With more and more couples struggling to conceive, many women are looking for ways to improve their fertility chances.
And according to Tanya Tanzillo, a functional medicine practitioner at the Center for Holistic Medicine who treats many women dealing with infertility, one of the best things you can do is to take natural supplements that can help aid in cell function.
“Fertility is a really complex process that involves lots of different systems in your body, but ultimately, it’s important that your cells are functioning properly so that your body can produce the highest quality eggs and so that a fertilized egg can develop the way its supposed to,” she says.
Here are seven supplements that Tanzillo usually recommends that women take when they are trying to improve their fertility. However, it’s best to check with a doctor before taking any of these to determine the right dosage.
When Tanzillo sees a patient for infertility, she’ll usually start by testing their overall thyroid function as well as their iron levels. Iron deficiencies have been shown to cause poor egg health and an increase in infertility. For a good source of iron, Tanzillo recommends you eat red meat once a week as well as lots of green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Tanzillo also says vitamin C helps you absorb iron, so she suggests squeezing some lemon juice over your spinach salad.
Made from the fruit of the chaste tree, this herb was originally used by monks in the Middle Ages to decrease sexual desire, and is commonly used now to treat irregular menstrual cycles, PMS symptoms, infertility and more.
- Vitamin B
Vitamin B is a key component of cell function and is commonly depleted by free radicals, which can come up in our everyday lives from things like cigarette smoke, pollution, unsaturated oils, alcohol and more. That’s why taking a B vitamin is so important, especially for fertility. In fact, in one study (lacking a placebo controlled group), 14 women, ages 23 to 31, had PMS and had been infertile for 18 months to 7 years. They were given vitamin B6 for 6 months for relief of their PMS symptoms, and 12 of the 14, 86%, were able to conceive.
- Vitamin D
Tanzillo is a big fan of Vitamin D, which is another vital component of cell function. Tanzillo says many people who live in the Midwest, where it’s cold and dark much of the year, are deficient in their Vitamin D levels, which is why she usually recommends that patients take an added supplement.
If you’re looking to get pregnant, you may want to increase the amount of zinc in your diet. According to a 2018 study from Pennsylvania State University, zinc deficiencies in mice were shown to have a negative affect on egg development. Adult women are supposed to consume 8 milligrams of zinc per day, and 12 if they are pregnant or lactating, but the study’s lead author recommends women who are trying to conceive take the higher amount.
Selenium may only be a trace element in foods, but it can play an important role in conceiving. In fact, selenium deficiencies may lead to gestational complications and miscarriages, as well as to decreased sperm quality in men. “Brazil nuts are usually a good source of selenium,” Tanzillo says.
We’ve all heard that probiotics are good for your gut health, but did you know that they can improve your chances of getting pregnant as well? Tanzillo says probiotics help balance out the acidity of your vaginal canal, which may play a factor in conception.
Curious about other things that may improve your fertility? Here are five natural things you can do to improve fertility, and, if you’ve already started fertility treatments, seven things you can do to boost your IVF success.
If you are looking for more help fertility help without undergoing fertility treatments, schedule an appointment with Tanzillo today, where she can evaluate your thyroid function, look at your anemia levels and iron counts and also provide additional lifestyle suggestions to maximize your fertility chances.