Fertility

Prepping for IVF in 2024? Here’s my nutritionist’s starter pack

Jessie Day, in partnership with Zita West  |   30 Dec 2023


The IVF supplements baseline list 

We like to be ahead of the curve at team TRB, for all-things fertility and IVF. Being prepared is a crucial step in the treatment process, and there’s nothing like an at-home to-do list, to feel proactive, take our minds off treatment wait times and keep that mind-body-baby focus front and centre. 

IVF supplements can be a real game-changer, for knowing you’re giving your body targeted, specific micronutrient support. If you need, for example, an extra vitamin D boost, dosages and values from an expert fertility supplement line – we’re talking clinically-researched and specific formulas here – can tick one thing off your list, well-ahead of treatment. 

No-one needs reminding that IVF and fertility treatment carries huge cost – whether it’s financial, emotional, physical, a combination of these or something else. Giving your journey the baseline of a strong, informed and up-to-the-minute nutrition game (but really, a diet that goes back to the foundations of eating a varied, colourful, whole foods-based diet) can only be a (really) good thing. 

Supplements can help. A lot. But diet is fundamental.

Your pocket IVF nutrition prep guide – book a spot

First things first, we’d recommend tuning in to this free upcoming deep-dive webinar, on 25 January at 8pm GMT. Hosted by expert fertility nutritionist Isabelle Obert. 

Isabelle was my nutritionist across our fertility journey a few years back, and works closely with team Zita West to support patients in their prep for conception and IVF treatment. 

The team will be kicking off 2024 IVF cycle prep with a deep-dive free webinar – Setting yourself up for IVF success in 2024 – covering all of these crucial pointers: 

  • foundations of fertility nutrition – establishing the link between nutrition and reproductive health
  • key nutrients for reproductive health – highlighting specific IVF success-supporting micronutrients, such as CoQ10, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants
  • egg and sperm health – optimising through nutrition, lifestyle and supplements, addressing factors that contribute to overall reproductive success
  • supplements for IVF preparation – discussing the specific supplements that can complement IVF preparation, for men and women
  • mindset matters – covering the psychological aspects of IVF preparation, including nurturing a positive mindset, stress management, and building emotional resilience
  • embryo transfer preparation – looking at how to prepare for transfer and the two week wait, including mindset and nutrition

Plus, so much more. It’s an absolute must – and totally free – for anyone considering, about to start or currently having IVF treatment. 

We’ll see you there! Save 25 January 8pm GMT to the 2024 calendar now, and grab a spot so you’re set up for joining details and reminders. 

All set? Prep step two is to make a note of code TRB10* to use on any Zita West supplements you stock up on. Check out Isabelle’s baseline list below – from the NHS-recommended folate and vitamin D essentials to antioxidant boosts and omega-3 support – and pop the code in at checkout for 10% off (US and UK only). 

On that over-prepared-is-our-2024-vibe note, Isabelle’s given us a first look at the core micronutrients she’d have IVF patients pack in ahead of treatment – with supplements and formulas of choice, plus dietary intake tips to get your grocery lists up-to-speed. After all, you can’t out-supplement your diet. 

There’s a reason we talk about bioavailability – and so many of these crucial nutrients are best-found in our food, and fields. Supplements are that added layer of preparation and granular, specific support, which personally, I valued so much across my tricky conception journey. 

Over to Isabelle. 

ivf-supplements-folate

Folate

No surprises here, I know. But you’d be surprised how many women’s multivitamins don’t stack up on a good dosage of the bioavailable form of folic acid – folate. And, more concerningly, the number of prenatals and conception supplements who don’t include folate. 

The NHS recommends 400μg folic acid a day during preconception and pregnancy, to help reduce risk of neural tube defects in a developing foetus. And, research suggests that folate can positively affect ovarian function and may even improve outcomes in treatment like IVF. 

Adequate levels of folate have been linked to improved embryo quality too, a key factor for successful implantation and healthy developing pregnancy – plus, it contributes to sperm health and production, and DNA structure. 

Read up here for lots more information and pick and choose your supplement support from options like: 

Folate is also factored in to lots of other support packs, formulas and products in the Zita West line. Just search folate and explore what comes up. 

