Over the past twenty years, fertility problems have increased. One in six couples are finding it difficult to conceive and couples are turning to fertility treatments to help them start a family. Difficulty conceiving is believed to be caused by various factors such as: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis, tubal damage, sperm motility or low sperm count. In some instances, there is no evident medical reason or any combination of the above.
You can increase your chances of conception by making changes in diet, lifestyle, and adding certain supplements. Eliminating alcohol, caffeine, and smoking are a must, while moving toward a more whole food, clean diet. In general a diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber from predominantly low-glycemic-index-carbohydrate foods is recommended.
Certain vitamins and minerals can increase your chances of getting and staying pregnant. Even the most wholesome diet unfortunately doesn’t contain all the necessary nutrients we need. Studies have shown that adding the following supplements can help:
Folic acid is just one member of the B complex family of vitamins. All are necessary to produce the genetic material of both egg and sperm. Folic acid is important for neural development and preventing spina bifidia, while vitamin B6 can increase fertility and vitamin B12 can improve low sperm count.
Zinc is a component of our genetic material and is found in high concentration in sperm, because of this a deficiency can reduce sperm count.
Selenium is an important antioxidant. It can protect cells from damage and prevent chromosomal breakage. Sperm formation also requires increased levels of selenium.
Omega 3 fatty acids have an effect on every body system. Omega 3 fatty acids control inflammation and need to be balanced with Omega 6 fatty acids, which we already get too much of from the food we eat. When it comes to the reproductive system, omega 3’s are crucial for cell signaling and may increase hormone functioning.
Vitamin C is another important antioxidant that plays a protective role when it comes to sperm; enhancing quality, count, and motility. A few studies have found a greater conception rate in women taking Vitamin C along with the prescription product Clomid (clomiphene). It can also help to regulate menstrual cycles for those with luteal phase defects.
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked with infertility problems. It is thought it plays a role in maintaining a pregnancy. Consider having your level tested via blood test, even though it is well known we are all deficient.
The amino acids L-arginine and L-carnitine have been helpful for sperm quality, function, and motility.
Herbal therapies have also worked especially when ovulation is not occurring. Known as Vitex (Agnus Castus), it helps to restore hormonal balance of progesterone and estrogen and regulates periods.
**It should be noted this should not be taken if you are currently using other hormone therapy or fertility treatments. **
It can take up to 3 months on any program in order to achieve results. Everything needs to be working at optimum levels to give you the best chances of having a healthy baby.