Fertility Focus Part 2: Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients for Optimal Fertility

The beauty of natural approaches to enhancing fertility is that the steps you take to encourage conception also have the potential to improve your pregnancy, your child’s birth, a mother’s ability to breastfeed, the health of your baby and of yourselves.

In Part 1 we looked at all the many ways couples can enhance their fertility.

The levels of nutrients in our bodies is always changing. Our nutrient status depends on a multitude of factors including diet, digestive function, stress levels, exercise, growth…the list goes on! It can be useful to get a snapshot of what your body is doing at this time to help understand what factors might be contributing to your nutrient levels and where your imbalances might lie.

For ease of reading and reference, we have put together a chart here looking at specific vitamins, minerals and selected nutrients, and their potential impact on male and female fertility, conception, pregnancy, birth and babies.

 

Vitamins Male Fertility Female Fertility Pregnancy Birth & Baby Outcomes Postnatal Outcomes for Mama
A

 

Antioxidant Healthy mucus and mucous membranes, reproductive hormones and reproductive organs, antioxidant Essential for good foetal growth and development, also for carrying baby to term and reducing miscarriage rates Deficiency or excess leads to birth defects Breast milk production
B Complex: B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), Biotin Sex hormone production Hormonal balance, progesterone levels and stress response Supports energy, stress response and haem synthesis in blood. B6 may help reduce nausea. Supports normal development in baby and maintains energy and nervous system in mother Deficiency may increase risk of PostNatal Depression
Folic Acid Just as important for men! Improves all parameters of sperm quantity and quality. Egg quality and maturation Implantation, development of the placenta and foetus, protects against neural tube defects. Requirements double during pregnancy.
B12 Healthy motile sperm Deficiency may increase chance of miscarriage, Important for cell division, DNA production, Red Blood Cells, nervous system development
C Improves all sperm parameters May assist with progesterone balance, protects eggs from DNA damage May reduce risk of miscarriage, toxaemia Protective against varicose veins Involved in tissue repair and healing
D Deficiency can reduce sperm count and motility Supports fertility, increases chances of conception via IVF Skeletal development Deficiency may increase risk of PostNatal Depression
E Sperm count, motility and morphology

Antioxidant to protect sperm

Oestrogen regulation Strengthens amniotic membranes Reduced risk of premature rupture of membranes, cystic fibrosis, hydrocephalus, preeclampsia
K Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn, blood clotting
Minerals
Iron Improves ovulation Essential for adequate blood supply, oxygenation of all tissues, foetal development, placental growth Deficiency can be associated with low birth weight, premature birth. Needed for proper clotting. Important for energy and recovery
Zinc Testosterone production, sperm production and sperm motility. Improves egg development and ovulation, helps with hormonal synthesis. Maintains elasticity of tissues, may prevent against stretch-marks, supports growth, cell replication, immunity Deficiency may be associated with miscarriage, toxaemia, premature birth and low birth weight. Deficiency may increase risk of PostNatal Depression

Involved in tissue repair and healing

Magnesium Prevents free radical damage to sperm Hormonal balance, muscle tone, mucus health, nervous system Reduces cramping, support sleep Improves uterine contractions, reduces risk of miscarriage, premature labour, low birth weight, toxemia Deficiency may increase risk of PostNatal Depression
Calcium Good fertile mucus and tone of uterine muscles Foetal skeletal development Reduces risk of toxaemia

May reduce length and pain of labour

Iodine Reproductive and thyroid health Essential for foetal development of nervous system Essential for baby’s development of nervous system, cognition etc
Chromium May help with nausea, reduce risk of gestational diabetes, reduce sugar cravings, support good energy supply to the foetus as helps with insulin production
Selenium Antioxidant for healthy cell division, can increase sperm count and quality. Antioxidant for healthy cell division Protects against chromosomal damage. Deficiency may be associated with low birth weight and retained placenta Deficiency may increase risk of PostNatal Depression
Other nutrients
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA/DHA) Sperm quality and quantity Healthy prostaglandins and hormonal balance, reduces inflammation Foetal brain, eye, nervous system development Infant brain, eye, nervous system development Deficiency may increase risk of PostNatal Depression
Coenzyme Q10 Improves mitochondrial function of the sperm, increasing overall vitality An important nutrient especially for aging eggs, CoQ10 helps the mitochondrial function of the egg and is essential for cellular division after fertilisation.

More isn’t always better when it comes to nutrients however, its all about balance! If in doubt please seek the advice of your practitioner or trained professional. 

Because these are literally the building blocks that make our babies, it is essential to support optimal nutrition when planning to conceive, and right through your pregnancy. The right foundation supports a healthy pregnancy, healthy birth, and a healthy baby who has the best opportunity for a vibrant healthy life.

 

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