Getting folate from your food

In Nature’s brilliant way, this super-crucial fertility micronutrient is abundant in easy-to-access, prepare and eat food sources – you just need to stick to the outer aisles of the supermarket! Think vegetables, legumes and a couple of wilder cards, all listed below: 

  • leafy greens – spinach is great and so is lettuce like Romaine 
  • legumes – focus on black-eyed peas, as a fantastic addition to stews and chillies
  • green vegetables – alongside the leafies, I recommend asparagus, brussels sprouts and broccoli – avocados are also rich in folate

For folate, my top tip is to picture a big green salad, maybe topped with a soft-boiled egg for added goodness, or a winter green veg traybake with smashed avocado on the side. Easy, simple, and packed with folate.

ivf-supplements-vitamin-D

Vitamin D

Did you know that vitamin D is actually a hormone? And, like many hormones, it plays a critical role in reproductive health. It’s also notoriously hard to come by through lifestyle alone (sunlight exposure and a few minor dietary sources being our best support). Many people are deficient, so boosting with a supplement is now recommended by the NHS, alongside folate (see my notes above). 

Vitamin D contributes to normal cell division – so key to those very early stages of embryo development during IVF – plus, normal immune function and inflammatory response at support implantation. 

Read up here for more details and pick and choose your supplement from: 

Vitamin D is included in lots of other support packs in the Zita West line. Just search vitamin D to pick and choose. 

supplements for ivf egg quality

Getting vitamin D from your food

… is very tricky! Our best source is exposure to direct sunlight, which can be hard to achieve in a meaningful way, depending on where we live. So supplementing is important to consider, and dietary top-up support can come from: 

  • oily/fatty fish – mackerel, sardines and tuna are great (see my omega-3 recommendations below)
  • mushrooms – morel are great, if you can get them!
  • almond milk – go for a good brand, without any fillers or sweeteners
  • eggs – these do both provide a little vitamin D 

For vitamin D, my top tip is to get outside for at least 15 minutes every day if you can, with sleeves rolled up (even better, legs exposed in summer) and let the sun meet your skin. Once you’re done, grab your vitamin D spray and top up.

ivf-supplements-Omega-3

Omega-3

Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are proven to help protect both partners’ DNA from oxidative damage, plus support normal fertility and sperm production. They’re also essential for a growing baby’s development – particularly the brain – right from the earliest weeks. 

Similarly to vitamin D, it can be tricky to get sufficient omega-3 into our modern-day lifestyles and eating habits. You really do need to be eating a tonne of plant sources – particularly seeds – and two to three good portions of oily fish a week, to get the right amount.

So, supplementing is super-helpful. Read up here for more details and get your supplement ticked off with the Vital DHA with Omega 3 targeted formula, or as part of a support pack bundle, like this IVF-specific option.

best prenatal vitamins for ivf

Getting omega-3 from your food

It’s totally possible – you just have to be conscious about it, and plan your meals intentionally. The best omega-3 food sources come from: 

  • oily/fatty fish – mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon are particularly good sources, and provide some vitamin D too
  • walnuts and chia seeds – for a plant-based boost 

For omega-3, my top tip is to factor in a breakfast, lunch and dinner option each week which features oily fish. You could have smoked salmon with scrambled eggs for breakfast, mackerel pate with toast for lunch and baked salmon, garlicky-lemon potatoes and tenderstem broccoli for dinner, for example. 

Even better, add a fertility-boosting smoothie with a good tablespoon of chia seeds for a daily snack, and top your morning yogurt and fruit crumbles with a handful of walnuts. 

Anything else?

Alongside these core micronutrients and compounds, I also like to help IVF patients pack in a: 

  • targeted fertility multivitamin (for all baseline vitamin and mineral support) 
  • fertility-focused bacteria or probiotic supplement 
  • Kaneka CoQ10 supplement – catch my webinar for more on this superstar egg and sperm support
  • antioxidant boost, for egg and sperm quality support and tip-top immune function

All done? Head straight to Isabelle’s upcoming webinar booking page, for free access to a deep-dive session, Setting yourself up for IVF success in 2024 (25 January 2024, 8pm GMT)

We’ll see you there!

*TRB10 is valid once per customer only. Excludes subscription purchase. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Zita West terms of the site apply.

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