Fertility Supplements & Vitamins: An Evidence Based Review

By CNY Fertility Updated on

You may have been told by a friend or even a doctor to start taking fertility supplements when trying to get pregnant.  While infertility is a diagnosis that often demands medical treatment, you shouldn’t go pulling out your skeptic flag so fast when it comes to taking vitamins for fertility.

Sperm and egg development are highly complex and energy-dependent processes. There are likely millions of biochemical reactions that take place during the 90 or so days sperm and eggs take to mature, and many reactions and structures depend heavily specific and sometimes hard to get micro-nutrients.

Sure, a fertility-friendly diet, eliminating smoking, and minimizing alcohol, can all be a great place for everyone to start when trying to conceive, but fertility-specific vitamins and supplements can help you fill in the gaps and provide other nutrients that are virtually impossible to get through diet alone.

This article will cover everything you need to know about the micronutrients needed to optimize your fertility. We’ll cover vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, ayurvedic medicine, biomolecules, and other unique nutrients, along with some products and brands we trust here at CNY Fertility.

And remember, male factors account for approximately 50% of all fertility cases, so we’ll be going deep on fertility vitamins and supplements for BOTH men and women.

What are Fertility Supplements? 

Quite simply, fertility supplements are pills, capsules, softgels, or liquid dietary supplements that are sold over the counter without a prescription and contain specific nutrients targeted to support and enhance egg, sperm quality, or other aspects of reproductive health.  Fertility supplements can contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, antioxidants, whole foods, biomolecules, and other nutrients known to positively impact fertility.

Micronutrients are essential for many reproductive processes, and a growing number of studies have shown many of the nutrients discussed in this article to support:

  • sperm motility
  • sperm count
  • sperm DNA fragmentation
  • sperm morphology
  • egg quality and maturation
  • menstrual cycles and ovulation
  • immune function and inflammation
  • energy production (which is very important for egg and sperm production)
  • clinical pregnancy rates

While a tremendous amount of research has been done in the area of micronutrients and fertility, it’s important to remember that each person is different, and there is still much to learn about the role various micronutrients play in fertility.

Similarly, it’s important to keep in mind that not all fertility supplements (or supplements in general) are made equal. While the FDA does play an important role in the regulation of dietary supplements, it does not do so nearly to the level of manufactured drugs.

Be sure you do your research, speak to a healthcare professional, and use a trusted brand/manufacturer.

Who Should Take Fertility Vitamins? 

Men and women who are struggling to conceive naturally can and should likely take fertility vitamins. Fertility supplements have demonstrated positive effects in supporting couples who are trying naturally and undergoing fertility treatment

As mentioned, male factors are responsible in part or in whole for approximately 50% of infertility cases.  Men can use fertility vitamins and supplements to increase their count, motility, morphology, support testosterone levels, and improve overall health. 

On a similar note, fertility supplements for women can help combat common causes of female infertility like egg quality, diminished ovarian response (DOR), PCOS, and more.

Fertility supplements can even be used to combat one of the leading causes of unexplained fertility, inflammation

Females can also use prenatal vitamins and fertility supplements to support their health throughout and after pregnancy.  Supplements also support proper fetal development and have even been shown to improve lifelong learning capabilities.  

Similarly, those with PCOS have a unique set of nutrient and supplement needs that can help to reduce common symptoms of PCOS like irregular ovulation, anovulation, reduced embryo quality, and more!

When Should you Take Fertility Supplements?

Sperm and eggs both take about 90 days to develop.   For best results, most specialists recommend taking male and female fertility supplements for at least 90 days before trying to conceive naturally or with fertility treatment.   

CoQ10: Possibly the Most Important Fertility Supplement

Coenzyme Q10 is a biomolecule naturally produced by the human body. It functions as a potent antioxidant and also helps generate cellular energy.  Though produced by the body, levels generally start to decline in the 30s. Because of this, CoQ10 is widely taken as a dietary supplement and has been shown that CoQ10 supplementation can support the cardiovascular system, skin, lung, and neurological health, and even help against diabetes and cancer.

Studies also suggest the CoQ10 may improve both male and female fertility.

