Supplementation is another important aspect of adopting a fertile lifestyle. While there is no substitute for a low-inflammatory, nutrient-dense diet, supplementing a life-giving diet with high performing fertility nutrients ensures that you're covering all of your bases. These top ten fertility supplements provide a solid nutritional foundation to give your body a diversity of vital nutrients that will assist you and your partner in making your healthiest, happiest baby!
Collagen is not only beauty food, it’s also baby food! It provides vital amino acids that are the building blocks for all tissue, including the healthy egg and sperm that will become your healthy, happy baby. Collagen is one of the best supplements to healthy plant and animal whole food sources of protein. It's easy to use, portable, and high in protein while adding very little calories and zero fat to your daily intake.
Adding collagen to the daily diet ensures adequate protein even when on the go, and during busy times when making time for three well-balanced meals can be challenging. It is a virtually tasteless powder that can be easily mixed into hot or cold drinks, smoothies, teas, and soups.
In addition to being a miraculous healthy-tissue-building supplement that’s easy to use, collagen is one of the best foods to heal the gut. A healthy gut is much more effective at digesting and assimilating food, which means greater nutrients for the function and repair of your body, especially your reproductive organs.
Since the body requires protein to build and repair, unless you or your partner are dealing with specific health issues that require minimized protein consumption, it is a good idea to exist on the higher end of your unique daily protein requirement when babymaking, and beyond during pregnancy and nursing,
Maca is a traditional medicinal herb from the Andes Mountains in Peru. It’s been used by indigenous people for centuries as an overall body tonic. In modern herbalism, it’s known as an adaptogen, which means that it helps the body to adapt to stress. This is beneficial for fertility considering that chronic stress is a major factor in fertility and reproductive issues. Maca is also known to balance hormones and increase libido and energy production by nourishing the endocrine system, all of which are extremely beneficial for babymaking!
In women, maca is believed to optimize the balance between estrogen and progesterone in a way that is optimal for fertility. This is key because we require a healthy balance between the two in order to achieve health in each phase of our menstrual cycle, and ultimately to produce the healthy eggs that will become our healthy, happy baby.
Maca may act similarly in males to support healthy hormone balance and testosterone production while improving sperm quality. Specifically, it has been shown to increase sperm count and strengthen motility.
In both men and women, maca has been shown to increase sexual desire and improve sexual function.
3. Bee byproducts
This includes royal jelly, bee pollen, bee propolis, and even honey. The bee holds great symbolism for fertility so it’s no surprise that its byproducts are associated with increased fertility, sexual function, and desire in both men and women. They’re rich in amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and co-nutrients, while also nourishing and stimulating the endocrine system. As an added benefit, they’re also antimicrobial and supportive of the immune system. This is especially helpful for those with autoimmunity factors contributing to fertility concerns, as well as those of with a dysregulated immune system from chronic stress.
Bee byproducts have been shown to regulate the menstrual cycle, improve egg quality, and benefit endometriosis.
Vitex, also commonly known as Chaste tree or Chasteberry, is one of the best ways to naturally boost the body’s production of progesterone. While vitex does not contain hormones, it does appear to act directly on the glands in the brain that stimulate hormone production.This is extremely beneficial during times of stress and with aging, as it is common to see decreased progesterone production in both scenarios. Beginning at age 35, and in some cases even earlier at age 30, it is not uncommon to have inadequate progesterone levels to support pregnancy. Adequate progesterone is always an essential factor to consider when faced with difficulty getting and maintaining pregnancy.
Vitex regulates the menstrual cycle and is especially helpful in instances of estrogen dominance where there is not enough progesterone to balance estrogen in the body. Estrogen dominance is seen in women with PCOS and uterine fibroids. Similarly, vitex is shown to be beneficial for regulating the menstrual cycle. It’s been shown to positively impact the cycle in women with a shortened luteal phase, or second half of the cycle, which occurs more frequently with age.
