Supplements are widely available and can help with everything from A to Z. But there are some supplements that are specifically targeted to boost your fertility.
In general, most women should start these supplements about 2 to 3 months prior to trying to get pregnant. This is because the typical lifecycle of an egg is about 120 days. Supplements can help improve egg quality, which is strongly linked to success in achieving a pregnancy, and lowering the chances of a miscarriage.
Here is a list of some supplements to consider when you are trying to get pregnant.
Please note that you should always consult with your physician to determine which supplements are right for you.
- Prenatal Vitamins: contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are important for ovulation, egg quality and sustaining a pregnancy. Folate in prenatal vitamins is important in helping cells divide in early pregnancy, and necessary to prevent neural tube defects in the baby. All women who are trying to get pregnant should be taking a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.
- CoEnzyme Q10: (aka CoQ10 or Ubiquinol) is a potent antioxidant that prevents cellular damage. It is particularly important in women to help reduce damage to the oocytes. As women age, their egg quality declines due to uncontrollable factors. CoEnzymeQ10 helps reduce further oxidative damage to the remaining pool of oocytes (eggs).
- Vitamin D: Low vitamin D levels (Vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency) has been linked to a higher risk fo infertility or recurrent miscarriage. Therefore, it is important to have your vitamin D levels checked, and supplement with the appropriate amount of vitamin D. Improving your vitamin D levels can improve of your fertility and your chances of carrying a pregnancy to term.
- DHEA: This is a hormone made by the adrenal gland that should be used with caution. Only women with severe diminished ovarian reserve (low egg quantity) should take this supplement, and it should be under the guidance of your physician. This supplement can help improve growth of follicles and improve outcomes in women undergoing IVF.
- N-acetylcysteine: (aka NAC) An antioxidant that has been helpful in women with endometriosis and PCOS in improving egg quality and ovulation. This supplement can also help decrease oxidative damage to oocytes.
- Alpha lipoic acid: (aka ALA) Another supplement that has strong antioxidant effects. ALA is particularly helpful in women with endometriosis and can also help regulate menstrual cycles. In coupes undergoing IVF, it can improve egg maturation, fertilization rates and embryo development.
- Myo-inositol: This is a part of the B family of vitamins and is helpful in women who do not ovulate, such as those with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This supplement can help improve ovulation rates and regulate the menstrual cycles. Recently, studies have demonstrated that myo-inositol improves egg quality, and IVF outcomes.
Supplements are helpful, but in no way are they a substitute for a healthy lifestyle.
A diet that is rich in antioxidants and whole foods is also incredibly important when trying to conceive. Women should avoid processed foods and fast foods. Instead focus on foods rich in healthy fats, fiber, and nutrient dense foods.
Lifestyle plays a role as well. Women should not smoke cigarettes, should limit alcohol and caffeine intake and should exercise at least 3 times a week.
The cumulative effect of supplements, diet, and lifestyle modifications, can make a difference in your chances of getting pregnant, particularly in women over the age of 30.
I am a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility physician and Ob/Gyn who has been treating infertility patients since 2014. I have a boutique private practice in Orange County, and focus on providing patients with the most personalized approach to fertility care.
After graduating cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Irvine, I received my medical degree from University of South Alabama, College of Medicine where I graduated in the top of her class.
I then completed my residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Southern California. There I received tremendous experience in all facets of Obstetrics and Gynecology, but specifically had an interest in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. I continued my medical training and pursued a subspecialty in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School.
After my fellowship, I moved back to my hometown in Orange County and practiced at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, as well as Eden Centers for Advanced Fertility in Newport Beach.
But I was passionate about providing my patients with the most personalized approach to fertility services and treatments, and therefore I opened up my own practice in 2020. My practice mission is to ensure patients feel comfortable and cared for, since infertility treatments can be overwhelming.