One of the questions I get asked the most about the fertility diet is: “what supplements should I take? “. In truth, the jury is still out on the effects of vitamins and other OTC products on fertility but certain supplements have been shown to have a positive impact on fertility in studies.
While I was going through fertility treatments, I tried a myriad of different supplements to try and boost my chances, some based on my own research and others recommended by my doctor. I also had my husband taking a few extra things to boost things on his end.
One supplement that every woman who is trying to conceive should take is a good prenatal vitamin. It will provide you with the recommended amounts of iron and folic acid as well as other vitamins that are essential for pregnancy.
Look for one with DHA such as Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA
While nothing will substitute a healthy, balanced diet, supplements may give your body the boost it needs. I recommend consulting your doctor or naturopath before starting any of these supplements.
Below you will find the supplements I tried plus supporting studies and information on the benefits on fertility.
The Best Supplements to Boost Fertility
Co-enzyme Q10 has been proven by numerous studies to have a positive impact on egg quality. Natural levels of Co- Q10 decrease as we get older so supplementation can help with cell renewal. Both my family doctor and RE recommended it to improve my egg quality. It’s also suggested that the Ubiquinone Co-Q10 is easier to absorb than the regular kind (look for it on the bottle).
Recommended Dose: 600mg a day
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for everyone and there has been quite a lot of research that shows it supplementation can help prevent cancer and other illnesses such as MS.
This article by USC Fertility in Los Angeles has many references regarding the impact of Vitamin D on fertility and notes: “A recent study found that women with higher vitamin D levels were significantly more likely to achieve pregnancy from IVF compared to women with lower levels of vitamin D. “
The recommended dose is 1-2,000 IU per day. More than 50,000 per day can be toxic.
This is an antioxidant that protects the reproductive system from free radicals. It also can support thyroid function and immunity. It is thought to have a positive effect on male fertility too. You can find a list of selenium-rich foods and more information about the health benefits at the NIH website.
Recommended Dose – 200mcg a day
According to a study from Northwestern University, eggs need zinc in order to develop properly and be ready for fertilization. Without sufficient levels of zinc, eggs seem to pause at a certain stage in their development and did not continue to prepare for maturation.
Zinc is also thought to be a key factor in male fertility and sperm development.
Recommended Dose: 15-30mg a day.
Last fall, Time Magazine published a study showing that mice with higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids had more available eggs than mice with a deficiency. While not yet confirmed for human fertility, Omega 3s are an essential component of a healthy diet and may well be a good supplement to improve fertility.
Recommended Dose: 2000-3000 per day. Do not take flaxseed oil (flax on cereal etc is ok).
Every woman who is trying to conceive should take folic acid to protect their future unborn baby. While folic acid doesn’t affect fertility per se, it is an essential addition to your TTC supplements.
Recommended Dose: 600-800mcgs a day
This supplement helps thicken the uterine lining and improve the chances of implantation. It’s also been thought to increase male sperm count.
It should be noted that although studies have shown L-arginine to improve the success rates of poor responders in IVF cycles, it seems to have the opposite effect on normal responders. You can read more here.
Recommended Dose: Consult a doctor before using.
According to research from Harvard, iron deficiency can affect fertility due to ovarian failure. The good news is that most prenatal vitamins contain the recommended daily dose of iron so there is not usually a need to supplement unless advised by your doctor.
Recommended Dose: 0.4mg
Wheat grass is a super food that has a ton of health benefits. Farmers actually feed wheatgrass to sterile cows to reignite their sex hormones and restart their fertility. You can do shots of fresh wheat grass or add the Powder to a smoothie.
If you are not a fan of the taste, you can also get organic wheat grass capsules that do the trick too.
Royal Jelly is the fertility nectar of the Queen Bee. It has a long history as a supplement for fertility and, although there is not much scientific evidence, it is definitely worth a try if you are interested. You can also use a supplement like Dr. Danielle’s Bee Well that contains bee pollen and propolis as well as royal jelly.
Do not take royal jelly if you have asthma or a bee allergy.
Maca root is an ancient Peruvian plant that has been used for years to promote fertility. My RE originally suggested it to my husband as it is supposed to be amazing for male fertility. According to this article from the NIH, “Clinical trials showed efficacy of maca on sexual dysfunctions as well as increasing sperm count and motility. ”
My husband put the powder in his protein shakes every morning. I couldn’t stomach the taste so took the capsules instead.
Myo-inositol is is a naturally occurring substance belonging to the B complex family of vitamins. By acting as an insulin-sensitizing agent, myo-inositol supports proper hormone balance, ovarian function, egg quality and menstrual cycle regularity. It is normally recommended for women with PCOS.
What about supplement packages?
One of the larger fertility companies, Fairhaven Health offers fertility combinations that can give you a lot of benefits in one pill. I did not try any of these myself but have heard great things!
Here are some of the most popular:
The number 1 selling fertility supplement in the US, FertilAid has a combination of vitamins, minerals antioxidants as well as herbs such as chasteberry (vitex), red clover blossom and ginkgo biloba. It claims to rebalance hormone levels to increase fertility with no impact on the chance of multiples.
There is also a male version, FertilAid for Men.
Learn more about Fertilaid here.
OvaBoost contains a combination of vitamins and antioxidants including myoinositol, folate, melatonin, coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, grape seed extract and alpha-lipoic acid, which have been scientifically demonstrated to help improve egg health and optimize ovarian function. You can read more details here.
A note about pricing
When researching this post, I noticed that most of the supplements are available in drugstores and Amazon. Some of the more fertility specific ones that are not in drugstores are also available directly on the manufacturer’s own website. I noticed that Fairhaven’s website – fairhaven.com had cheaper prices than Amazon plus free shipping, especially for the supplement combos so it is definitely worth shopping around as these vitamins aren’t cheap.
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