6 Things You Didn’t Know About How Zinc and Vitamin D Affect Fertility

Eloise Edington  |   25 Feb 2022

Conception vitamins, and two star players to get you started

Making sure you are getting the right nutrients in the right quantities helps your body prepare to conceive.  Two important conception vitamins and minerals when trying to get pregnant are zinc and vitamin D.  But do you know why these are important nutrients and how they support fertility in men and women?

With Proceive (view their partner profile here), we take a look at how and why zinc and vitamin D are essential in supporting fertility.  Proceive® Conception is a range of tailored fertility and preconception nutritional supplements specifically-formulated for both men and women by fertility experts.

The Proceive® Conception range contains ingredients that have been clinically shown to support fertility parameters.  Visit the Proceive website here.

Read on to find out how zinc and vitamin D support fertility.

Words by Holly Pigache

1. How does zinc impact men’s fertility?

Zinc is a good quality antioxidant and is one of the most important trace minerals for male fertility, playing a vital role in sperm volume, structure and functioning.  Increasing levels of zinc in men has been linked with a greater volume of sperm, improved sperm structure and enhanced sperm functioning.

In fact, zinc is essential in the construction of sperm, helping to form the outer membrane and the tail.  Without zinc, conception is unlikely because the sperm simply won’t be strong enough to travel to the egg or fertilise it.

Lower levels of zinc in men have been connected to DNA fragmentation (sperm defects) – a common issue for many men, particularly those eating a Western diet.

2. What is zinc’s role in female fertility?

Studies have shown that once a sperm fuses to an egg, the female body gives a quick release of zinc which activates fertilisation and helps harden the zona pellucida (ZP – the protective protein shell that surrounds the egg).  The formation of the ZP is essential for:

  • successful fertilisation
  • preventing other sperm from penetrating the egg
  • correct embryo development
  • preventing implantation in the fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy)

3. Have a zinc-rich diet to support fertility

It’s important to have a healthy diet for fertility and prepare and cook food in a way that won’t reduce the zinc-content in your meals any further.

Unfortunately, the Western diet is not zinc-friendly.  Much of our food is grown in poor-quality soil (which strips the food grown in it of important minerals like zinc) and we are overly-reliant on processed food.

However, there are things you can do to naturally enhance the levels of zinc in your diet:

  • Avoid smoking and cigarette smoke as chemicals in cigarette smoke are absorbed into zinc receptor cells.
  • Similarly, alcohol inhibits the body’s absorption of zinc, so avoid drinking alcohol for at least three months before actively TTC.
  • Eat foods that are rich sources of zinc, on a weekly basis.  Oysters, fish, raw pumpkin and sesame seeds and tahini are all good sources of zinc.  As are: lamb’s liver, beef, lamb, venison, yoghurt, turkey, green peas and shrimp.
  • Eat zinc-rich food raw if it is safe to do so.  This is because heating and cooking can reduce zinc content in a food by 50%.

Enjoy 20% off Proceive fertility supplements when entering code FHH20 at checkout.

If the zinc-rich foods don’t appeal, a high-quality fertility supplement might be the answer.  Ensure your daily preconception supplement contains at least 15 to 30mg of zinc to support your trying to conceive efforts.

4. What is vitamin D?

We all know we need around 15 minutes of exposure to the sun to help our body produce vitamin D, but did you know that vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin?  It’s a prohormone or a precursor of a hormone.

Vitamin D has important roles in the body, such as:

  • contributing to the normal function of the immune system
  • maintaining bone, teeth and muscle quality
  • playing a part in cell division
  • absorbing essential vitamins and minerals calcium and phosphorus.

It’s one of those conception vitamins you’ll see thrown about a lot in tips and guidance. So getting yourself a nifty spray bottle now – or looking for it in a great quality multi – gives you added reassurance (and nutrition points).

5. What foods contain vitamin D?

Absorbing enough vitamin D is important, particularly when preparing your body to try to conceive or going through fertility treatment.

It’s a fact, however, that many of the most crucial conception vitamins and minerals are increasingly hard to come by, through diet and lifestyle alone, including vitamin D.

Many of us don’t get enough time outdoors, with ample exposure to sunlight, consistently across the year. And while diet and certain foods can support vitamin D intake, its impact is limited. Very often, we do need to supplement with vitamin D, to keep our levels topped up.

Some good food sources of Vitamin D do include:

  • oily fish (mackerel and salmon)
  • egg yolk
  • liver
  • butter and dairy products

All supplements in the Proceive range contain vitamin D.

6. What is vitamin D’s role in fertility?

Research has shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and miscarriage, preterm birth and reduced production of sex hormones in women.  More recently, researchers have discovered that expectant mothers with high levels of vitamin D are less likely to have pregnancy complications (like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia).

If you’re wondering what conception vitamins and supplements to take when trying to conceive, Proceive Conception® is a specially formulated range of fertility and preconception nutritional supplements for men and women. Proceive has been developed by fertility experts using ingredients with clinical science supporting its impact on fertility parameters.

To receive 20% off Proceive fertility supplements, enter code FHH20 at checkout.

Don’t miss our IG Live with Proceive on Tuesday 29th March, 5PM UK time.  Follow us here to watch.

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