CoQ10 supplementation has been found to specifically help infertile men suffering from asthenozoospermia or poor sperm motility.

A 2019 study of 65 men showed that supplementing with Co-Q10 can improve sperm count and motility in men. Depending on the dose, the results were slightly different.

Measurement Before 200 mg After 200 mg Before 400 mg After 400 mg
Concentration (million/mL) 8.22 12.53 7.58 12.33
Progressive motility (%) 16.54 22.58 14.22 26.1 
Total motility (%) 25.68 29.96 23.46  34.82
Normal morphology (%) 22.17  23.64 24.64 27.41 

Still, the numbers above for both doses represent quite impressive for only 3 months of supplementation.

Many other studies have similarly shown CoQ10 to improve sperm count, motility, concentration, and morphology.

A 2015 study showed that suboptimal levels of CoQ10 could lead to oocyte deficits and age-associated causes of infertility.   The study also produced evidence that supplementing Co-Q10 can reverse the age-related decline in oocyte quantity and quality.  

Another 2018 study found that pre-supplementation with Co-Q10 improved a number of critical measurements of fertility in women undergoing IVF treatment.

In this study, women who supplemented with 600mg of CoQ10 for 3 months had drastically improved fertilization rates (67% vs. 45%), more high-quality embryos (measured by having embryos left to freeze for future use 18% vs. 4%), and most importantly a live birth rate of 29% vs. 16%.

Measurement 600 mg CoQ10 Control group
Fertilization rate 67.49 45.06
Patients who had egg retrieval but no embryo transfer 8.33 22.89
Patients with cryopreserved embryos 18.42 4.30
Cumulative live birth rate 28.95 15.54

CoQ10 Supplement for Fertility Summary:

CoQ10 is one of the most important fertility supplements for both men and women.

  • For Men: May help improve sperm count, motility, and overall male reproductive health.
  • For Women: May improve egg quality, fertilization rates, pregnancy rates, live birth rates, and overall female fertility.

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin for Fertility

Vitamin D, unlike most other vitamins, Vitamin D is a prohormone meaning it is a precursor to other hormones. And despite its name, Vitamin D isn’t technically a vitamin because your body is capable of synthesizing it. 

Despite your body being able to synthesize Vitamin D, sun exposure rarely provides adequate vitamin D levels, which is a problem because only a small number of foods contain a significant amount.

In fact, approximately 40% of the population is deficient in this vital nutrient. While this sounds bad as it is, the news may be worse if you’re trying to conceive. 

Both vitamin D receptors and vitamin D converting enzymes are found in the reproductive tissues of women and men, indicating an important role of vitamin d in fertility. Mice that lack the genes to produce these vitamin D receptors have significantly smaller testes and ovaries, reduced sperm count and motility, and other abnormalities of the testis, ovary, and uterus.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a number of fertility issues for women, including endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids, and pregnancy rates.

One study analyzing 188 women undergoing IVF found pregnancy rates to be 4 times higher in patients that had adequate vitamin D levels compared to those who were vitamin D deficient. Interestingly, this study showed a race dependence.

A 2009 study found that each ng/mL increase in blood vitamin D levels increased the likelihood of achieving pregnancy by 6%.

A study from 2019 looking at those with PCOS found that vitamin D supplementation lead to better embryo and higher pregnancy rates

Variable Deficient and no vitamin D treatment Normal vitamin D, no treatment necessary Deficient before, normal after vitamin D treatment Deficient before and after vitamin D treatment
Clinical Pregnancy Rate 19.3% (11/57) 65.2% (15/23) 66.7% (38/57) 23.5% (16/68)

But data isn’t always conclusive.

Low vitamin D status has also been associated with impaired semen quality, like reduced sperm motility.

Similarly, when looking at infertile men, those with vitamin D deficiency have significantly lower sperm production and motility.

A 2018 study showed that men with low vitamin D levels and low sperm count could be helped by vitamin D supplementation when trying to get pregnant naturally.  Those in the placebo group had a pregnancy rate of 18.3% compared to 35.6% of the treatment group.

