What you need to know – Forbes Health

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There are several specific nutrients that are involved in female fertility.

Vitamin D

Not only is vitamin D important for maintaining the health of your bones and immune system, but it may also be involved in fertility. In fact, a small study in Fertility and sterility found that women with low vitamin D levels were less likely to conceive than those with normal levels. Additionally, a new 2022 meta-analysis found that vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are associated with miscarriage.

Since vitamin D is found naturally in few food sources and is usually obtained through exposure to sunlight, supplementation may be recommended for those at risk of deficiency.

Folic acid

Folic acid is a B vitamin commonly found in prenatal supplements and fortified foods. Interestingly, folic acid has also been shown to increase the chances of conception, especially in women with irregular cycles.

Eli Reshef, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Integris Bennett Fertility Institute in Oklahoma City, recommends folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects. Specifically, he recommends taking an over-the-counter prenatal supplement containing at least 800 milligrams of folic acid to support fertility.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that women of childbearing age should consume at least 400 micrograms of folate daily, which can come from a combination of foods or supplements. Leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains are all great sources of folate.

Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace mineral needed for the production of hormones and selenoproteins, a type of protein involved in reproductive health. Not only can a selenium deficiency impair fertility, but it could also increase the risk of miscarriage and other pregnancy complications.

Most people can get enough of this important micronutrient by eating a balanced diet containing selenium-rich foods like meat, fish, and eggs. It is also commonly added to multivitamins and prenatal supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Although best known for their positive effects on heart health and inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids may also impact fertility. In fact, studies show that these healthy fats can help balance reproductive hormone levels, regulate menstruation, and improve egg quality and implantation.

Enjoying a few weekly servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, or tuna, is a great way to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t eat fish regularly, consider taking a fish oil or algae oil supplement instead.

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a type of antioxidant produced naturally by the body and found in many foods, including organ meats and fish. Some studies have shown that CoQ10 may improve ovarian response and increase conception rates in women undergoing fertility treatments.

“As we age, the body’s production of CoQ10 slows, making it increasingly difficult to protect eggs from oxidative damage and making it more difficult for women to conceive,” notes Rosmy Barrios, MD, medical expert regenerative surgery at the IM clinic in Belgrade, Serbia.

Consider asking your doctor if a CoQ10 supplement might be right for you.

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