Most people trying to conceive will benefit from a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, but aim to get your nutrients from food. You can’t compensate for a poor diet by taking lots of pills! Even if you have a very healthy, balanced diet we are subjected to more toxins than ever before, and the soil quality of intensive farming means the food we eat has reduced in nutritional value over the years. Supermarket brands of vitamins are often in a form that the body needs to convert so it can use them, and this means they aren’t as effective, so look for a good quality brand.
What supplements support fertility?
Before taking lots of supplements it’s important to talk to a health professional about what you need as some supplements interfere with each other, or certain medications may deplete nutrients (for example antibiotics can reduce nutrients, taking the pill can reduce B vitamins in the body). Did you know some supplements, like zinc, are better taken away from food and other supplements? Taking fish oils can slow down food transit time and affect absorption of nutrients, and some vitamins are fat soluble (A, D, E, K) and are best taken with some food containing fats.
There are many essential nutrients for fertility, here are some of the top things for you to consider:
- Zinc is essential for many enzymes including digestive health, metabolising protein and healthy eggs. It’s a common for zinc levels to be depleted. insufficiency, especially if you drink alcohol or have been on the contraceptive pill. You can get zinc from lean meat, fish and seafood (especially oysters!) eggs, pumpkin seeds, ginger, parsley, mushrooms. A very high fibre intake may inhibit absorption.
- Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3) are extremely important as they are needed for the cell membrane of all our cells, especially the in ovaries. One of the component parts of Essential Fatty Acids, DHA, is required for foetus brain growth and forming body tissues. Aim to eat oily fish 3 times a week (Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Salmon, Herring) and consider a supplement. Look for a a brand that has been filtered and purified. Vegetarian Omega 3 supplements are available and a small amount can be taken from flaxseeds.
- Selenium deficiency has been associated with female infertility. It forms part of our own antioxidant complexes and helps embryo development. You can find it in brazil nuts, herring, whole grains and wheat germ.
- Magnesium is used in over 300 body processes and helps us relax. Deficiency in magnesium has been linked to higher blood pressure. You can get magnesium from kelp, whole grains, almonds, cashew nuts, blackstrap molasses.
There are some important things to consider when taking supplements, more isn’t always better! Everyone’s needs are different, and it’s important to find what works for you, so speak to a nutritional therapist to understand what you need. For tailored advice on how to support your pregnancy or journey towards a family please get in touch.