Encyclopedia Of Fertility Supplements D-I

The sheer number of supplements and vitamins touted as beneficial for fertility is daunting. Here we try to break it down for you:

Head Start

DHA: DHA has anti-inflammatory properties and is helpful in combating the effects of both endometriosis and dysmenorrhea. Starting on DHA prior to conception also means you're giving a "head-start" to your baby's brain health. Take DHA in combination with vitamin E for best results.

Vitamin E: This vitamin is believed to improve egg quality. One study found that women taking 200 IU and men taking 100 IU per day had a great improvement in their conception rates. One study showed that men who took vitamin

E increased the potency of their sperm by two and one-half times. Two other studies found that supplements of vitamin E increased a man's ability to impregnate his wife by 20%, a figure higher than that produced by most assisted reproduction techniques. The tocopherol form of vitamin E is best and should be taken in tandem with vitamin C. Don't take vitamin E without speaking to your physician first if you have any of the following health issues: anemia, clotting issues, overactive thyroid, high blood pressure, liver problems.

Sperm Counts

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA): Just 1-7 grams of EFA will improve your reproductive health along with insulin levels, and the health of your brain and heart. EFA calms inflammation which is thought to be a factor in the development of PCOS and other infertility issues. In men, EFA can improve sperm counts. The best sources for this supplement are fish oil or flax oil capsules but these have differing yet important types of EFA, so it's preferable to take both. Don't take large amounts of this if you take blood thinners.

Flaxseed Oil: Mentioned above as a form of EFA, the oil is helpful for treating infertility, menstrual cramps, and endometriosis.

Take Folate

Folic acid: While the jury is out on whether folate (folic acid) can improve your fertility, there's no question that taken before conception and during the first trimester of a pregnancy, it can protect your baby against many birth defects. Besides, it's good for your heart.

Iron: A woman trying to conceive should be taking 10-20 milligrams of iron daily. A state of anemia can lead to infertility. If you have heavy or very light periods, you should be taking iron. Sufficient iron in your system is crucial for egg release and implantation. Some women find iron supplements a cause of constipation. Food sources of iron may be gentler on the system.

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