Exploring Natural Supplements to Boost IVF Success
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a medical procedure that helps people have a baby when they are unable to conceive naturally. IVF involves stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, which are then retrieved and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryos are then transferred back into the woman’s uterus, where they can implant and grow into a baby.
Natural supplements for IVF success
There is some evidence that taking certain natural supplements may help improve the success rate of IVF. Here are some natural supplements to consider about:
|Supplement||Effect on IVF||Sources|
|Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)||Increase egg quality, Increase the chance of implantation, Increase sperm quality||Organ meats, Fatty fish, Meats, Vegetables, Fruits, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||Increase egg quality, regulate hormones, reduce inflammation||Seafood, Nuts, Seeds, Plant oils|
|Vitamin D||Regulate hormone production, development of healthy eggs and embryos||Fatty fish, Fish liver oils, Egg yolks, Mushrooms|
|Myo-Inositol||Improve ovulation, egg quality, and hormone balance||Fruits, Whole grains, Legumes|
|Acetyl-L-Carnitine||Improve sperm and egg quality||seafood, Lean meats, Poultry, Eggs, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, Soy products|
|Zinc||Controls estrogen and progesterone levels||Meats, Nuts, Seeds, Whole grains|
|Vitamin E||Increase sperm motility, Thickening of the uterine lining||Plant-based oils, Nuts, Seeds, Fruits, Vegetables|
|Folic acid, Vitamin B9 (folate)||Improves oocyte quality||Dark green leafy vegetables, Beans, Liver, Eggs, Whole grains|
|Vitamin B6||Supports healthy and regular menstrual cycles||Milk, Eggs, Organ meats, Fruit (other than citrus), Potatoes|
|Vitamin B12||Generates and matures the sperm, Boosting sperm motility||Chicken, Eggs, Milk, Beef, Seafood|
|Selenium||Protect the egg and sperm from free radical damage||Seafood, organ meats, Brazil nuts|
|Vitamin C||Protect reproductive cells from oxidative stress, Improves the number, motility, and DNA quality of sperm.||Citrus, Bell peppers, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Cruciferous vegetables, White potatoes|
If you’re undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and looking for ways to enhance your chances of success, you may want to consider exploring natural supplements. While it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before adding any new supplements to your regimen, there are several options that have shown promise in supporting fertility and improving IVF outcomes.
The following provides detailed information about natural supplements that may have an impact on IVF success:
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q 10, which is also known as ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like substance that is present in most cells. It is an antioxidant. that plays a crucial role in energy production within cells. According to some studies taking CoQ10 supplements three months before starting IVF may have a positive effect on the success rate of IVF.
For females: Research suggests that CoQ10 supplementation may improve egg quality, increase the number of retrieved oocytes, increase the chances of successful embryo implantation, and increase the quality of embryos. It is recommended to take CoQ10 at least three months before starting IVF.
For males: There is some evidence to suggest that CoQ10 may improve male fertility by increasing sperm count and motility.
Which foods are high in Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)?
Organ Meats like beef liver, beef, and chicken heart, fatty fish like trout, mackerel, and sardines, meat (beef, chicken, pork, Reindeer), Soybean products such as tofu, soy milk, and soy yogurt, vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower. Nuts and Seeds like pistachio, sesame seeds, and Whole grains.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are necessary for reproductive health.
For flames: These healthy fats have been scientifically proven to have various benefits for women, including increasing blood flow to the uterus, improving egg quality, regulating hormones, reducing inflammation, and aiding in brain and retina development during pregnancy.
For males: Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to have positive effects on male reproductive health, such as improving sperm quality and count, enhancing motility and morphology, and reducing DNA damage.
According to a study, women who took omega-3 supplements had a 1.5 times higher chance of conceiving compared to women who did not take omega-3s. Additionally, omega-3s may help prevent pre-eclampsia and postnatal depression. You can obtain omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil supplements or by incorporating fatty fish like salmon into your diet.
Which foods are high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Salmon, Cod liver oil, Herring, Oysters, Sardines, Anchovies, Caviar, Flaxseed, Chia seeds, Walnuts, Soybeans, omega-3-enriched eggs, vegetables such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, and purslane.
Low levels of vitamin D can potentially impact fertility in both males and females, as well as potentially reducing the success rate of IVF.
For females: adequate levels of vitamin D are important for reproductive health in females, as it plays a role in regulating hormone production and supporting the development of healthy eggs and embryos.
For males: research showed that vitamin D causes increased sperm and increases testosterone levels.
A healthcare professional can assess your vitamin D levels and suggest the correct dosage if necessary.
Which foods are high in Vitamin D?
Fatty fish like salmon, Herring, Sardines, Cod liver oil, Canned tuna, and Egg yolks.
Inositol, also known as vitamin B8, 99% of inositol in nature is present in the form of myoinositol, which is naturally in foods like fruits, beans, grains, and nuts. The body can produce inositol from the carbohydrates we consume.
For females: Research has indicated that Myo-inositol can have positive effects on ovulation, egg quality, and hormone balance in women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a prevalent factor in infertility. Myo-inositol supplements may potentially provide benefits to women with PCOS who are undergoing IVF.
