to fertility problems.
Women who have low levels of vitamin D are at increased risk of having problems with ovulation and developing endometriosis, both of which can impact fertility. And among couples attempting in vitro fertilization (IVF), those with higher levels of vitamin D also had higher success rates.
Vitamins C & E
Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants that help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals and that makes them some of the best vitamins to help with fertility. Both eggs and sperm can be damaged by free radicals, so getting plenty of antioxidants through your diet or vitamins is a good idea.
Both vitamins C and E have been shown to help with fertility problems, with vitamin C linked with better sperm health and, in one study, vitamin E combined with selenium linked to better IVF results.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another antioxidant associated with a host of fertility benefits, including increased numbers of follicles, improved ovulation and better egg quality. CoQ10 has also been linked to improved IVF results, including fertilization rates, egg maturation and overall healthier embryos.
Additionally, CoQ10 may help sperm health by blocking damage from free radicals. Since CoQ10 provides so many benefits to both men and women, it’s wise to discuss this supplement with your doctor.
At RISE, we adopt a personalized approach that includes specific nutritional advice to give you the best chance of a healthy pregnancy. Schedule a consult today and we’ll discuss the best vitamins to help with fertility as part of your comprehensive care.
A concierge fertility practice, RISE Fertility has created the time and space
for elevated engagement between you and your physician. The high
touch nature of our practice feels both exclusive and familiar.