Vitamin D Supplementation for Fertility Summary

This is one fertility vitamin you don’t want to miss regardless of your sex. Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common, affecting roughly 40% of the population. Levels and supplementation have been positively associated with clinical pregnancy rates, sperm motility, and more.

Omega 3’s/Fish Oil

Omega 3s are known to have a laundry list of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke, and slowing the development of plaque in arteries, reducing depression, and more.   Omega 3s are found naturally in fish, other seafood, some nuts, and seeds.  Interestingly, fish, who are most famous for their omega 3 content, get their omega 3s from Algae that make up the bottom of the marine food chain. 

Many people know that during pregnancy, getting enough omega 3s is associated with:

  • Brain and eye development
  • Higher intelligence
  • Better communication and social skills
  • Fewer behavioral problems
  • Decreased risk of developmental delay
  • Decreased risk of ADHD, autism, and cerebral palsy

But, omega supplementation can be very important for improving fertility when trying to conceive as well.

Studies have shown that increasing omega 3 fatty acid levels can delay ovarian aging, improve egg quality, and improve overall fertility.

A 2018 study further supported this notion by demonstrating that the probability of clinical pregnancy increased by 8% for every 1% increase in blood omega 3 levels.

One reason Omega 3s supplementation may be so good for fertility is the link between inflammation and fertility. Numerous infertility diagnoses are intimately related to inflammation. Omega 3, as you have it, provide great anti-inflammatory support.

Omega 3 supplementation also appears to be beneficial for male fertility.

One study showed that fertile men have higher levels of omega 3s compared to infertile men. They also discovered a correlation of key sperm parameters noting that higher omega 3 levels were associated with higher sperm count and better motility and morphology.   In addition to supporting the growth of sperm cells, omega 3s can help to boost sperm motility. 

Other studies have demonstrated that omega 3 supplementation for fertility can improve sperm count, motility, and morphology.

Fertility specialists believe that men suffering from oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (low number of sperm, poor sperm movement, and abnormal sperm shape) may benefit from an omega-3 supplement.  OAT is the most common cause of male subfertility.  

Omega 3s and Fish Oil Supplementation for Fertility Summary

For females: Fish Oil supplementation may help improve egg quality, delay ovarian aging, improve pregnancy rates, and support and improve fetal development.

For Males: Omega 3 supplementation can improve sperm count, motility, and morphology in men struggling with fertility.

Inositol: An Important Fertility Supplement, Especially for PCOS

Inositol is a type of sugar molecule. But don’t let that association fool you into thinking inositol is at all like high fructose corn syrup or even glucose, for that matter. 

Inositol is involved in many chemical messaging in the brain, contributes to cell membrane structures, participates in insulin signaling and glucose metabolism, and in many reproductive processes.

In fact, many experts consider inositol to be the most important fertility supplement for those with PCOS.

Inositol has been clinically demonstrated to improve manage blood glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce insulin resistance.

At the same time, research has shown those with PCOS have high insulin levels AND, perhaps not surprisingly, low natural inositol levels. Indeed, many fertility specialists theorize that these high glucose and insulin levels which cause insulin resistance are the root cause of PCOS

Fortunately, many studies have shown supplementing with inositol improves insulin-receptor activity and reduces insulin resistance. One study showed myo-inositol supplementation decrease insulin resistance by approximately 70%.

Naturally, if PCOS is ultimately caused by glucose and insulin disturbances, the ability for inositol to reverse insulin resistance is good news for fertility. 

In one relatively small study, 88% of women who supplemented with inositol had at least one spontaneous menstrual cycle during the study, 72% of participants maintained normal ovulatory activity for 6 months, and 40% developed singleton pregnancies. Another slightly larger study found that over a 6 month period of inositol supplementation for fertility, 45.5% of patients were pregnant.

Several studies have also shown improved egg quality for women with PCOS.

In one of the studies mentioned above, fertilization rates of women with PCOS undergoing IVF were looked at. Those supplementing with inositol prior to the IVF cycle saw a nearly 20% increase in fertilization, 58.3%, compared to 42.6% for the control group.