For males: Myoinositol had a significant effect on the acrosome-reacted spermatozoa percentage, sperm concentration, total count, and progressive motility in males.
Which foods are high in Myo-Inositol?
Whole grain bread and bran, Dried Prunes, Cantaloupe, or citrus, Beans and peas, Almonds or peanut butter, and Liver.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is a naturally occurring amino acid that plays a role in various bodily functions, such as energy production, fat metabolism, and cell signaling. Research indicates that taking acetyl-L-carnitine supplements may have a positive impact on sperm quality and increase the chances of pregnancy for couples undergoing IVF.
For females: increasing gonadotropins and sex hormone levels can improve oocyte health and increase egg quality. Additionally, ALC may help improve the lining of the uterus. ALC may potentially regulate ovulation by balancing hormones and promoting the synthesis of follicle-stimulating hormone(FSH). FSH is a hormone necessary for ovulation.
For males: One of the main ways that ALC may improve fertility in males is by increasing sperm motility, helping to improve sperm morphology, and increasing sperm count.
Which foods are high in Acetyl-L-Carnitine?
Meat, milk, ice cream, cheese like cheddar cheese, whole wheat bread, and cooked asparagus are richer sources of L-Carnitine.
Zinc is a mineral that is necessary for various bodily functions, including reproduction. It plays a role in the production of sperm and eggs, as well as the development of the fetus.
For females: Zinc plays a crucial role in various processes that regulate female germ cell growth, fertility, and pregnancy. Zinc is necessary for oocytes during meiotic division, fertilization, and embryo development.
For males: Zinc helps improve the quality of sperm and sperm motility. Zinc as a hormone balancer helps hormones such as testosterone, prostate, and sexual health and functions as an antibacterial agent in men’s urea system. Low Zn levels have a negative effect on serum testosterone concentration.
Which foods are high in Zinc?
Rock oysters, Lamb shank, Beef (steak), Pumpkin seeds, Crab, Cheese, Almonds, Oats, Lobster, Muesli, Chickpeas, Chicken breast, Yoghurt, and Cashews.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for many bodily functions, including reproduction. It is an antioxidant, which means that it can neutralize free radicals and protect cells from damage. Vitamin E deficiency is a common cause of infertility in both men and women. Research shows that men who regularly eat foods rich in vitamin E have a 29% higher success rate of IVF than men other.
For females: Getting enough vitamin E every day can increase blood flow to the arteries and increase the thickness of the lining of the uterus, helping to improve a woman’s fertility. In women, vitamin E deficiency can lead to irregular ovulation, low levels of the hormone progesterone, and poor egg quality.
For males: Vitamin E deficiency in men can result in reduced sperm count, impaired sperm motility, and abnormal sperm morphology.
Which foods are high in vitamin E?
Wheat germ oil, Sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Peanuts, peanut butter, Beet greens, collard greens, spinach, Pumpkin, Red bell pepper, Asparagus, Mangoes, and Avocados.
Folic acid, Vitamin B9 (folate)
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for many bodily functions, including reproduction. It is involved in the production of DNA and RNA, as well as the development of the fetus. Folate deficiency is a common cause of infertility in both men and women.
For females: In women, folate deficiency can lead to irregular ovulation, low levels of the hormone progesterone, and poor egg quality.
For males: In men, folate deficiency can lead to low sperm count, poor sperm motility, and abnormal sperm morphology.
Use of a folic acid supplement in women undergoing IVF helped optimize the homocysteine pathway in follicular fluid, which was associated with better embryo quality and a greater chance of becoming pregnant; a 2-fold increase of mono follicular fluid folate was associated with a 3.3 times greater chance of becoming pregnant.
Folate also has significant effects on stress and inflammation in the body. Elevated stress levels lead to a higher requirement of folate for the body. Various factors, including factors such as advanced maternal age and lifestyle habits like smoking, can affect a woman’s ability to conceive. Appropriate amounts of folic acid in your diet can help counteract the effects of this stress.
Which foods are high in Folic acid, Vitamin B9 (folate)?
Dark green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli), Beans, Peanuts, Sunflower seeds, Fresh fruits, fruit juices, Whole grains, Liver, Aquatic foods, and Eggs.
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is classified as one of the B vitamins and is considered a necessary nutrient. Vitamin B6 is necessary for proper brain development and maintaining the health of the nervous and immune systems.
Vitamin B6 positively impacts fertility levels, research shows that giving women vitamin B6 increases their chances of becoming pregnant.
Having adequate amounts of vitamin B6 in your body helps in the production of hormones that make the uterine lining stronger and increase the levels of progesterone, thereby increasing the chances of conception.
For females: Vitamin B6 promotes healthy levels of progesterone, a hormone that helps your body prepare for pregnancy. In contrast, a lack of vitamin B6 can result in hormone imbalances, particularly estrogen, and progesterone, both of which are required for fertility. It promotes a healthy, regular menstrual cycle, making tracking ovulation periods easier for couples. This vitamin also promotes the luteal phase, which makes a woman’s uterus more fertile.
