6 supplements you need for fertility prep

Apr 30, 2021

Let's talk about fertility preparation.  

Trying to conceive means preparing your body and mind. For some couples, conceiving a child may be easy. On the other hand, other couples may have a more challenging time that may result from underlying health problems.

I'd like to oversimplify fertility preparation into four main things:

  • Hormone balance
  • Egg and sperm quality
  • The timing of intercourse during ovulation (as covered in this episode)
  • Mucous quality 

As mentioned in this episode about testing your hormones, hormone imbalance is just a secondary effect. If you've been feeling weird and tired the past few months, it's time to get your hormones checked. 

Hormone imbalance can be attributed to the following issues: 

  • Gut issues
  • Blood sugar issues
  • Micronutrient deficiencies
  • Detoxification
  • Stress

Check out this episode as I talk more about stress and hormones.  

Supplementing isn't "a must" in fertility preparation, but it can help the body improve the quality of egg cells, sperm cells, and hormone balance.  

I want to emphasize how important it is to consume a wide variety of foods - think, eating the rainbow! When trying to level - up your health.

I talk more about fertility preparation in episode 167 of the Less Stressed podcast; but, before you hop on to listen to the show, I want to share the following nutrients you need to improve your and your partner's fertility. 

  1. coQ10. Coenzyme 10 is beneficial for both men and women in supplementing fertility. Coq10 helps decrease free radicals in our body. Studies show Coq10 increases motility, sperm count, morphology in men.
  2. Selenium protects the body from heavy metals and is needed in the proper function of the immune system. Selenium deficiency in the early stages of pregnancy is proven to be a predictor of low infant weight and may lead to miscarriage and other gestational complications. Sperm quality deteriorates if a man has a selenium deficiency.
  3. Vitamin E is beneficial for the overall reproductive health of men and women. Vitamin E's antioxidant properties improve sperm quality in men. 
  4. Omega 3. Omega 3 supplementation supports women as they go through aging. You can get Omega 3 from flaxseed or fish oil. 
  5. N-acetyl cysteine. This anti-oxidant helps in improving insulin resistance, restores hormone balance, fights inflammation, and helps your liver. 
  6. Inositol. This vitamin-like carbohydrate can aid in improving bodily processes such as insulin sensitivity, decrease anxiousness, and reduce symptoms of depression.  

There you have it, a round-up of the six supplements you want to consider when prepping your body to conceive!

Scroll down to listen to the "Fertility prep" episode or to read the podcast transcript.

 

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

This episode is sponsored by a full circle. Prenatal full circle is the only prenatal on the market that has the most effective research-based doses of everything you need before, during, and after pregnancy. you can get a discount on your order at fullcircleprenatal.com with code "less stressed". When I think about fertility prep, I personally oversimplify it to a couple of things. First is overall hormone balance, which I'll come back to in a moment. And second is egg and sperm quality. I was recently discussing this with a couple that countered saying, well, what's the big deal with egg and sperm quality. It's just a cell, right? But when you think about a cell, cells, don't have babies, they divide. So a diseased cell makes more diseased and damaged cells. Our body has a mechanism for dealing with disease to the cells called autophagy, where it cleans up damaged and disease cells. So they don't replicate and create more damaged and disease cells.

So this is important in, you could imagine more than just fertility, egg and sperm quality is affected about 90 to 100 days in advance of conception or fertilization of the egg, because the egg is a cell things that support cell quality also support egg quality, including coenzyme Q 10 selenium antioxidants that include alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin C and E and N-acetyl cysteine as well as inositol. Now you don't need to supplement with all of these things, but in general, you want to ensure you're consuming a diverse diet and you're digesting and absorbing nutrients very well now because you can't see inside of your body necessarily. It can be kind of hard to know that you're doing this very well.

But if you, I would say, if you have gas or bloating, you're probably not doing this very well. And this actually leads me to the second point, which includes all the things that affect hormone balance, overall hormone balance, just like a skin issue or an undesired weight gain is not really a root cause. These are secondary symptoms of some primary root cause as an aside, some food-based sources of coq10 include organ meats, oily fish, and whole grains sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, just a few per day. And sources of N-acetylcysteine include meats, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, wheat, German, oat flakes, and vitamin E is also in wheat germ, organ meats, eggs, nuts, and cold-pressed vegetable oils. So on to that second point, the first point was egg and sperm quality.

Second point was overall hormone balance. Here are the things that are root causes for hormone issues and imbalances. There are five things. The first is gut issues, which are going to directly affect nutrient digestion and absorption of nutrients overall. Plus GI issues, a bottleneck sex hormones like estrogen from proper metabolism and elimination, which may suppress progesterone the sex hormone. That's absolutely essential to preserving pregnancy. And often you'll see progesterone checked in those that have had trouble getting pregnant in the past. The second thing that affects hormones is blood sugar issues. Third micronutrient deficiencies, which goes back to both diet diversity and gut health, fourth detoxification and fifth stress because your body tells your ovaries what kind of hormones or how the production is going to go. Now, I think what we really like to glaze over is stress as if it's not a problem. And unfortunately, that is our first problem.