All of this was further backed up by a meta-analysis reviewing most major inositol for fertility studies which concluded inositol supplementation for fertility was associated with significantly improved clinical pregnancy rates

But what if you don’t have PCOS?

Well, the results are mixed, but many experts like Dr. Robert Kiltz still say the benefits highly outweigh the negative and recommend all males and females trying to get pregnant take this powerful vitamin-like fertility supplement. And there’s certainly data to support that.

While a 2012 study found no clinically significant results in clinical pregnancy rates for those without PCOS, other studies have. A 2021 study found that supplementing IVF poor responders with 4000 mg of myo-inositol prior to treatment had an improved: number eggs retrieved, more embryos transferred, and higher clinical pregnancy rates.

Similarly, multiple studies have shown a positive effect on sperm motility and other male parameters after using this fertility supplement.

Summary of Inositol Supplementation for Fertility

For Females with PCOS: Arguably the most important fertility supplement for women with PCOS. Inositol for PCOS has been shown to increase the chance of ovulation, natural pregnancy, egg quality, and more.

For Females without PCOS: Some solid scientific backing to show that it can help improve egg quality and pregnancy outcomes, particularly in IVF poor responders. Many fertility experts recommend inositol across the board to females, regardless of PCOS status.

For Males: Some scientific evidence suggesting inositol has a positive effect on sperm motility and other measures of male fertility.

Ashwagandha: An Important Male Fertility Supplement

Ashwagandha is a plant native to India. It has been used for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic medicine but is gaining popularity as a fertility supplement as studies have demonstrated its ability to drastically improve male fertility. While there are some accounts of it being used for female fertility, research predominately supports its use as a male fertility supplement. 

In one placebo-controlled study, infertile men who took ashwagandha for 90 days significantly increased a number of key fertility measures.

Specifically, those who took Ashwagandha increased sperm counts by 167%, motility by 57%, semen volume by 53%, and testosterone by 17%.

While it’s not known exactly how Ashwagandha exerts its powers as an important fertility supplement, stress may play a contributing role.

Stress has been shown to negatively impact many measurements of male fertility, and the stress that comes with a diagnosis of infertility can even make the problem worse.

Ashwagandha, as it turns out, can play a significant role in managing stress.

One well-conducted study showed that Ashwagandha reduced serum cortisol levels by 27.9%.  Cortisol, as you may know, is the key stress hormone and most potent biomarker and indicator of chronic stress. And if you’re not convinced by biology, those in this same study scored significantly lower (44%, 72.9, and 71.6%, to be exact) on three independent stress and anxiety scales. Many other studies have backed these results.

Ashwagandha as a Fertility Supplement Review

For Men: Studies have indicated Ashwagandha is one mighty herb for sperm count, motility, and more. In fact, it may be one of the most important fertility supplements for men with fairly dramatic improvements in sperm count, motility, and morphology.

For women: No real indication to use as a fertility supplement.

PQQ Supplementation for Fertility

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a redox cofactor and antioxidant that has only recently made waves in the fertility supplement world. This vitamin-like compound has been shown to induce mitochondrial biogenesis. In other words, it stimulates the growth of new mitochondria. Mitochondria, as mentioned above, are the cellular powerhouse where nutrients are turned into a form of energy cells can use.

PQQ, as a redox cofactor, is also a powerful antioxidant.

As you may recall, both eggs and sperm take a lot of energy to grow, maintain, and in sperm’s case, swim.  On top of that, as humans age, they become less efficient in creating cellular energy. They are also highly sensitive to oxidative stress.

All of this bodes well and is theoretically an excellent combo with CoQ10 to further optimize cellular energy generation. CoQ10 optimizes mitochondrial function; PQQ activates genes for mitochondrial reproduction, protection, and repair.

Yes, there aren’t many clinical studies looking specifically at PQQ for fertility, but the theoretical framework is sound, and many fertility specialists have already started recommending PQQ alongside CoQ10 as the perfect batman and robin pair for egg and sperm health.

Folate (not folic acid)

Folate and folic acid are different forms of vitamin B-9. While they are similar, Folate is the natural version that is found in foods, the active form of which is 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).