5. Glutathione, N-acetyl cysteine, Ubiquinol
These three supplements are big time antioxidants essential to reproductive health. Each of these compounds protect the body from oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and support the internal organs. Whether we are conceiving naturally or through assisted reproduction such as IVF and IUI, it is important to protect our delicate eggs and sperm from inflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress and inflammation are linked to virtually every disease, including reproductive and fertility issues, and are even implicated in miscarriage and the health of your future baby.
6. Wheat germ oil
Wheat germ oil is one of the most potent sources of naturally occurring vitamin E. Because it exists in nature, unlike synthetic forms of vitamin E, wheat germ oil also contains important co-factors and co-nutrients that allow for better absorption and utilization of the vitamin E it contains.
Wheat germ oil has been called pregnancy glue by midwives and fertility food by fertility specialists. It is beneficial for the health of the uterine lining that, when optimal, becomes the home for your fertilized egg. Whether preparing for natural conception or assisted reproduction, wheat germ oil is one of the best supplements to prepare and thicken the uterine lining.
Additionally, the vitamin E in wheat germ oil supports sex steroid production, and therefore, is good for both male and female fertility.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm which dictates our sleep and wake cycles. While it is a hormone that is known to be beneficial for sleep regulation, it also has been shown to exhibit antioxidant properties that protect the body against oxidative stress. Some research has shown it to be especially beneficial for protecting egg quality in women undergoing IVF.
8. Methylated Folate
While there is some debate regarding the necessity of general supplementation before and during pregnancy, folate is one nutrient that everyone agrees is necessary. Adequate folate is critical for fertility and pregnancy in order to prevent miscarriage and neural tube defects. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate for which many of us do not have proper enzymes to break down and utilize. This is seen in varying degrees of the MTHFR genetic mutation, and is known as a methylation defect. The solution to this genetic defect is to consume folate in a methylated form that is already broken down and easily utilized by the body. It is incredible that this small solution alone can have such a major impact in some cases of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.
Myo-inositol is part of the B vitamin complex and has been shown to promote healthy ovulation and hormone balance in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It’s also been shown to support improved egg quality, and has been shown to be especially beneficial in women undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF and IUI.
Myo-inositol has even been shown in preliminary studies to benefit sperm parameters, including count, motility, and morphology when used in conjunction with other nutrients.
Probiotics enhance the immune system and the GI tract in ways that are very supportive of fertility and reproduction. The importance of nutrition when it comes to babymaking is no secret. The amount of nutrition available from food is largely dependent on how healthy and efficient the gut is at breaking down, absorbing, and assimilating nutrients.
A great deal of information on the importance of the microbiome when it comes to optimizing digestion, immunity, neurotransmitters, and hormone health has emerged in recent years. But there’s also powerful information demonstrating the importance of certain probiotic strains when it comes to the health and pH of the vagina. It turns out that this is critical because, while normally very acidic, a healthy vagina becomes more alkaline during fertile times to allow for sperm’s survival. If the pH of the vagina remains overly acidic during ovulation it becomes harder for sperm to survive the journey to the egg.
When it comes to probiotics, diversity is key. The best way to ensure a healthy range is to consume a variety of fermented foods and drinks daily. A small amount with each meal is sufficient. Additionally, women should take a high-quality probiotic supplement specifically for women that includes strains for vaginal health.
Although ideal to get as much nutrient-density as possible from whole foods, the demands of modern life make supplementation a necessary part of adopting your fertile lifestyle. While the majority of these supplements are beneficial for both female and male partners, vitex and melatonin are recommended specifically for female partners when it comes to fertility. The major commonality seen among all supplements that support fertility is that they support hormone balance, sexual function, and desire in men and women, while also reducing inflammation and increasing immunity. Some have the added benefit of directly benefiting egg and sperm quality. However, anything that reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the body will result in stronger, healthier cells, including egg and sperm cells that will become your healthy, happy baby!