Thanks to a recent study linking Vitamin D intake with more positive outcomes for women undergoing IVF, you can expect to see more fertility experts adding supplementation to their treatment protocol.
Previous studies have also shown a correlation between IVF success and sufficient Vitamin D levels however, the most recent study involved a much higher group of participants, and showed that women with adequate levels of Vitamin D were twice as likely to become pregnant. While studies are still ongoing, researchers believe in addition to stimulating progesterone and estrogen which can regulate menstruation, Vitamin D also appears to positively influence embryo quality and may increase the chances of successful implantation by supporting the lining of the uterus.
A Vitamin D deficiency can contribute a number of diseases including diabetes, MS, osteoporosis, rickets, cancer and cardiovascular disease but it’s only in recent years that science has begun to take a closer look at its role in reproductive health. Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins the body produces the majority of on its own, however it needs sunlight in order to do so. Known as the “sunshine vitamin”, researchers have noted that women living in colder climates experience more difficulty conceiving during the winter months which further supports D’s link to fertility. It is recommended we all get 10 to 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure per day and this could be especially crucial for those trying to conceive. If cold weather or other factors prevent you from getting outside to soak up the sun, a multivitamin containing Vitamin D can help. You can also get your Vitamin D through diet by eating eggs, tuna, yogurt, and fortified food sources like milk, orange juice and cereals.
Those trying to conceive will want to stock up on other vitamins as well since D isn’t the only one that plays a supporting role in fertility. If baby making is on your agenda, you and your partner should consider supplementation as there are several vitamins and minerals which can positively impact reproductive health in both men and women. We have listed some of the most important ones below:
Vitamin B12 – Beneficial for both partners, B12 is thought to boost sperm production and improve its quality. In addition to helping regulate ovulation, it may also help fertilization and implantation by supporting the lining of the uterus.
Vitamin C – C can boost progesterone and balance hormones to regulate ovulation. It is also a powerful antioxidant which can protect the integrity of sperm.
Vitamin E – Vitamin E is thought to improve sperm motility as well as the consistency of cervical mucus; both of which can help sperm travel successfully thereby improving the chances of conception.
Iron – A lack of iron can lead to irregular periods and may even halt ovulation altogether in some. Insufficient stores have also been linked to poor egg quality.
Zinc – Zinc stabilizes hormone levels and maintains follicular fluid in the fallopian tubes helping eggs travel. Zinc deficiency has also been linked to early miscarriage and a low sperm count in men.
Folic Acid – Folic acid can help prevent early stage birth defects like spina bifida perhaps making this the most important supplement for pre-conception. Men also benefit from folic acid supplementation as it can improve both the quality and volume of sperm.
The human body is a well designed and extremely intricate system that carries us through life from start to finish. Caring for it properly and ensuring your nutritional needs are met will assist it in performing all of the functions it was designed for, and conception is no different.
If you would like to read more on this subject, see our post on preparing your body for conception, and the importance of prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy. We are praying for our moms-to-be and wish you all the best as you start your journey into parenthood.