Folic acid, on the other hand, is a synthetic form of the nutrient and is often used to fortify processed foods and in low-quality supplements. As you may suspect, not all folic acid you consume can be converted into that active 5-MTHF which may be a problem as unmetabolized folic acid may promote tumor growth.

Most of us know that folate is important during pregnancy. It has been proven that folate taken during pregnancy significantly reduces the chance of fetal neural tube defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly, and may also improve other aspects of neurodevelopment and brain function as well as help prevent autism disorders.

Folate is also important for maternal health during pregnancy as it has been shown to reduce the risk of pregnancy-related complications, including preeclampsia and preterm birth.

Because of all of this, it’s very important that mothers have adequate blood levels at the time of conception. It is therefore recommended that women planning to get pregnant, even if they are not struggling with infertility, start taking folate at least one month before conception and continued throughout pregnancy

But the news doesn’t stop there for this fertility-boosting vitamin. Studies have begun to show that fertility vitamin doesn’t just help with fetal and maternal health once pregnant, it may help those struggling with fertility get pregnant.

Fertility specialists believe that supplementing folate can improve pregnancy chances for women attempting to get pregnant naturally and for women undergoing fertility treatment.  Studies have shown that folate can improve oocyte counts and embryo quality in couples undergoing fertility treatment.

One study 2015 study showed that women with higher blood folate levels had 160% higher live birth rates in comparison to women with lower folate levels.

Another study of 232 women undergoing fertility treatment supported this notion and found that higher folate intake was associated with higher rates of implantation, clinical pregnancy, and live birth.

Additional studies on how nutrients affect reproduction have shown that folate is essential to oocyte quality and growth, implantation, fetal growth, and organ development.

Folate is also a contender as a fertility vitamin for men. It’s certainly possible as folate is known to work with zinc in the production of sperm DNA.  But, the results are conflicting.

According to several studies, higher seminal folate levels have been shown to be positively associated with sperm count, help prevent sperm DNA damage and infertility.

A 2019 study found no benefit. While no benefit was found, it’s important to note that the 2019 study didn’t find that folate harmed sperm.

Summary of Folate As a Fertility Vitamin

For Women: Due to its ability to support fetal neurological development and greatly reduce the odds of fetal defects pregnancy complications, folate (not folic acid) should be taken a minimum of one month prior to any planned conception and continued throughout pregnancy. Due to the association of folate levels with clinical pregnancy rates in those undergoing fertility treatment, it should likely be started sooner if possible.

For Men: Results are mixed, but given there appears to be little harm with potential upside if taken, it should probably be taken.

Vitamin C for Fertility

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects your cells from damaging free radicals and oxidation.

Free radicals and the oxidate state in which they cause have been linked to many chronic diseases.

Fortunately, studies show that consuming extra vitamin C can increase blood antioxidant levels up to 30% and help fight inflammation.

A large scale meta-analysis of many studies on male infertility found that infertile men were 30-80% more likely to have elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) This makes male infertility a prime target for heavy antioxidant therapy.

In one study, men given 2000mg of Vitamin C daily for two months showed a huge increase in sperm count and motility.

After two months of Vitamin C supplementation, sperm counts more than doubled.  

Vitamin C Fertility Sperm Count

In the same study, the % of motile sperm nearly double from 31.2% motility to 60.1%.  For reference, a sperm sample must be 50% motile to be considered normal.

Vitamin C Fertility Sperm Motility

Sperm also experienced a 55% decrease in visible deformities after treatment with Vitamin C.

Several other studies have backed up the importance of Vitamin C and other antioxidant supplements for male fertility.

Sure, many fruits have vitamin C that could boost sperm count and motility, but they are also loaded with sugar which could be fertility damaging. For that reason, Vitamin C supplements may be better for fertility than chomping down pounds of fruit each day.

Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient that is vital for many body functions.  Choline supports cell growth, metabolism, liver, and muscle function.  The body naturally produces choline, but the majority comes from diet.

Doctors and fertility specialists are increasingly recognizing the importance of ensuring adequate levels of choline during pregnancy.   Research has shown that choline plays several critical roles in the prenatal period, including tissue expansion, brain development, and neurotransmission.

