Top 5 Supplements to Increase your FertilityOct 24, 2022
Finding the right supplements to take can be an absolute minefield. In truth, we’re all looking for that magic pill, right? So, when we hear that Sally down the road took a specific prenatal supplement or miracle vitamin and then got immediately pregnant, we order it in bulk and gag them down.
Then when we don’t get pregnant the next month, we move to the next thing. We buy more and more supplements, and before you know it, you’re taking so many pills, potions and herbs each morning, just the thought makes you gag. Not to mention the amount of money you’re spending (or throwing away).
Hands up if you have a graveyard of supplements you’ve purchased, and tossed aside, and are feeling foolish and disheartened?
I’m the first to admit I am not an expert on nutrition or supplements, however I truly believe that a holistic approach is required when it comes to our fertility and mental well-being. Our bodies, our hormones are highly complex, and they require a multi-faceted approach to get the support they need, to work at optimal capacity.
If you’ve been reading my blog, or following me on Instagram for a while, you’ll know that my passion is in mindset and supporting women through the emotional toll this journey takes on us. But I believe that ensuring our bodies have the right nutrients is also a huge part of the fertility puzzle.
Which is why I’ve partnered with the team at Fertilitae, who provide tools, education and support for patients who want to prepare for pregnancy, are struggling to conceive and preparing to invest in IVF.
Founded by Dr.Ashley Florestal, a licenced Naturopathic Doctor, and supported by a team of qualified Naturopaths, holistic nutritionists and MD’s, Fertilitae provides customized nutritional, lifestyle and supplement protocols, to help women improve their overall well-being, so that they can feel like their best-self again.
Through their App Fertilitae, you’ll find all the tools to take charge of your fertility, including a Fertility Wellness assessment and personalized Fertility Wellness Plan, and a way to track your period, basal body temperature, ovulation test results, and symptoms. It also provides a place to order your fertility products and supplements.
They are the experts on supplements, so here’s what Dr Cassandra Paiano, ND, Bsc. from Fertilitae had to say about the Top 5 supplements for female fertility health. And if you have any questions regarding this information, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Fertilitae.
We are so fortunate to live in a world with unlimited access to vast amounts of information. However, with that comes the risk of misinformation - especially in the realm of fertility wellness. For that reason, we have put together a doctor approved, evidence-based guide of the top five supplements for female fertility!
This one might be a no-brainer - of course a prenatal is important for female fertility; it’s in the name! However, not all prenatals are made equal, and it’s important to be familiar with the key nutrients to look out for when shopping for a prenatal.
- Folate, B9: You may have heard that folate is necessary for the prevention of neural tube defects. However, the current literature suggests folate metabolism is involved in several biological processes necessary for female fertility (hormonal regulation, the ovarian cycle, implantation and fertilization). 5-methylTHF is the active form of folate and has superior absorption to folic acid, especially in those with MTHFR gene variations and impaired folate metabolism. Daily supplementation of 400mcg of 5-methylTHF is recommended to women of child-bearing age for optimal fertility health.
- Choline: Choline is an essential nutrient, important for all stages of fertility, from preconception to birth. It supports cellular division, placental function, neurodevelopment, improves egg quality, and reduces maternal risks in pregnancy and during birth. Doses ranging from 500mg-1000mg per day are thought to be optimal to support fertility health in women of child-bearing age.
- Iron: Iron is an essential nutrient with increased requirements in women of reproductive age due to increased blood loss (from the menstrual cycle). Iron is necessary for all stages of fertility health. It supports blood cell formation during preconception, supports increases in blood volume during pregnancy, supports oxygen and metabolic demands of the fetus, supports metabolic demands of the placenta, and reduces risks associated with iron deficiency and maternal morbidity.
- Calcium: In addition to being the most abundant mineral in the body, calcium supplementation is important in female fertility health by supporting muscle and bone formation, enzymatic and hormonal functions, and reduces the risks of hypertensive disorders (eg. pre-eclampsia) - which can wreak havoc on fertility status and pregnancy.
