How to Boost Fertility Naturally with Diet and Supplements

Many people don’t realize how in control they are of their own fertility.

Infertility among men and women is very common. Today 6.1 Million women suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome the leading cause of infertility among women. [1]

About 6% of married women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States are unable to become pregnant even after one year of trying. 12% of women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

Another surprising statistic is that 40% of struggling couples fail to become pregnant due to the male partner. [2]

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of infertility cases have no identifiable cause. I suggest that the cause may be due to faulty dietary habits. 

Boosting your chances of fertility for both men and women is a combination of eating right and making better lifestyle choices.  

By following lifestyle habits that support a healthy nourishing environment for the cells to thrive, primarily by eating a diet rich in specific nutrients that have been studied to improve fertility, you increase the odds of becoming pregnant quickly and easily.

A study led by Sedigheh Ahmadi from the Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences Nutrition and Food Security Research Center concluded that the administration of specific nutritional supplements improved sperm concentrations, motility, morphology, and DNA integrity. [3] Specific nutrients also enhance fertility on the women end.

The following nutrients should form part of your daily diet or may be consumed through supplements to increase your odds of conceiving: 

Folic Acid 

Folic acid not only improves fertility in both men and women, but it also reduces the risk of congenital disabilities such as spina bifida in the newborn baby. For men, folic acid helps create red blood cells and boosts sperm count. Folic acid, one of the B-complex vitamins, can be found in beans, lentils, asparagus, spinach, and black beans. 

According to a study by AJ Gaskin from the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, intake of supplemental folic acid has been consistently related to a lower frequency of infertility, lower risk of pregnancy loss, and more considerable success with infertility treatment. [4]

Omega 3 Fatty Acids 

The body doesn’t naturally produce omega-3 fatty acids; therefore, you need to get its nutrients from the foods you eat or by supplementation. Studies have shown that omega-3 supplements help with embryo quality and development. Omega-3 also helps regulate hormones and improve blood flow to organs. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in soybeans, wild rice, walnuts, chia seeds or flax seeds, as well as wild Alaskan fish, mackerel or sardines.

Iron 

Because iron is responsible for making hemoglobin or the red protein responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood, it is essential for women trying to conceive and those already pregnant. When the body doesn’t have enough iron, tissues and organs won’t receive the oxygen they need to function properly. Iron can be supplemented in the form of iron bisglycinate which doesn’t cause constipation. Men do not need to supplement with this nutrient. Iron is found in foods including quinoa, pumpkin seeds, legumes, broccoli, tofu and even in dark bitter chocolate. 

Zinc

Zinc boosts ovulation and fertility in women and improves semen and testosterone production in men. Therefore, impaired sperm production is often linked to zinc deficiency. Foods rich in zinc include all types of seeds, for example, sesame seeds, watermelon seeds and pumpkin seeds. These are a great snack and can be bought roasted at any health food store. Also garlic, dark chocolate, and chickpeas are rich in zinc.

Antioxidants 

Antioxidants are naturally found in fresh fruits and vegetables. They neutralize free radicals and minimize the adverse effects that come from being exposed to them. When it comes to fertility, antioxidants offer many benefits for men and women. Free radicals have been linked to damage to the reproductive system, affecting men’s sperm count and motility and in females, the health of the ovum (egg). Reproductive organs and glands that produce reproductive hormones are also susceptible to free radical damage. For fertility, the reproductive organs, the ovum, and sperm must function at their best. DNA may also be altered by free radical damage. Damaged DNA may cause miscarriages or congenital disabilities or developmental problems for the future baby. 

Potent antioxidants include:

Coenzyme Q10 –

The levels of this antioxidant naturally decline with age, so supplementation is helpful, especially if you are above 35. A study in Fertility and Sterility shared that CoQ10 helped to increase the sperm motility in semen. CoQ10 is found in spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, peanuts, and soybeans, so be sure you are consuming these foods regularly to ensure you are getting enough. Supplementation is also an option. Several studies show that CoQ10 supplementation increases egg and sperm health. CoQ10 is regenerated by the antioxidant nutrients vitamin E and Lipoic Acid.

Vitamin E –

A deficiency in vitamin E in male rats has been shown to lead to infertility, and their sperm became immobile. Additionally, the female rats had higher rates of miscarriages. Vitamin E is found in Almonds, Spinach. Sweet Potato, Avocado, Sunflower seeds and Butternut squash. 

Lipoic acid –

Lipoic acid helps protect the female reproductive organs and has been shown to improve sperm quality and motility. Lipoic acid is found in potatoes, spinach, broccoli, yams, tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, carrots, beets, and whole grain rice. 

Glutathione –

Lipoic acid regenerates glutathione, another potent antioxidant. So the best way to increase glutathione levels is to consume foods rich in lipoic acid or to supplement with100mg of lipoic acid a day.

Vitamin C –

Vitamin C is another antioxidant that has been shown in men to improve sperm quality and protect sperm from DNA damage; helping to reduce the chance of miscarriage and chromosomal problems. Vitamin C also appears to keep sperm from clumping together, making them more motile. In women, vitamin C improves hormone levels and increases fertility. Vitamin C is found in red peppers, broccoli, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, and citrus fruit. Vitamin C is also regenerated by vitamin E, glutathione, and Lipoic Acid, so all of the antioxidant-rich foods mentioned previously will also influence vitamin C levels.

Examples of more antioxidant-rich foods that improve fertility include Goji berries, Wild blueberries, Dark chocolate, Pecans, Boiled Artichokes, Elderberries, Kidney beans, Cranberries. 

Reduction of Animal Products from Diet 

Research shows that a diet rich in protein, particularly animal protein, significantly reduces testosterone levels among healthy women, affecting normal reproductive function. [5] Women need healthy levels of testosterone as it encourages cervical mucus that promotes fertility. 

Dairy has also been linked to infertility in women who have a sensitivity to lactose and casein, both of which are present in dairy products. When a woman who is lactose intolerant eats dairy, her gut may become inflamed, increasing mucus production in the digestive and reproductive systems. When the mucus in the reproductive system becomes excessive, the sperm will have an arduous journey within the uterus and the fallopian tubes to the egg. 

Studies have also found that milk and dairy products are a significant source of animal-derived estrogens. Estrogen dominance has been linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which disrupts women’s ovulation cycle, dramatically decreasing their chances of conception. High estrogen levels in men also affect their fertility as it leads to low libido and erectile dysfunction. 

Conclusion

Both men and women can take control of their fertility by making better lifestyle choices and eating fertility promoting foods. And with proper supplementation, you can address any nutritional deficiencies while also promoting fertility.

References

[1] www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/infertility.html#f

[2] www.reproductivefacts.org/detail.aspx?id=2322

[3] Int J Reprod Biomed (Yazd). 2016 Dec; 14(12): 729–736.

[4] Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Aug 24. pii: S0002-9378(17)30945-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.08.010

[5] S.L. Mumford, A. Alohali, J. Wactawski-Wende. doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.07.005

 

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