Fertility Vitamins - Nutritional supplementation can be "just enough treatment" to restore fertility to both women and men. Research into the interrelationships of nutrition and fertility is ongoing, but here are some of the basics.
Fertility Vitamins for Women
Women's infertility can have many causes. Blockages of the Fallopian tubes and endometriosis (a condition in which uterine tissue grows where it shouldn't and expands especially on those days of a woman's period when she is most fertile) account for about half of all cases of women's infertility.
A failure to ovulate is the cause of about 30% of cases of infertility, and conditions of the cervix cause most of the rest.
There is a huge medical industry surrounding the correction of women's infertility. The technology of this industry is high-tech, ranging from hormone therapy to test-tube babies.
Although modern methods of reproductive therapy can produce amazing results, their cost is high and their overall success rate is low.
The good news is that many apparently infertile women eventually become pregnant with no treatment at all. The even better news is that a common, inexpensive multivitamin supplement containing the fertility vitamins women need may be every bit as effective as the high-techniques.
About 10 years ago, Hungarian medical researchers demonstrated that taking a multivitamin greatly increased a woman's chances of conceiving, provided the supplement contained a full range of trace minerals along with at least the recommended daily dosages of every vitamin.
There were some other requirements for the multivitamin to have a positive effect on women's fertility. It had to contain at least 800 micrograms (0.8 mg) of the B vitamin folic acid. Results were not noted until the fertility vitamins had been taken for at least 28 days.
And for the health of the baby, the multivitamin should be taken at least through the second month of the pregnancy. Supplementing with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 is important for baby's health - these vitamins prevent neural tube defects and heart defects in the child. As a side-benefit, they also greatly reduce morning sickness in the mother.
Are there any drawbacks to taking multivitamins while trying to become pregnant? The Hungarian researchers believe there may be one: Women who get pregnant while taking multivitamins are slightly less likely to have twins, but they were significantly more likely to deliver a healthy child.
Fertility Vitamins for Men
When men who want to become fathers can't conceive, the problem is almost always an observable defect in sperm function or deficiency in sperm count. More often than not, no doctor can determine the true underlying cause.
The good news is, about 25% of supposedly infertile men bring about a pregnancy within 12 months of the time they first consult a physician for treatment. With the right fertility vitamins for men, infertility is often only low fertility in disguise.
Antioxidant vitamins are important for fathers of all ages. This is because free radicals, dangerous byproducts of the use of oxygen in cells, easily damage sperm. Many scientific studies validate the use of antioxidants as a therapy for male infertility.
Taking as little as 100 IU of vitamin E a day "energizes" lethargic sperm. This relatively low dose of vitamin E is enough to bring about a significant increase in the rate of pregnancy in couples trying to conceive. In this case, more is not better. The 100 IU is enough to have an impact on male fertility. Larger doses should only be taken for specific health needs.
The antioxidant vitamin C also assists male fertility. There is substantial evidence that it increases sperm count and powers the "swimming" ability of the sperm to reach the egg. Lower doses of vitamin C, however, may not be enough. A noticeable effect on fertility seems to require at least 200 mg to 1000 mg of this fertility vitamin for men.
Older fathers, especially fathers over 60, need supplemental vitamin B-12. As men get older, the body's stores of vitamin B-12 tend to decline. Deficiencies in this vitamin lead to reduced sperm counts and lowered sperm motility.
Supplemental B-12 can produce dramatic results when sperm counts and motility are especially low.
What about other supplements? There is growing evidence that L-carnitine supplementation enhances sperm motility, or swimming ability. L-carnitine enables the sperm to use fructose sugars for fuel, allowing it to remain motile for a longer period, and helps it survive the acidic environment of the cervix.
There is also evidence that the survival of sperm is enhanced by supplementation with lycopene, selenium, or co-enzyme Q10.
Look for these ingredients when choosing fertility vitamins for men, and be careful with any product that contains any of the following:
Soy or Soy Isoflavones
Any of these supplements can lower testosterone levels. The lower the testosterone, the less sperm the male body produces. Stick to the best fertility vitamins for men while you are trying to conceive.