Supplements to get pregnant: do they really work?

What are the main supplements recommended to promote conception in men and women? Do these products really help you get pregnant easier?

Food supplements are synthetic preparations which  have the same nature as the foods we eat , but which can prove useful when, despite a more balanced diet possible , situations of deficiency or increased need for one or more nutrients are observed.

These conditions can occur, for example, due to:

  • incorrect lifestyles ;
  • illnesses (such as allergies or gastrointestinal problems);
  • particular genetic predispositions .

Furthermore, some types of supplements are also suggested in case of male and female infertility . So let’s see together what are the main supplements recommended to promote conception in men and women .

1. Folic acid

This B vitamin is naturally present in many foods (for example in dark green leafy vegetables ).

Folic acid in humans

lack of folic acid in men can lead to an increase in homocysteine , an amino acid which, at high levels, can cause male infertility.

Folic acid in women

This vitamin promotes conception by optimizing circulating hormones and improving ovarian function .

In addition, a good reserve of folic acid in women is essential to prevent some congenital malformations of the fetus .

For this reason, expectant mothers are recommended to start taking a folic acid supplement before pregnancy and preferably at least one month before conception , with a dosage of 400 micrograms per day (corresponding to 0.4 milligrams) .

2.Omega 3s

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA ( eicosapentaenoic acid) and ALA ( alpha linolenic acid) are essential fatty acids contained above all in foods of marine origin (such as oily fish and salmon ).

These substances are essential for cell health, as well as having an anti-inflammatory action .

Omega 3 in humans

These fatty acids appear to promote good sperm composition .

Omega 3 in women

DHA, EPA and ALA levels appear to be directly related to egg health .

3. L-Carnitine

It is mainly found in meat (but also in milk , dairy products and fish ) and has an anti-inflammatory , detoxifying and antioxidant effect .

L-Carnitine in humans

Low levels of L-Carnitine are also related to a decrease in motility and sperm count .

4. Inositol

It is mainly contained in citrus fruits , legumes , whole grains and liver .

Inositol in humans

It is involved in the production of some male hormones .

Inositol in women

It is useful for regulating ovulation and is used, for example, in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) .

5. Antioxidant vitamins and minerals

They include in particular Vitamin C , Vitamin E and carotenoids (mainly contained in foods of vegetable origin ). Among minerals, on the other hand, we especially remember zinc (present for example in whole grains ).

Antioxidant vitamins and minerals in humans

Antioxidant vitamins and minerals help improve sperm composition . In addition, zinc appears to be able to increase testosterone levels in men .

Antioxidant vitamins and minerals in women

Vitamin C , Vitamin E and carotenoids are helpful in improving egg quality.

When to use supplements to promote conception?

The intake of supplements should only take place in case of real need , i.e. when there is an effective shortage or an increased need for particular nutrients.

The reason is simple: even natural substances, if taken in too large quantities , can have negative effects.

An excess of vitamin C , for example, can cause digestive disorders ,  kidney problems or headaches , while an excess of zinc (very used for male infertility) can cause loss of appetite , gastric ulcer and gastrointestinal problems .

For these reasons, before using supplements to increase fertility, it is always advisable to consult a professional (doctor, biologist, nutritionist or dietitian), instead avoiding DIY.

Do supplements to aid conception really work?

The good news is that fertility supplements appear to be helpful in increasing your chances of getting pregnant. Currently, in fact, there is scientific evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of these products in improving male and female fertility.

The bad news, however, is that there aren’t enough studies to create official protocols for diagnosis and dosing.

So what to do to increase the chances of getting pregnant?

First of all, a lot of prevention must be done . For this reason, both the expectant mother and the future father should start taking care of their reproductive health even before thinking about the stork:

  • quit smoking ;
  • limit alcohol intake ;
  • keep weight under control .

Secondly, it is important to eat a varied and balanced diet ,

with a preference for whole grains and legumes , and rich in seasonal fruit and vegetables.

If necessary, it will then be up to the doctor nutritionist biologist or dietician to give indications on any supplements to promote conception.

Folic acid before pregnancy: when is it recommended?

Regardless of fertility issues, every woman trying to conceive should start taking 400 micrograms of folic acid a day at least one month before pregnancy , in addition to what she gets from her diet.

It has in fact been shown that pre-pregnancy folic acid supplementation is able to reduce the risk of certain congenital anomalies of the fetus (including spina bifida ).

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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