Infertility is a common condition affecting as many as one out of six couples during their lifetime. Studies have documented higher pregnancy rates among users of micronutrient supplements either with or without fertility disorders.
In a prospective study consuming multivitamin supplements at least 3 times per week was associated with a reduced risk of ovulatory infertility. Intake of some micronutrients may enhance female fertility.
There are an increasing body of evidence on the use of micronutrients (especially antioxidant therapy) to improve outcomes for couples undergoing IVF treatment. Furthermore, multiple micronutrient supplementations for IVF couples, men or women may prove to be a promising approach to improving IVF clinical outcomes.
The importance of nutrition at a molecular level is well established as numerous processes in DNA synthesis are dependent on minerals such as zinc, copper, and selenium, as well as vitamin B, folate, and other antioxidants.
Folic acid (400 micrograms a day) has been shown to prevent some fetal abnormalities, such as neural tube defects. Start at least 3 months before planning pregnancy. The natural form of folate is found in food (dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli),and the synthetic form Folic Acid is found in many supplements.
Strong antioxidants can upset your natural metabolic balance damaging the quality of your sperm and/or eggs and so ensure the absolute best chance of pregnancy, in couples seeking assistance from IVF. Antioxidants help a better oxy-redox balance within the control of the natural cellular homeostasis.
Antioxidants, significantly decrease sperm oxidative damage in men with fertility problems, improving sperm count. In males, antioxidants have been shown to reduce the number of reactive oxygen species, protecting semen from oxidative damage, and improving sperm parameters such as motility. Oral antioxidant supplementation was associated with a considerable improvement in assisted conception pregnancy rates by improving male fertility.
This coenzyme is critical to cellular energy production. About fertility, taking CoQ10 can help boost the function of mitochondria thereby improving egg quality. Studies have shown that this mitochondrial nutrient can reverse effects of aging on female eggs. Women, especially those 37 or older, should consider taking this supplement to improve egg quality.
It has been shown that low levels of CoQ10 can contribute to problems with fertilization and genetic mutations which can decrease the viability of an embryo.
Low Vitamin D levels can have a detrimental effect on male as well as female fertility. Existence of vitamin D receptors in the female reproductive system including the uterus, endometrium, ovaries, and placenta, represents pivotal role of vitamin D in female fertility.
Further studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency is associated with some female reproductive abnormalities especially gestational diabetes, endometriosis, PCOS, bacterial vaginosis, premature labor pains and preeclampsia. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Vitamin D assists in the production of the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH),which is the measure of a woman's ovarian reserve. Vitamin D exerts its effects on the number and quality of oocytes and the outcome of pregnancy through its role in increasing estrogen hormone production. The amount of vitamin D in follicular fluids has a significant association with IVF success. High level of vitamin D in follicular fluids and serum is related with chance of conceiving following IVF.
Vitamin D has also role in endometrium immune response and stimulation of endometrium decidualization that is important in implantation and pregnancy. Vitamin D besides affecting the number and quality of oocytes can independently improve implantation rate and IVF outcome.
Vitamin D may have a positive impact on IVF outcomes such as improved pregnancy rate in females and semen quality in males.
Vitamin E supplementation in both women and men has been shown to impact IVF outcomes not only by reducing the time to achieve pregnancy in women, but also vitamin E administration in men has been found to improve sperm motility and reduce associated oxidative damage.
In a study, Vitamin E, administered as a single dose or in formulation with a dose of 10– 400 mg/day showed significantly higher pregnancy rates.
Omega-3 fats are essential for building a healthy brain and nervous system. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is vital for infant brain and eye development. The best source of omega-3 fats is oily fish such as sardines, salmon, and mackerel. However, they have high in toxins such as heavy metals and dioxins. Limiting oily fish intake to two portions per week and getting the rest of your omega-3 from a supplement is reasonable.
Zinc (Zn) is the second most abundant trace element in human, which cannot be stored in the body, thus regular dietary intake is required. Zn microelement is very essential for male fertility. It could be considered as a nutrient marker with many potentials in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of male infertility.It is involved in the protection of the head DNA of the sperm from damage. Observational studies show that low zinc status or deficiency is associated with low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality, and an increased risk of male infertility.
Zinc plays a role in oocyte division, fertilization, DNA regulation, and embryo development. The recommended daily allowance for zinc is 8 milligrams per day for adult women and 12 milligrams per day during pregnancy and lactation.
Magnesium is not only plainly important whilst trying to optimize fertility and get pregnant, but during pregnancy itself, too. Magnesium deficiency in pregnancy has been associated with a higher risk of problems with the placenta, miscarriage, and premature birth.
Consumption of iron supplements and nonheme iron from other sources may decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is an androgen produced in the adrenal gland and in the ovaries. DHEA is a weak androgen that is converted to estradiol and testosterone.
DHEA supplement have shown some promise in association with an increase in egg quantity and quality. DHEA supplementation seems to improve the ovarian environment where follicle maturation takes place, resulting in increasing antral follicle counts and AMH levels, and therefore ovarian reserve and reducing aneuploidy (chromosomal abnormality).
DHEA assumes a role in improving the pregnancy rate in young women with premature diminished ovarian reserve as well as decreasing the age-related aneuploidy and eventually miscarriage rate in older women with age related diminished ovarian reserve.