What are the key nutrients for fertility, and how do they work?
Important fertility-boosting antioxidant nutrients include vitamin C with citrus bioflavonoids, vitamin E and alpha lipoic acid.
They protect against oxidative stress which has been found to impact maternal DNA and egg quality, explains Jenny.
“It is always best to make sure you’re taking a supplement with several different antioxidant nutrients as opposed to just one, due to their synergistic activity.”
It’s pretty well-known that periconceptional folic acid is essential to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, making it one of the most famous nutrients for fertility.
However, folic acid supplementation is also associated with improved egg and embryo quality.
“Folates (B9 when in food, or folic acid as a supplement) work with vitamin B12 to keep homocysteine in check. Elevated homocysteine is associated with lowered fertility outcomes.”
Known for its role in thyroid function and metabolism, iodine plays an important role in brain development and function, as well as fertility.
“Iodine plays a super important role in ovarian function and is also avidly taken up by the endometrium. Deficiency has therefore been associated with reduced fertility and conception rates.”
Maintaining our iron levels can often be a bit of a balancing act. And if you’re vegetarian or vegan, getting enough from diet alone can get tricky – but it’s crucial for fertility.
“Iron is a necessary component in blood haemoglobin to allow the carriage of oxygen to the cells, it regulates the immune system and plays a role in the ovarian production of healthy eggs.”
In addition to the protective effect of selenium in its role as an antioxidant nutrient, Jenny explains that selenium helps to protect maternal DNA and supports your dominant follicle during ovulation.
“In addition, after ovulation selenium supports the endometrium as it prepares for implantation”
This one is often overlooked, but zinc is as important as magnesium in health, as well as being a major key player in female fertility.
“Zinc is an antioxidant nutrient, which also plays a role in regulating immunity, glucose metabolism, and normal cell division. Further, the ovaries are sites of dense zinc accumulation necessary for the formation of the follicles and egg development.”