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Dietary Nutrients and Supplements for Fertility & IVF

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Friday, March 28, 2008 | 3 comments

Modern farming practices, your diet, and your lifestyle, may require that you supplement with certain nutrients to optimize fertility.

Amino Acids
The building blocks of life. Necessary for egg and sperm production. It is an amino acid involved in cellular replication and protein synthesis. Some healthcare practitioners will recommend amino acids such as l-arginine to enhance fertility.


Caution: HERPES VIRUS: Theoretically, L-arginine might exacerbate this condition. Preliminary evidence suggests that L-arginine may be necessary for viral replication.


Dietary sources: protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, lentils, peas, beans, nuts, brown rice, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and quinoa.


Vitamin A
A fat soluble vitamin essential for the production of female sex hormones. It has antioxidant qualities which protects cells against damage from free radicals in the body. It also is important for the developing embryo. Retinol (the version of vitamin A found in liver) has been linked to fetal abnormalities.


Also affects the bones, eyes, hair, skin, soft tissue, teeth, soft tissue reproduction and repair, infection resistance, and purple spectrum for night vision.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of vitamins C, E, and Zinc.

For proper absorption avoid: alcohol, coffee, cortisone, excessive iron, mineral oil, vitamin D deficiency.


Deficiency symptoms: allergies, appetite loss, blemishes, dry hair, fatigue, itching burning eyes, loss of smell, night blindness, rough dry skin, sinus trouble, soft tooth enamel, and susceptibility to infections.


Dietary sources: eggs, yellow fruits and vegetables, whole milk and milk products, dark green leafy veggies, liver, and cod liver oil.


Vitamin B1 (thiamin)

Needed for ovulation and implantation. Also affects brain, ears, eyes, hair, heart, nervous system, appetite, blood building, carbohydrate metabolism, circulation, digestion, energy, growth, learning capacity, muscles of the heart, intestines, and stomach.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of B complex and Manganese.


For proper absorption avoid: alcohol, coffee, fevers, raw clams, excess sugar, stress, surgery, tobacco.


Deficiency symptoms: appetite loss, digestive disturbances, fatigue, irritability, nervousness, numbness of hands and feet, pain and noise sensitivity, pains around heart, shortness of breath.


Dietary sources: pineapple, molasses, brewer's yeast, whole grains, nuts, brown rice, organ and other meats, egg yolks, fish, poultry, legumes, and seeds.


Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Water soluble. Deficiencies are linked to sterility, miscarriage, and low birth weight. The liver uses B2 to clear away old used hormones (estrogen and progesterone). If these are not excreted, the body thinks there is enough and less production happens, resulting in hormone deficiencies.


Also affects eyes, hair nails, skin, soft body tissues, antibody and red blood cell formation, cell respiration, metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of B complex and phosphorus.


For proper absorption avoid: alcohol, coffee, sugar, tobacco.


Deficiency symptoms: cataracts, corner of mouth cracks and sores, dizziness, itching burning eyes , poor digestion, retarded growth, and red sore tongue.


Dietary sources: molasses, brewer's yeast, whole grains, nuts, brown rice, organ and other meats, egg yolks, fish, poultry, legumes, and seeds.


Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

Water soluble. Important for fetal development, adrenal growth, digestive tract, nerves, skin, antibody formation, conversion of carbohydrates fats and proteins into energy, growth stimulation, and vitamin utilization.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of B complex vitamins.

For proper absorption avoid: alcohol and coffee.


Deficiency symptoms: diarrhea, duodenal ulcers, eczema, hypoglycemia, intestinal disorders, kidney trouble, loss of hair, muscle cramps, premature aging, respiratory infections, restlessness, nerve problems, sore feet, and vomiting.


Dietary sources: molasses, brewer's yeast, whole grains, nuts, brown rice, organ and other meats, egg yolks, fish, poultry, legumes, seeds, wheat germ, salmon, sweet potatoes, broccoli, oranges, cashews, pecans, and strawberries.


Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Water soluble. Together with zinc, B6 is essential for the formation of female sex hormones and the proper functioning of estrogen and progesterone. A deficiency causes the ovaries to shut down production of progesterone which leads to estrogen dominance. B6 is used to treat luteal phase defects because of it encourages the production of progesterone. It also has shown to improve fertility rates if taken over a 6 month period.


