Getting to the Bottom of It: Can Vitamins and Supplements Boost Your Fertility?

There has been a lot of talks lately about vitamins and supplements among men and women trying to conceive. While it's true that consuming adequate micronutrients is essential for good health, there is insufficient research to show that fertility supplements actually work. On the other hand, science has yet to prove that vitamins and herbal supplements do not help treat male or female fertility, either. The situation remains complicated.

Vitamins, Supplements, Fertility, Health
Getting to the Bottom of It: Can Vitamins and Supplements Boost Your Fertility?

What Might Help?

There are a few supplements that may help increase fertility in some cases. They include vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10, folic acid with zinc, and vitamin C. The only sure way for couples to increase their chances of getting pregnant is to see a specialist like those at MCRM Fertility, but there's no harm in taking most over-the-counter fertility supplements.

Vitamin E

The relationship between vitamin E and women's reproductive health was discovered in 1922 but it is only recently that women have begun to take vitamin E as a fertility supplement. Research suggests that it may act as an antioxidant against reproductive disorders, but results are mixed when it comes to the effectiveness of vitamin E at boosting fertility and supporting pregnancy. At least one recent study has also shown that vitamin E may improve sperm motility in some men, as well, especially when combined with vitamin C or selenium, but the researchers' results have not been replicated.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is thought to increase motility in men who have low sperm counts. Animal studies performed on mice show that it may also improve egg quality but this finding hasn't been replicated in human subjects. Like vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 acts as an antioxidant. However, researchers have not yet proven its effectiveness in improving couples' chances of getting pregnant.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a synthesized version of the natural vitamin B-9. Taking folic acid with zinc has been shown to improve sperm counts in some men. However, not all people can absorb B-9 in this form. Some need to consume folate instead of folic acid because it is more bioavailable.

Folate can be found in foods like lentils, dark leafy greens, and broccoli. Supplements that contain folate are less common and less affordable, but consumers whose bodies have difficulty absorbing folic acid may find that it's worth the investment.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. When combined with vitamin E it has been shown to improve sperm health, although no studies have proven that it is able to increase couples' chances of conception. It's best to get vitamin C from food sources like citrus fruits, berries, and peppers, but synthetic supplements are also available.

Other Vitamins and Supplements

There are a variety of other vitamins and supplements that may or may not impact fertility levels. They include iron, selenium, vitamin D, calcium, and various B vitamins. In most cases, consumers will only benefit from taking supplements containing these vitamins if they experience known vitamin deficiencies, as there has been insufficient evidence to show that they help boost fertility in otherwise healthy people.

The Bottom Line

While most vitamins and supplements won't hurt, there's little definitive evidence showing they will help, either, except in limited circumstances where men or women are suffering from known deficiencies or specific disorders. The best way for a couple to increase the chances of conceiving is to see a fertility specialist.

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