For males: In men, vitamin B6 deficiency is a common cause of infertility. Sperm production and motility may be impaired in men with low vitamin B6 levels. Vitamin B6 deficiency can also result in low testosterone levels, which can further impair fertility.
Which foods are high in vitamin B6?
Beef liver, Tuna, Salmon, Chickpeas, Poultry, some vegetables and fruits, especially dark leafy greens, bananas, papayas, oranges, and cantaloupe are rich sources of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that enables the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. This is the largest vitamin B and is crucial for metabolizing the body cells. Vitamin B12 is crucial for the fertility of both men and women.
For females: B12 deficiency appears to interfere with reproduction, contributing to impaired egg development, abnormal ovulation, difficulty implantation of the fertilized ovum in the uttering lining, and disruption in normal cell division.
According to some studies, if a woman becomes pregnant while deficient in vitamin B12, the pregnancy is more likely to result in fetal loss.
For males: Vitamin B12 plays a role in the generation and maturation of sperm. In men with low levels of vitamin B12, there may be a decrease in sperm production and motility. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to low levels of testosterone, which can further impair fertility
Which foods are high in vitamin B12?
Liver and kidneys, especially from lambs, Clams, Sardines, Beef, Tuna, Trout, Salmon, Milk, and other dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, and Eggs.
Selenium is a mineral that can be obtained through a variety of foods. Selenium is a necessary component of several enzymes and proteins known as selenoproteins, which aid in the production of DNA and protect cells from damage and infection.
For males: Selenium is required for proper sperm morphology and motility, growth and development, and swimming ability. Selenium deficiency can impair the ability of the testicles to produce testosterone and sperm.
For females: Selenium has been shown in studies to promote healthy follicles in the ovaries, which develop and release eggs. This antioxidant may also help to prevent birth defects and miscarriages caused by DNA damage. Women who are trying to conceive should not consume more than 400mg of selenium per day.
Which foods are high in Selenium?
Brazil nuts, Fish, Ham, Enriched foods, Pork, Beef, Turkey, Chicken, Cottage cheese, Eggs, Brown rice, Sunflower seeds, Baked beans, Mushrooms, Oatmeal, Spinach, Milk and yogurt, Lentils, Cashews and Bananas.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin and it is a necessary nutrient for many bodily functions, including reproduction. In both men and women, vitamin C deficiency is a common cause of infertility.
For females: Vitamin C plays a role in regulating the menstruation cycle and promoting normal ovulation. To ensure sufficient vitamin C levels, it is advisable to take a daily dose of 500mg, twice a day, as it is not stored naturally in the body. For certain women, particularly those with low progesterone levels, there seems to be a potential correlation between higher Vitamin C intake and improved fertility.
For males: According to some studies, vitamin C may have a positive impact on semen quality by reducing oxidative stress, improving antioxidant status, and increasing sperm count.
Which foods are high in vitamin C?
Citrus (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit), Bell peppers, Strawberries, Tomatoes
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower), and White potatoes.
Additional information about supplements that may impact IVF success
While natural supplements can potentially improve IVF success, they are not a replacement for medical intervention or a guarantee of positive outcomes. Before adding any supplements to your routine, always consult with your healthcare provider, as they can advise you on appropriate dosages and potential drug interactions.
It is critical to maintain a healthy lifestyle while undergoing IVF, in addition to incorporating natural supplements. This includes eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, managing stress, and getting enough rest. Remember to keep an open line of communication with your healthcare team and follow their advice throughout the IVF process. You can increase your chances of success with a comprehensive approach that combines medical expertise, lifestyle changes, and natural supplements.
Are there any natural supplements that can increase the number of eggs during IVF?
No, there are no natural supplements that can directly increase the number of eggs a woman produces during IVF, certain supplements and lifestyle changes can potentially support overall ovarian health and encourage a healthy response to ovarian stimulation, which can indirectly influence the number of eggs retrieved (Natural supplements mentioned above). It’s important to understand that a woman’s ovarian reserve, which determines the number of eggs available, is largely genetically determined and can’t be significantly altered through supplements.
Are there potential risks or side effects associated with taking natural supplements while undergoing IVF treatment?
Here are some additional tips for improving your chances of IVF success:
- Get some exercise on a regular basis. Exercise can benefit your overall health and fertility.
Maintain a healthy diet. A healthy diet can help with egg quality and sperm count.
- Control your stress. Stress can have a negative impact on your fertility. Find healthy stress-management techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature.
- Get enough rest. Sleep is essential for good health and fertility. Attempt to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- You should stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on fertility. Quitting smoking or drinking alcohol is the best thing you can do to improve your chances of IVF success.
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Excess weight can have a negative impact on your fertility. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help improve your chances of having a successful IVF procedure.
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Stanhiser J, Jukic AMZ, McConnaughey DR, Steiner AZ. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and fecundability. Hum Reprod. 2022 May 3;37(5):1037-1046. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deac027. PMID: 35147198; PMCID: PMC9308390.