Also used for blood, muscles, nerves, skin, antibody formation, digestion, fat and protein utilization, and maintains sodium-potassium balance for proper nerve function.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of B complex vitamins.


For proper absorption avoid: alcohol, birth control pills coffee, radiation exposure, tobacco.


Deficiency symptoms: acne, anemia arthritis, convulsions in babies, depression, dizziness, hair loss, irritability, learning disabilities, weakness.


Dietary sources: molasses, brewer's yeast, whole grains, nuts, brown rice, organ and other meats, egg yolks, fish, poultry, legumes, seeds, and green leafy veggies.


Vitamin B12

Water soluble. Folate and B12 are needed for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. These make up the blueprint for the genetic code of the entire body. Also used for blood cell formation, cell longevity, healthy nervous system, and the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of B complex vitamins and B6.


For proper absorption avoid: alcohol, coffee, laxatives, tobacco.


Deficiency symptoms: general weakness, nervousness, pernicious anemia, walking and speaking difficulties.


Dietary sources: lamb, sardines, salmon, fermented foods that contain bacteria. Calcium aids in its absorption.


Folate (folic acid, B9)

Water soluble. This should be taken for at least 3 months before conception, and 2 months after. It reduces the risk of neural-tube damage (brain and spinal cord) in the developing embryo. Vitamin C aids in absorption. The contraceptive pill depletes stores of folate.


Also used for red blood cell formation, glands, liver, appetite, body growth and reproduction, hydrochloric acid production, and protein metabolism.
For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of B complex vitamins and B12.


For proper absorption avoid: alcohol, coffee, stress, tobacco.


Deficiency symptoms: anemia, digestive disturbances, graying hair, growth problems.


Dietary sources: dark green leafy veggies, broccoli, organ meats, brewer's yeast, root vegetables, whole grains, oysters, salmon, milk, legumes, asparagus, oatmeal, dried figs, and avacados.


Vitamin C

An antioxidant that prevents damage from free radicals. Too high a dose (over 1000 mg per day) may dry cervical mucus. Beneficial during IVF treatment.


Also used for bone and tooth formation, collagen production, digestion, iodine conservation, healing burns and wounds, red blood cell formation, prevention of hemorrhaging, shock and infection resistance, antioxidant.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of calcium and magnesium.

For proper absorption avoid: antibiotics, aspirin, cortisone, high fever, stress, tobacco.


Deficiency symptoms: anemia, bleeding gums, capillary wall ruptures, bruise easily, dental cavities, low infection resistance, nosebleeds, poor digestion.

Sources: citrus fruits, rosehips, cherries, sprouted alfalfa seeds, cantaloupe, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet peppers, black currants, mangos, grapes, kiwi fruit, pineapples, asparagus, peas, potatoes


Vitamin E

Deficiency may cause miscarriage. Taken with vitamin C may improve ovulation. Taken with vitamin C and selenium creates a healthy endometrium. Vitamin E has anticoagulant properties, so caution if taking blood thinners.
'Some recent evidence shows a connection in the elderly to high dose vitamin E and heart failure. Consult your healthcare professional if you have any heart problems before taking vitamin E supplements.


Also used for slowing the aging process, anticlotting factor, blood cholesterol reduction, blood flow to the heart, capillary wall strengthening, fertility, male potency, lung protection from pollution, muscle and nerve maintenance.
Acubalance recommends avoiding synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol. Ideally you would use a natural type that consisted of mixed tocopherols that included gamma tocohperol gamma-tocopherol.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of inositol and manganese.

For proper absorption avoid: birth control pills, chlorine, mineral oil, rancid fats and oils.


Deficiency symptoms: dull dry or falling hair, enlarged prostate, gastrointestinal disease, heart disease, impotency, miscarriages, muscular wasting, and sterility.


Dietary sources: cold pressed oils, wheat germ, organ meats, molasses, eggs, sweet potatoes, leafy veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and avocados.


Iron

Iron helps prevent miscarriage. It also is important for the production of hemoglobin, and plays a role in stress and disease resistance.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of vitamin C, calcium, and copper.


For proper absorption avoid: Tea, coffee, excessive Zinc, and tobacco all inhibit the absorption of iron.