Unbelievable, 91% of Americans don’t meet the daily recommended intake for Choline . . . and requirements are even higher during pregnancy.

Studies have shown that supplementing mother’s diets with additional choline improves pregnancy outcomes and may protect against some neural and metabolic impairments.

While there aren’t any studies showing it vastly improves sperm or egg quality or the chance of conception, the fact remains that it’s one of the most important nutrients to start taking before a pregnancy is achieved due to its importance in fetal development. Not to mention, most prenatal vitamins don’t even include choline.

Carnitine

Carnitine is an amino acid derivative that plays a critical role in the production of cellular energy by transporting fatty acids into a cell’s mitochondria. “/]

Interestingly, carnitine is found in high concentrations in the male reproductive tract, suggesting an important role in generating the energy needed for the maturation and motility of sperm.

Carnitine can be consumed as a supplement in one of many forms: Carnitine, Acetyl L Carnitine, L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate.

Research has shown that supplementing ACL can help to treat male fertility issues, especially those resulting from sperm motility issues.

Other studies have supported that acetyl l-carnitine is effective in improving all sperm parameters, with the most significant improvement being sperm motility.

Carnitine may also be helpful for women, particularly those with PCOS. 

One clinical study found that non-obese women with PCOS have significantly lower levels of L-carnitine when compared to women without PCOS.  

Another study in women with PCOS found that supplementing carnitine in addition to Clomid resulted in a thicker endometrium and higher pregnancy rates.

Summary of Carnitine Supplementation for Fertility

For Men: Carnitine is likely a helpful supplement for male fertility and has been shown to increase a variety of sperm parameters, most notably, sperm motility.

For Women: Carnitine supplementation may be a helpful supplement for females with PCOS.

Shilajit

Shilajit is a natural substance with a tar-like texture. It has been used in ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a dietary supplement, and recently, for fertility.

It is reported to improve a few important aspects of male fertility, including sperm count and motility. One study of men with low sperm counts noted a 61% increase in sperm count and a 12-17% increase in sperm motility after taking Shilajit as a fertility supplement for 90 days.

Shilajit may be able to increase fertility further by working synergistically with CoQ10. One study showed ATP (cellular energy currency) levels to be the highest in groups that supplemented with both CoQ10 and Shilajit.

Shilajit Supplementation for Fertility Summary:

For Men: One study showed a fairly substantial increase in sperm count and motility. Having more studies would be nice.

For Women: No studies looking directly at shilajit and female fertility but may be beneficial due to synergistic effects with CoQ10.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that is naturally found in meat, fish, and eggs.  Getting appropriate levels of Zinc is considered essential for male fertility as zinc works alongside folate in the synthesis of Spermatic DNA.  

Studies show that low zinc levels are associated with low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality, and an increased risk of male infertility.

Zinc supplementation has been shown to increase testosterone levels and sperm count in men with low zinc.  Men who participate in excessive amounts of high-intensity exercise are more likely to experience low testosterone.  Studies have shown that zinc supplementation can be especially important in these types of men.

Lycopene

Lycopene is a naturally occurring molecule that gives many fruits their red color that possesses fantastic antioxidant properties.

It is also a common dietary supplement and one that has shown promise as a fertility supplement.

One study from 2002 showed that 4 mg of lycopene supplementation for three months improved sperm count 22 million/ml, motility 25%, and morphology 10%.

Several other studies have shown similar support for lycopene supplementation improving fertility.

Summary of Lycopene Supplementation for Fertility

For men: Lycopene supplementation for 3 months or more has been shown to improve sperm count, motility, and morphology.

For women: There aren’t many if any studies specifically looking at lycopene for female fertility, but antioxidants similar to lycopene have been shown to help female fertility.

Selenium

Selenium is a trace element essential that functions critically in many vital processes in the human body.

In one 2011 study of over 600 infertile men, selenium combined with vitamin E supplementation significantly improved several sperm measurements.  52.6% of participants saw improvements in sperm motility, morphology, or both, and 10.8% achieved spontaneous pregnancy.

