There is a ton of mixed and confusing information out there regarding supplements. Some have shown to improve fertility outcomes while others have shown to be useless or even harmful.
My view is that vitamins and supplements won’t be the thing that get you pregnant but if you have a vitamin deficiency then it’s a good idea to supplement those. For example, Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Folate and Vitamin D are important when you’re trying to conceive.
A good pre-natal vitamin is very important. This should be taken regardless of deficiencies. The following are a few of the popular options being taken during IVF cycles and people trying to conceive naturally. Food is medicine, so eat properly and you will absorb many of these nutrients naturally. If your practitioner recommends high doses of these vitamins then you will need to take a supplement in addition.
Vitamin E has been shown to have antioxidant effects on sperm and eggs. It is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, spinach, squash, kiwi, broccoli, trout, olive oil and prawns.
Vitamin C is said to improve sperm concentration and motility. It is found in cherries, rosehips, chillies, guavas, capsicum, blackcurrants, parsley, thyme, kale, kiwi, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, lemons, papayas, strawberries, oranges and lychees.
COQ10 does show some positive effect on the ovarian response to stimulating drugs during IVF. It’s also good for generating energy in cells (sperm and eggs). COQ10 is very helpful for overall circulation which may be of benefit when trying to become pregnant. COQ10 can be found in organ meats, beef, pork, chicken, fatty fish, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, soybeans, lentils and peanuts.
Vitamin D is important for the immune system when trying to conceive. It can be found in spinach, kale, soybeans, white beans, salmon, sardines, egg yolks, cheese and fortified dairy and cereals.
Iron is said to improve the number of red blood cells that deliver oxygen to all the body’s tissue and organs, including the ovaries and uterus. It is particularly important during pregnancy. However, there is no need to supplement unless you have an iron deficiency. Iron can be found in green vegetables, lentils and beans, nuts and seeds, grains, brown rice, whole wheat, shellfish, liver and organic meats, red meat, tofu, dark chocolate, chicken, mussels and quinoa.
As you can see, there are delicious ways to supplement the body naturally. Vitamins and minerals are important, of course, but get as much as you can from foods.
Dr Julie Vecera is one of Australia’s leading practitioners in women’s health and fertility and has presented widely on the topic of fertility acupuncture and women’s health over the past decade. Julie is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and certified Nutritionist. She is the founder of The Fertility Pod and the Fertility Lifestyle Program which is the result of years of helping couples with infertility issues.