Our lack of awareness will lead to chronically elevated stress hormones when they should increase just acutely. So in general, cortisol should increase over a little while and then decrease after 90 minutes. But if we continue to have and push on stress and it's elevated long-term, this is chronically elevated. So stress hormones are high and our body pulls resources away from fertility and applies them to other situations. So our body's going to read stress as both emotional and physical stress, but also disruptions to sleep or chronically good at getting less than seven to nine hours of sleep, any kind of messy circadian rhythm or exposure to light in general. When I think about my introduction to egg and sperm quality, I think back to my friend ALA farmer, who I've known for years, who's actually the sponsor of this episode with her product full-circle prenatal.

And I think I've known her since the well before the beginning of my private practice. And in 2018, I invited her to speak on prenatal or fertility health at our state dietetic association meeting. And it's been imprinted probably in my brain since that time about egg and sperm quality, really being the bulk, so to speak of fertility work. So I said, I'm oversimplifying with egg and sperm quality and to overall the things that affect hormones as kind of an umbrella. But if we want to add to the list of things that need to be in place for great fertility, we could also add timing of intercourse during ovulation or ovulation in general, which we covered in last week's episode with my friend, Kaylee, McDevitt, healthy cervical mucus, this embryonic and fetal development, and even miscarry prevention, which is almost another mini episode podcast topic and its own.

You can get pregnant six days per month up to five days before ovulation. And one day after ovulation, even though there are many ways to check for ovulation, including checking cervical mucus for egg white type consistency and basal body temperature, you can also use ovulation strips. And I do usually like people to use ovulation strips when we're trying to really validate something, uh, validate ovulation, like figure out timing for our hormone testing and less, the woman is super in tune with her body with multiple assessment tools. I should mention here that PCOS is one cause of false positives on ovulation strips because PCFS causes surges in LH, which is what causes a positive ovulation test as the body tries to kind of pick itself up and produce enough hormones at the right time. Since I talked about the nutrients that impact egg quality, it makes sense to briefly touch on the things that also affect sperm quality, unlike eggs, you get new sperm every couple of months while women's reproductive systems are much more complex.

Men do not have quite as much complexity and I could boil down the things for supporting sperm, sperm quality to mostly antioxidants. Now, first we have to reduce oxidative stress or think of it like rust ffor perm or any kind of cell and oxidative stress can happen from different types of infections, like unknown dental infections, which I think can be much more common than you expect. So please underline that one kidney or urinary tract infections, in addition to a variety of other stressors that might include marijuana or alcohol use or overall stress and thyroid health. So your provider or doctor should always rule out all types of infection, potential as well as anatomical issues for males. But sperm quality is enhanced by antioxidants, vitamin C and E vitamin D zinc selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Our best sources of antioxidants are very colorful plant foods on that note foods that will support fertility include eggs and liver for their source of Choline, dark leafy greens for all the antioxidant fully and minerals, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts for the sulforaphane for estrogen detox, to give you a progesterone or happy hormone, the best chance for thriving, which is essential for pregnancy high quality meats and bone broth or collagen for essential amino acids that are useful for so many things like hormone and neurotransmitter production. In addition to detoxification and adrenal health, nuts seeds and oily fish as sources of omega-3 fatty acids and minerals like zinc and magnesium and seaweed or dulse flakes, because I had, I needs increased significantly with pregnancy up to 50% and kelp or dulse flakes are one of the richest sources of iodine. And of course, colorful plants for antioxidants looks like just a healthy, diverse diet. Sometimes it's nice to know what to focus on that will give you the best bang for your buck. And also a mental checklist to see if you're incorporating these foods very much at the moment and where to adjust fertility goes beyond conception. A high-quality prenatal is a targeted multivitamin that can support you beyond preconception pregnancy and postpartum. It's about getting the right nutrients in the right form that really count.

You might notice that today's episode sponsor full-circle prenatal has a lot of the nutrients I mentioned in this episode as being important for fertility prep, including iodine from kelp inositol in the best form called myo-inositol selenium and zinc. And chelated versions of these minerals, which is excellent for absorption vitamin C E foliate and Choline. Did you know that up to 95% of women enter pregnancy without proper Coleen stores, which is seriously one of my favorite underrated nutrients for skin liver, brain health, but it's also essential for preventing neural tube defects in developing babies, even though full circle, prenatal is packing big, effective doses backed by research.

It's so gentle and bioavailable because the creator has carefully curated the forms of nutrients that are best absorbed and used by your body. This means you're taking care of you, your future baby, or your current baby without the queasy stomach that you'll find in some other products, head over to full circle, prenatal.com to learn more and use the code less stress to get a discount on your order. And as always all good discount codes can be found also on my [email protected] forward slash shop.

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