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Factors Affecting Fertility & Best Vitamins for Improving Fertility

Infertility is an increasing problem affecting couples attempting pregnancy. It is a global health problem affecting 20 -30% of the female population of reproductive age in modern society.1

Experts believe that there is a strong link between diet and female fertility.2 While various dietary factors can influence fertility, it is also worth considering some of the best vitamins for fertility.

Factors Affecting Fertility

Various factors affect fertility including gynecological conditions, like polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS), endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, pelvic inflammatory disease, and lifestyle factors like faulty diet and nutrition affecting reproductive functions.1

Other dietary factors that affect fertility must also be considered. A diet high in trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars can negatively impact fertility, while a diet rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, plant-based protein, and vitamins and minerals, can show positive effects on female fertility.2

Some studies have also reported the role of increased consumption of caffeine, alcohol, excessive stress, agonist sports, and chronic exposure to environmental pollutants can negatively affect fertility in women.3

In addition to high-calorie diets, metabolic disorders including diabetes, obesity, and hyperlipidemia may be linked to a woman’s fertility.3 Obese women often have decreased insulin sensitivity, which may be related to PCOS. Hence, if dietary adjustments or supplements can help manage it and maintain normal body mass, it can help to preserve ovarian function and help improve fertility.

Best Vitamins for Improving Fertility

Micronutrients and vitamins are required by the body in small quantities as dietary components, during pregnancy and also before conception. Adequate folate levels are important for oocyte quality, maturation, fertilization, and implantation, while zinc plays a role in ovulation and the menstrual cycle.4 Thus, it can be safely said that micronutrients and some of the best vitamins for fertility can help boost the chances of pregnancy.

The best vitamins for fertility play an important role in several functions and mechanisms that affect fertility. These include the menstrual cycle, ovulation, quality of oocyte (egg) and its maturation, fertilization, the receptiveness of the endometrium, implantation, embryogenesis, homocysteine metabolism, inflammation, and oxidative stress.4

Here are some of the best vitamins for improving fertility:

  1. Folic Acid

    Folates are considered one of the best vitamins for fertility. They are popularly used before conception and also during pregnancy, as advised.

    Studies have confirmed that supplementation with folic acid, or multivitamins containing folic acid, is associated with better embryo quality, improved chances of pregnancy, and reduced risk of ovulatory infertility.3

    In a 2019 study, a supplement containing 800 µg of folic acid was given to women planning a pregnancy, to prevent neural tube defects and evaluate the impact on fertility. It was used for at least 1 month before conception and during the first trimester which resulted in a significantly higher number of confirmed pregnancies as compared to the use of a supplement containing trace elements.4

    Studies have reported that the use of folic acid supplementation of 400 µg per day showed positive effects on fecundability (chances of conceiving in a single menstrual cycle) and the time to conception was shorter, which confirms that the supplementation can increase the chances of fertility in women. Folic acid supplementation in women attending fertility clinics also showed increased levels of folic acid, as needed to prevent neural tube defects.4

  2. Vitamin B

    Vitamin B complex is equally important along with folic acid and is also considered one of the best vitamins for improving fertility.

    Studies have shown that a diet rich in folate and vitamin B6 showed a 40% increased chance of pregnancy by IVF intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).4

    Vitamin B12 and folate are involved in the homocysteine pathway and their deficiency can affect fertility in women.4

    A 2008 study reported that regular use of multivitamin supplements can decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility.5

    A 2015 study concluded that higher levels of folate and vitamin B12 before assisted reproductive technology were linked with higher live birth rates. This supports the necessity of preconception intake of folic acid and suggests the additional intake of vitamin B12.6

  3. Omega-3-Fatty Acids

    A dietary intake of Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (FAs), Alpha-linolenic acid, and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can have a positive outcome in women undergoing IVF/ICSI.4

    A 2019 study reported that omega-3 supplements and their dietary intake can improve semen quality parameters in infertile men and those couples seeking fertility treatment.8

    A 2022 study concluded that women taking omega-3-fatty acids have greater chances of getting pregnant as compared to women not taking omega-3s.9

    A 2021 study reported that studies have shown that the intake of omega-3-fatty acids may affect oocytes, the quality of the embryo, and implantation.10

    However, given some of the limitations of the studies and some studies showing conflicting results, more research is needed in the area.

  4. Antioxidants

    Reproductive capacity is greatly influenced by oxidative stress and cellular damage. Vitamins that work as antioxidants are surely one of the best vitamins for fertility. Some of the strong detoxifying agents that can help limit the production of free radicals include Glutathione, Lipoic acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and CoenzymeQ10 (CoQ10).4

    • Vitamin C – Regular intake of Vitamin C and particularly during pregnancy can stimulate the processes supporting gestation. Studies have reported that women experiencing frequent spontaneous abortions had lower levels than women with better reproductive outcomes.4
    • CoQ10 – studies have reported that CoQ10 helps in the protection of female gametes from oxidative stress, and its supplementation showed an improvement in oocyte quality.1
    • L- Carnitine – This antioxidant helps to regulate the functions of the female reproductive system and reduce oxidative stress and free radicals. Its acetylated form acetyl L-carnitine (ALC) also has excellent antioxidant properties and both these forms are beneficial for women with infertility disorders.7

    These are some of the best vitamins for fertility. As a diet, lifestyle disorders, and other factors too play a role in fertility, it is best to follow a healthy lifestyle and seek medical advice.


Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 28, 2022

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