- Selenium: Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, best known for its role in thyroid hormone synthesis. Supplementation with selenium supports female fertility by boosting thyroid function, antioxidants, and egg quality.
Pro-Tip: Supplementation with a prenatal should begin 3 months prior to conception.
The potent anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids support female fertility status by improving egg quality, development and maturation, reducing oxidative stress, supporting hormone synthesis, implantation rates, and fetal development. They are especially useful in improving fertility outcomes in the presence of metabolic disorders (i.e. obesity, diabetes, inflammation, oxidative stress) and advanced maternal age.
Inositols are involved in glucose metabolism throughout the body, and hormonal regulation of FSH and LH within the ovaries. Impaired glucose metabolism and hyperinsulinemia are important contributing factors of infertility in women with PCOS and anovulation. Supplementation with myo-inositol (4g/day) improves female fertility health by regulating glucose metabolism, therefore promoting menstrual regularity, ovulation, and improved egg quality, which ultimately result in increased pregnancy rates.
Mitochondrial health is one of the most overlooked supplements for female fertility health. Did you know, the oocytes (a.k.a. eggs) have the highest amount of mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA? Thus, any threat to the mitochondria has a significant impact on egg quality, and therefore fertility. Supplementation of CoQ10 at a dose of 100-600mg/day has been associated with improved egg quality and maturation, is preventative against age-related changes to eggs, and improves pregnancy outcomes in those with PCOS, recurrent pregnancy loss, pre-eclampsia, poor ovarian reserve, or advanced maternal age.
Supplementation of vitamin D at an appropriate dose can improve female fertility health through the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune and hormonal regulating mechanisms. Vitamin D also has implications in several reproductive disorders such as PCOS, endometriosis, and uterine leiomyomas (fibroids). The dosages used in the literature vary from 1,000 IU - 50, 000 IU (1-3, 7, 10-15). Excessive and long-term oral doses above the upper limit of 4000 IU can lead to vitamin D toxicity and result in several unwanted adverse effects, affecting several systems (cardiovascular, GI, respiratory, renal, psychiatric, etc.).
Disclaimer: speak with your primary health care provider before making changes, or introducing any new supplements into your health regime.
- Toivonen KI, Lacroix E, Flynn M, Ronksley PE, Oinonen KA, Metcalfe A, Campbell TS. Folic acid supplementation during the preconception period: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Preventive medicine. 2018 Sep 1;114:1-7.
- Wallace TC, Blusztajn JK, Caudill MA, Klatt KC, Natker E, Zeisel SH, Zelman KM. Choline: The underconsumed and underappreciated essential nutrient. Nutrition today. 2018 Nov;53(6):240.
- Georgieff MK. Iron deficiency in pregnancy. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. 2020 Mar 14.
- World Health Organization (WHO). 2020. WHO recommendation on calcium supplementation before pregnancy for the prevention of pre-eclampsia and its complications
- Pieczyńska J, Grajeta H. The role of selenium in human conception and pregnancy. Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology. 2015 Jan 1;29:31-8.
- Zarezadeh R, Mehdizadeh A, Leroy JL, Nouri M, Fayezi S, Darabi M. Action mechanisms of n‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on the oocyte maturation and developmental competence: Potential advantages and disadvantages. Journal of cellular physiology. 2019 Feb;234(2):1016-29.
- Facchinetti F, Unfer V, Dewailly D, Kamenov ZA, Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Laganà AS, Nestler JE, Soulage CO. Inositols in polycystic ovary syndrome: an overview on the advances. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2020 Jun 1;31(6):435-47.
- Özcan P, Fıçıcıoğlu C, Kizilkale O, Yesiladali M, Tok OE, Ozkan F, Esrefoglu M. Can Coenzyme Q10 supplementation protect the ovarian reserve against oxidative damage?. Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics. 2016 Sep;33(9):1223-30.
- Lerchbaum E, Obermayer-Pietsch B. Vitamin D and fertility: a systematic review. Eur J Endocrinol. 2012 May 1;166(5):765-78.
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