IVF Babble

Supplements and female fertility

By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)

We are all biochemically different and in terms of nutrition we call this biochemical individuality, in other words, one size does not fit all

As a general rule, many people are nutrient depleted in some way – but it is only by working with the individual and by undertaking certain tests such as vitamin and mineral profile tests /hair mineral analysis or individual nutrient tests, that we would know for sure the requirements for a particular individual (personalised nutrition).

Supplements should not be taken in the place of a balanced diet, however, some may be required if there is a deficiency in a particular nutrient

A good quality multi vitamin and mineral for women is often a good idea for health and fertility and to cover the basics, but it is important to be cautious as taking too much of certain nutrients may be harmful and be contraindicated with certain medications (always check with your G.P, Qualified Nutritional Therapist or Dietician to see what is suitable for you and your individual needs).

It is a good idea to prepare your body and get it into the best place possible nutrition wise, ideally six months before conception or three months at the very least. This is because it takes around three months for egg cells to mature in a process called Oogenesis and so it is important to make sure it as healthy as it possibly to give the best possible chance of fertilisation. Clearly both the health of the male and female are equally important for a pregnancy to occur but this article focuses on female fertility.

A healthy balance of female hormones, especially oestrogen and progesterone, is required in the production of a normal egg. A variety of factors can cause hormonal control to be disrupted, and these should be considered and managed as needed. Examples of some of these factors include: poor gut and liver function, age, weight, low thyroid function, stress, poor sleep patterns, environmental toxins, smoking and drinking alcohol.

So which supplements are considered beneficial when it comes to female fertility? (always check with your healthcare provider before taking)

Certain vitamins and minerals have been shown in studies to improve your chances of becoming pregnant and staying pregnant. It is critical that both you and your partner are in good health in order to increase your chances of conceiving. You can greatly improve your chances of getting pregnant by removing nutritional deficiencies- it is important to check this out with your GP or qualified Nutritional Therapist.

There are certain key nutrients which are important when it comes to female fertility including: Folic acid (as Methylfolate 400mcg/day), Essential Fatty acids, Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, Selenium, Zinc, Iron, CO Q10.

Certain supplements are necessary because even the best diet in the world may not contain all of the nutrients you need to give you the best chance of conceiving. A good starting point would be to consider taking :

  • A good quality multi vitamin (containing 400mcg of Methylfolate)
  • A good quality fish oil (the amount of EPA and DHA are important)
  • A probiotic supplement

Additional ‘top up’s’ may be required subject to nutritional testing if there is a deficiency of a particular nutrient. If you are taking medication or are unsure -always check with your G.P/fertility clinic or Qualified Nutritional Therapist/Dietician.

How long will it take before my body starts to feel the difference?

Again – it depends on the individual, their diet and lifestyle, the nutrient, how deficient the person was to start with, the reason as to why the individual was low in a particular nutrient in the first place  and so on. The time it takes for the intake of vitamins to work can be within hours or weeks, depending how deficient an individual is in that particular nutrient. For example, if you are dehydrated, then an electrolyte supplement will work within minutes. However, if you have bone density issues, calcium will take 6 weeks to make a difference, and calcium needs a lot of other things for your body to truly absorb and reap the benefits.

In order, these are supplements that are most easily absorbed by the body:

  • Liquids and Oral sprays
  • Powders
  • Tablets

If you would like to book a comprehensive fertility Nutritional Therapy Consultation with Sue – please visit our shop page

If you would like to have a browse through our supplements section within the IVF babble shop, click here

Can a supplement(s) improve male fertility?

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