7 Fertility Boosting Vitamins & Nutrients
Once a woman gets pregnant, she may begin altering her diet in hopes of having a healthier baby. However, as soon as you make the decision to start trying, you and your partner should be ensuring your diets are as healthy as possible. Fertility boosting vitamins are one way to ensure that you get your daily intake.
Everyone knows that your diet can make or break your health, and that’s especially true before pregnancy. While it’s great to cut out the fast food and limit your sugar intake, eating optimally to conceive is a little more complicated. You’ll have to educate yourself on the best vitamins and minerals for pregnancy and plan how you’re going to get your daily intake.
Remember that your partner is the other half of the equation, so he isn’t off the hook! Each one of the nutrients that can help your fertility will also help his fertility.
Here are 7 vitamins and nutrients you should eat to help you conceive quicker and have a healthier baby.
Beta-Carotene and Fertility
Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body and is an orangish pigment found in some fruits and vegetables. It is also an antioxidant, which means it helps prevent cell damage, cancer and heart disease. In terms of fertility, this phytonutrient will help you balance your hormones.
Once you get pregnant, you will need more vitamin A because it will help fetal growth. It’s estimated that 9.8 million pregnant women across the world are suffering from xerophthalmia (night blindness) because of vitamin A deficiency, according to the World Health Organization.
Since a lack of vitamin A can also affect sperm motility, your partner should be sure to get his daily intake. About 15% of Americans are vitamin A deficient.
Since vitamin A can be toxic at high doses, you should only take the amount recommended by your doctor. While it’s generally considered safe to get beta-carotene through fruits and vegetables, you will need to be more cautious when getting it through supplements.
You can consume beta-carotene by eating carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and cantaloupe.
Vitamin B6 and Fertility
Vitamin B6 is especially important for conceiving. Without enough B6, your menstrual cycle can be irregular, which can make it difficult to predict your fertility window and get pregnant.
In the luteal phase of your cycle, your body is preparing to accept an embryo. If your luteal phase is too short, it could cause an early miscarriage. Getting your daily amount of B6 is likely to prevent this problem.
B6 deficiency can also cause hormonal imbalances and can affect egg development. The vitamin is important for your partner too — a deficiency could cause a lower sperm count.
You should continue getting your daily intake of B6 into your pregnancy. The vitamin contributes to a healthy pregnancy and mucous membranes and can also help alleviate morning sickness in your first trimester.
Vitamin B6 can be found in avocados, eggs, spinach and legumes. It can be difficult to get your daily amount of B6 through foods alone, so taking a supplement may be beneficial.
Vitamin C and Fertility
If you’re having a difficult time getting pregnant, make sure that you’re getting your daily dose of vitamin C. Unlike some other vitamins, it can be pretty easy to get your daily value of vitamin C — unless you don’t like fruits and vegetables.
As with vitamin B6, vitamin C can also help women with luteal phase defect. In a 2003 study of 150 women, half were given 750 mg of vitamin C per day and the other half received none at all. The group with the treatment had increased progesterone levels and 25% got pregnant within six months. That is compared to only 11% of women who got pregnant with no treatment.
It’s important for your partner to get vitamin C too. A 2006 study concluded that the vitamin could help improve sperm count and motility in infertile men.
You can get your intake of vitamin C by consuming oranges, red bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, pineapple and more. If you’re worried about getting your daily intake, you can always purchase a supplement.
Vitamin D and Fertility
Vitamin D is another basic but crucial vitamin you need in your diet if you want to get pregnant. Research has found that women who are vitamin D deficient are less likely to conceive. Researchers also believe that the vitamin is linked to the quality of the eggs in the ovaries.
A 2012 study found that vitamin D may help balance hormone levels and regulate menstrual cycles, which can increase your chances of conceiving. The vitamin also improves male fertility. It can help maintain sperm count and quality and can even boost testosterone (good for baby making!).
The best way to get your vitamin D is from sunlight. However, if you are sensitive to the sun or live in a cold climate, you need some alternative options. Of course, the easiest way is to take a supplement, but you can also eat fatty fish, such as trout or salmon. Several other foods have smaller doses of vitamin D.
Vitamin E and Fertility
Firstly, vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it will help prevent various health issues and improve your immune system. But it also plays an important role in both female and male fertility. A 2012 study concluded that vitamin E might improve the endometrial (mucous membrane that lines the uterus) response in infertile women.
The majority of the research on vitamin E and fertility has been on males. Vitamin E can improve sperm quality and mobility and may reduce sperm defects. The vitamin could also increase testosterone and boost libido — so make sure he gets his daily dose before baby making night!
You can get vitamin E by eating spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, fish, pumpkin and more.
Iron and Fertility
Getting your iron every day is important if you’re trying to conceive. According to a study by researchers at Harvard, women who took iron supplements were 40% less likely to have infertility problems caused by ovarian failure. Researchers concluded that iron supplements and non-heme iron from different sources could decrease a woman’s risk of ovulatory infertility (infertility caused by infrequent or no ovulation). Ovulation disorders are the reason for infertility in 25% of infertile couples.
Low iron can also make you and your partner tired, which can discourage you from making a baby.
If you don’t get enough iron, you could become anemic, which could make conceiving even more difficult. A small Indian study concluded that anemia could be a cause of infertility. Four out of five women treated for anemia were able to conceive within the months after treatment.
If you are having trouble conceiving and you have these symptoms of anemia or low iron, you should have it checked out by your doctor.
Signs of anemia include:
- Constant headaches
- Decreased appetite
- Weak nails
You can increase your iron intake by consuming poultry, red meat, leafy green vegetables, beans and more. It may be easier to take a supplement; however, common side effects of iron supplements include upset stomach and constipation. To prevent these side effects, you can purchase a more expensive supplement that’s designed to be easy on the stomach. It may also be easier to digest if you open the capsule or blend the tablet into a smoothie.
It will be easier for your body to absorb iron if you take it with a dose of vitamin C, such as a glass of orange juice.
Folic Acid and Fertility
When you think of a pregnancy supplement, folic acid is probably the first one to come to mind — and for a good reason. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, which is actually a B vitamin.
Women who took multivitamins, including a folic acid supplement, had a 40% lower risk of ovulatory failure, according to a 2006 study. Another reason you should start taking folic acid now is because you want it in your body before you get pregnant. Folic acid will lower the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect. Since neural tube defects can occur before you even know you’re pregnant, start getting your daily dose now! It’s recommended that mothers-to-be consume 400 mcg of folic acid a day.
It’s important for your partner to take folic acid too! According to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, men who had lower levels of folic acid were more likely to have abnormal chromosomes in their sperm.
Folic acid is present in beans, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and more. However, if you worry about getting your daily intake, you may consider taking a folic acid supplement.
Keep in mind that taking these supplements won’t alter your health overnight. You will need to consistently fulfill your daily intake of each of these nutrients and vitamins for them to have a positive effect by the time you conceive.
Which vitamins and nutrients are you concentrating on for conception? Comment below. If this post made you reconsider your diet, be sure to share it with others to improve their health as well.
Also, BioTerra Herbs blog has a really helpful article about other fertility boosters such as understanding your ovulation cycle, fatty acids, etc. Check this out: 8 Natural Fertility Boosters that get you Pregnant Fast