Estrogen. Progesterone. Ovulation. Fertile windows. Cycle monitoring.
The process of conception for many TTC couples can be confusing with the many factors that add up to a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
Here are the top 5 nutrients to naturally support your fertility journey:
1) Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in high amounts in small oily fish such as anchovies and sardines. These fats are anti-inflammatory and promote overall healthy cells and cell function. In fertility, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to prolong reproductive lifespan and improve egg quality. Most studies, however, focus on omega-3 consumption in diet over time and not necessarily supplementation.
IN SHORT: Omega-3 fatty acid supplements can be helpful, but the best evidence is to eat a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids by adding in foods like small fish, nuts, and seeds.
CoQ10 is a molecular cofactor involved in many metabolic processes and is critical for energy production in cells. CoQ10 also has strong evidence for improving egg and sperm quality in partners trying to conceive.
Depending on your case, CoQ10 dosage and form may vary. CoQ10 is another one of the nutrients that have many benefits besides supporting fertility.
N-acetyl cysteine, or NAC, is a potent antioxidant used for immune support, respiratory conditions, and metabolic conditions. NAC is another antioxidant that has been shown to benefit egg quality and conception in the case of natural and ART pregnancies.
Gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, is an omega-6 oil derived from herb such as Evening Primrose or Borage oil. Its role in hormone regulation and egg quality make it a great addition to many fertility support regimens.
Prenatal vitamins, like its namesake suggests, are a collection of vitamins and minerals that support conception in partners TTC. Simple, right?
Not all prenatals are created equal. Depending on your case and tolerance, there may be some vitamins that you may need more or less of to support your optimal fertility, especially when going through ART and hormone therapy.
SOONER THAN LATER: Prenatal vitamins are not only to be taken prenatally, that is, before birth, but also before conception. Prenatal vitamins contain the elevated amounts of folate/folic acid that decrease the risk of neural tube defects. If you start taking them after confirming pregnancy, most of the benefits of the folate and the other nutrients will be missed. When TTC or not, many folks may be suggested to take prenatal vitamins during their reproductive years.
Just like the amount of different nutrients needed, there are many other factors involved in a successful fertility journey. Having the right lifestyle, nutrition, habits, and mindset are all necessary for a healthy, happy full-term pregnancy. Experts in your integrative fertility care can advocate for your health at every stage of your pregnancy.