Fertility more then just folate
After attending a recent conference on Perinatal Health, I was reminded about how important health status of both men and women is before conception. This post is intended to get you thinking about the vitamins and minerals needed bring you closer to your goal of conceiving.
In many healthy individuals taking is a prenatal vitamin, is often considered all the preparation needed.
In current society where nutrient content of food is sometimes less then optimal, environmental exposures require more vitamins and nutrients to carry out normal body functions like detoxification, it is important to shift the focus to health optimization.
Current research has demonstrated the following vitamins, minerals and amino acids as playing a important roll in fertility.
Vitamins B6 & B12 – (in their active forms) are both required by the methylation pathways within the body, they play a big role in insuring DNA being passed on in egg or the sperm is healthy.
Folate – aside from the well known benefit of preventing neuro tube defects, the active form of folate protects the DNA during the rapid process of cell division that takes place in the first few weeks after conception.
Vitamin C – as well as being an antioxidant, studies have shown that vitamin C improves progesterone levels, a hormone that is essential for ovulation and pregnancy maintenance.
Vitamin D – deficiency is linked to metabolic and endocrine disturbances, correcting deficiency prior to conception will support healthy hormone production. In males vitamin D is positively linked to sperm sperm quality.
Vitamin E – provides a protective benefit to reproductive cells, both eggs and sperm.
Minerals – including zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium. These minerals play a role as cofactors in enzymatic pathways that protect reproductive organs from damage.
Amino Acid – Cysteine – specifically N-acetyl cysteine has tons of research demonstrating improvment in ovulation and pregnancy rates in women (especially those who have polycystic ovarian syndrome), plus it’s a precursor for glutathione (discussed next).
Antioxidants – especially Glutathione provides protection of eggs (both fertilized or not) from reactive oxygen species (ROS), which although are a normal part of metabolism can have a negative impact on the body when antioxidants are deficient.
While this doesn’t mean head the the store to pick up all of these supplements, it is in your best interest to discuss options with your Health Practitioner or Naturopathic Doctor, when thinking about conception. There are many dietary and lifestyle ways to optimize your fertility.