The level of fertility you experience in your life is linked to many variables. Over the last several years, research has shown that age, lifestyle choices, medical history, and even what you eat could have an effect on this aspect of your life. While you can’t control every contributing factor, studies suggest that your vitamin intake is something you can focus on to improve your fertility.
The Role of Vitamins in Fertility
The vitamins in your body help a multitude of functions, including cell growth and repair, immune system strength, digestion, heart health, and more. While it may not seem likely that these aspects of biology have much to do with your fertility, you might be surprised to learn that when vitamins are in decline and these areas of the body slow down or become impeded in some way, it can affect your hormones, as well as your reproductive capabilities.
It’s important to remember that fertility depends on the combination of healthy sperm and a healthy egg, as well as the overall health of the mother who will carry the child to term. When there are issues with the immune system or the body’s ability to grow new cells and heal itself, the odds of creating and carrying a healthy child are minimized.
There are eight B vitamins, most of which are found naturally in foods like milk, eggs, pork, beef, and fish. B vitamins help the body convert food into energy, and are necessary for healthy hair, teeth, skin, eyes, and liver. A deficiency in B vitamins can cause fatigue, heart problems, stomach upset, shortness of breath, and reduced sperm count and activity in men.
In a 2008 publication in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility, researchers looked at the connection between multivitamins and fertility in women. 18,555 patients took part in the study, with a follow-up taking place over a period of eight years from 1999 onward. Researchers discovered that there was a direct correlation between the number of multivitamins consumed and ovulatory fertility. Those who took the multivitamins were less likely to struggle with fertility issues.
Vitamin D is known to help improve bone health, immune system functionality, and cell regulation. It is found naturally in eggs and fatty fish, as well as fortified cereals and milk. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and certain types of cancer.
In the Journal of Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology, a review published in 2014 found that women undergoing IVF would see a greater chance at success when taking vitamin D supplements at a minimum dose of 30ng/ml.
Vitamin E is recognized as a potent antioxidant that helps with the use of vitamin K in the body, as well as the production of red blood cells and immune system functions. Vitamin E is found naturally in nuts, eggs, yams, avocado, dark leafy greens, sunflower seeds, and a variety of other foods. Vitamin E is thought to help reduce risks of cancer, preeclampsia, diabetes, and infertility in men.
According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of General Medicine, researchers determined that taking regular vitamin E and selenium supplements could positively impact the functionality and quality of sperm. 690 infertile men were included in the study, each receiving 400 units of vitamin E and 200ug of Se over a period of 100 days. More than 52% of the men in the study who received the vitamins were able to successfully reproduce with their partners.
Vitamins are not miracle drugs and must be used with a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise to increase overall health and fertility. Before making any drastic changes to your diet or supplement regimen, speak to your physician about the best course of action. If you have more questions about IVF or the treatment process, be sure to get in contact with us so we can join you on your journey.