Deficiency symptoms: breathing difficulties, brittle nails, anemia, constipation.

Dietary sources: organ meats, lean meat, eggs, fish, poultry, molasses, cherries, dried fruits, prunes, green leafy veggies, kelp, spinach, parsley, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, broccoli, oatmeal, sardines, and nuts.


Magnesium

We need B1 and magnesium for energy production. Also used for acid/alkaline balance, blood sugar metabolism, and the metabolism of vitamin C and calcium.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of selenium, calcium, vitamin B6, and D to aid in absorption. Take with protein foods.


For proper absorption avoid: Alcohol, tea, coffee, and smoking.


Deficiency symptoms: confusion, disorientation, easily angered, nervousness, rapid pulse, tremors.


Dietary sources: kelp, green leafy veggies, tofu, legumes, rye, buckwheat, millet, molasses, brown rice, bananas, dried figs, dried apricots, nuts, barley, seafood, and whole grains.


Selenium
Deficiency may cause infertility and an increased risk of miscarriage.


Dietary sources: tuna, herring, brewer's yeast, wheat germ and bran, whole grains, and sesame seeds.


Manganese

Deficiency may lead to defective ovulation, and inhibit the synthesis of sex hormones. Manganese competes with iron for absorption. It is advisable to take manganese supplements with protein foods and vitamin C.


Also used for enzyme activation, reproduction and growth, tissue respiration, B1 metabolism, vitamin E utilization.


For proper absorption avoid: excessive intake of calcium and phosphorus.

Deficiency symptoms: ataxia, dizziness, ear noises, loss of hearing.

Dietary sources: whole grains, green leafy veggies, carrots, broccoli, ginger, legumes, nuts, pineapples, eggs, oats, and rye.


Zinc

Deficiencies of Zinc are quite common. Zinc is important for the cell division in the fetus, producing good quality eggs, and maintaining the menstrual cycle. Alcohol and the contraceptive pill deplete zinc in the body. Folic acid, tea, coffee, high fiber intake, and iron may inhibit absorption. Vitamin B6 and C may aid absorption.


Also used for burn and wound healing, carbohydrate digestion, prostate gland function, reproductive organ growth and development, sex organ growth and maturity, phosphorus and protein metabolism.


For proper absorption ensure: adequate intake of phosphorus.


For proper absorption avoid: alcohol, high doses of calcium.


Deficiency symptoms: delayed sexual maturity, fatigue, loss of taste, poor appetite, prolonged wound healing, retarded growth, sterility.


Dietary sources: lean meat, fish, seafood, chicken, eggs, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, rye, oats, whole grains, legumes, ginger, parsley, mushrooms, brewer's yeast, and wheat germ.


Coenzyme Q10

Important for energy production. Levels of CoQ10 are lower in a woman who has experienced a recent miscarriage. It has been said that ICSI fertilization rates may rise when taking this supplement, although we have found no research to confirm this. It also improves blood flow.


Essential Fatty Acids

Very important to take when trying to conceive. EFA's act as hormone regulators. Omega-3 DHA and Omega-6 arachidonic acid are important structural elements of cell membranes, body tissue, and brain development in the fetus. Start taking EFA's at least 3 months before you try to get pregnant.


Also used for hardening of the arteries prevention, blood coagulation, blood pressure normalizer, cholesterol, glandular activity, growth, and vital organ respiration.


Deficiency symptoms: acne, allergies, diarrhea, dry skin, dry brittle haie, eczema, gall stones, nail problems, underweight, varicose veins.

Dietary sources: Omega-3; flaxseed, oily fish, walnuts, green leafy veggies, and tuna (not more than 150g/week).

Dietary sources: Omega-6; seeds and their oils. Note: be careful if you are currently taking blood thinning medication, and ensure the product you are purchasing does thorough testing for heavy metals.

Source: http://www.acubalance.ca/Infertility#dietary



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Catherine

About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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3 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Such an informative post! My aunt gave birth to her daughter in her forties! Proof that it's possible! I was doing more research on this topic and found that vitex is an important herb to be taking to promote fertility (source: http://supplementinfo.org/female_infertility ) The diet tips that are listed above are very helpful! Daily supplements rich in such vitamins won't hurt, either.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi! It seems to be the right place to get the info i need. Thanks

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