Eating a wide variety of plant-based foods is a great way to get macro and micro nutrients, even with a great diet it may be difficult to get the amount of vitamins necessary to increase fertility. Many care providers suggest taking a prenatal vitamin for 3-6 months before conceiving to boost vitamin levels up, not all prenatal vitamins are equal and something that is plant-whole-food based is much more optimum. The problem with a combined prenatal is that it is not individualized to your needs and most do not have all that you need for specific vitamins such as Vitamin D3 or have folic acid as opposed to folate or methylfolate.
Disclosure: This is by no means an exhaustive resource on this subject and if you have been trying to conceive for a year or more, it is best to consult with a qualified care provider to help guide you through your fertility options.
So here is a list of some herbs and supplements which can boost fertility:
- Chasteberry (Vitex)- 500-1000mg daily, regulates menstrual cycle & prolactin levels, enhances corpus luteum development, and corrects relative progesterone deficiency
- Maca powder- 3-6 grams (1-3 tsps) daily, Maca is considered an adaptogen and works specifically with the endocrine system, to balance hormones in both men and women. Both partners should take this supplement. (Women should consider using Red Maca which is best for female fertility. Men should use Black Maca for their fertility which has been shown to increase sperm count and sperm motility)
- You can make a nice herbal infusion/tea comprised of Red Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, and Dandelion to drink daily, this can also be taken while pregnant as a nice pregnancy tea.
- Red Raspberry Leaf- A well known fertility herb, that is lovely in your pregnancy tea as well. This herb is best taken as an infusion (herbal tea). Drink 1 cup, 1-3 times a day. Pour ¼ cup of dried red raspberry leaf into a quart mason jar, fill with freshly boiled water, cover and let steep for at least 15-30 minutes, can also be taken in pill form as well.
- Nettle Leaf– Has a very high mineral content. It contains lots of chlorophyll and is nourishing to the adrenals and kidneys. It helps reduce stress and is a powerful uterine tonic and kidney and liver function booster.
- Dandelion– Contains vitamins A and C as well as trace minerals. The root is beneficial to the liver and the leaf is mildly diuretic. Can help cleanse the body and remove toxins which is something to strive for when trying to conceive.
- Vitamin D3- A recent study found women taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily had the greatest benefits in preventing preterm labor/births and infections. Most people are deficient in vitamin D and this vitamin is important for so many things such as fertility, immune health, cardiovascular health and mood. One of the easiest ways of obtaining Vitamin D3 is by eating eggs, fatty fish, and dairy, as well as taking cod liver oil, you can also take it in supplement form. It is best to get tested to assess how much you will need daily.
- Folate (not folic acid)- Women hoping to get pregnant should take at least 2,000 micrograms a day. Folate is well known as a necessary vitamin in early pregnancy to prevent complications, but it is most beneficial when taken for several month before the pregnancy as well as during. It helps cell division and promotes ovulation. It is important to note that many people have trouble using the synthetic form, folic acid, and do better with folate or methylfolate.
- Omega's (3,6 &9)- Minimum 1,000 milligrams per day, preferably 2,000 mgs, up to 5,000 milligrams. Omega's regulate reproductive hormones, increase the blood flow to the uterus, which can help with uterine lining development, reduce inflammation, which for fertility can be especially important in the pelvic area, and reduce sensitivity to the hormone prolactin, which can suppress ovulation.
Nutrition is paramount to health and fertility as it is really the foundation of what is to come. Here is a list of nutritional things to consider and follow.
- Proper nutrition is so key to body health in general but also important for conception; eliminating as many processed foods as possible such as processed starches, sugars and starches. Some other good source of starches would be sweet potatoes, squash, and root vegetables.
- Increasing healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, olives, coconut oil, grass-fed meats, eggs and butter.
- Boosting protein intake is so important for conception as well as pregnancy. Some good sources are nuts, legumes, eggs and grass-fed meats.
- Eat lots of vegetables daily, like I mentioned before this is where you will get the micro nutrients that are so important to your health, some examples are dark leafy greens, bell peppers, spinach, kale, chard, lettuce and cabbage.
- Hydration is so important for cell maintenance and almost all functions in the body. Also important and crucial during pregnancy.
Please share below any other supplements that you have found to work for you in your fertility journey I would love to hear your stories and ideas!