Selenium deficiencies have also been shown to contribute to miscarriages along with nervous and immune systems issues in growing fetuses.

Several other studies have shown similar results and supported selenium use as a fertility supplement.

B12: Another Important Fertility Vitamin 

Vitamin B-12 is a nutrient that is involved in the metabolism of every cell in the human body.  Vitamin B-12 helps make DNA and also keeps nerve and blood cells healthy.  Fertility specialists agree that vitamin B-12 plays an important role in sperm development, as it does with all cells.  Research has shown that vitamin B-12 can help improve semen quality, particularly sperm count and sperm motility.

A study conducted in 2013 showed that oral vitamin B-12 supplementation could improve sperm vitality, motility, and DNA integrity.   Vitamin B-12 has been proposed by fertility specialists as a candidate therapy to enhance semen quality and also as a candidate drug to manage male infertility because of its positive effects on sperm parameters, particularly sperm count. 

For women, vitamin B12 may also be quite important. 

One study showed that women with the highest blood levels of vitamin B-12 had two times the probability of live birth compared with women with the lowest.

ALA Supplementation for Fertility

Alpha Lipoic Acid is a compound that is found in all human cells. It is made in the mitochondria, where it helps turn nutrients into cellular energy. As we know, growing and maintaining healthy eggs and sperm are highly energy-dependent processes.

ALA also has powerful antioxidant activity and has been shown to reduce inflammation, both of which we now know are good for male and female fertility.

One study published in Fertility and Sterility found that supplementing with 400 mg ALA for 60-90 days increased the numbers of mature and good-quality eggs and embryos. Pregnancy rates were also higher, though the difference didn’t reach a statistically significant level.

In a study looking at male fertility, men taking 600 mg of ALA experienced improved sperm counts and motility.

A 2021 review of many studies that looked at ALA supplementation for fertility found that ALA is beneficial for men and women experiencing infertility. Specifically, the review supported the idea that ALA improves fertilization, embryo development, sperm quality, and reproductive outcomes.

ALA Supplement for Fertility Summary 

For Men: While there are not an overwhelming number of studies, supplementing with ALA has proven generally safe while at the same time showing quite a bit of promise for male fertility.

For Women: Not many studies, but overall, ALA has all the base characteristics of a potentially helpful fertility supplement with growing amounts of clinical data to support it being used as a fertility supplement.

Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that can be found in seafood or as a dietary supplement.  It is an essential element of thyroid hormones, and it helps to control cell growth, repair damaged cells, and regulate a healthy metabolism.  During early pregnancy, the fetus is dependent on the mother’s thyroid hormones for normal brain development.  If thyroid production is affected by low iodine levels, then normal fetal brain development can be disturbed.  Research has shown that taking iodine supplements can help to combat iodine deficiency in pregnant women. Iodine deficiency is common in the US population, especially pregnant women. 

Iodine deficiency may also contribute to women having difficulty getting pregnant. 

In one study, women with low Iodine levels were observed to have a 46% lower chance of achieving pregnancy per menstrual cycle compared to women with sufficient levels.

Iron

Iron is an essential mineral for growth, development, and the production of hormones.  Iron is used to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to organs and tissues throughout the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. The amount of blood in a woman’s body increases by 30-50% during pregnancy.  Extra iron is necessary to support the extra blood volume.  Iron deficiency is believed to have an impact on babies being born undersized or prematurely.

Research has also shown that iron levels are related to a woman’s risk of ovulatory infertility.  One study showed that women who consumed iron supplements had a significantly lower risk of ovulatory infertility compared to women who did not use iron supplements.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is vital for normal vision, immune system health, and reproduction.  Vitamin A also supports many parts of the body like the heart, lungs, and other organs.  Research has shown that Vitamin A is essential for reproduction in both males and females.

Studies have shown that supplementing vitamin A can improve egg quality, ovarian response, implantation, embryonic development, and placental function.

Vitamin E for Fertility

Vitamin E is the collective name for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities.

As discussed heavily throughout this article, reactive oxygen species are involved in a number of reproductive disorders and can negatively affect fertilization and embryo implantation and influence early embryonic development through modifying genetic expressions and more

On the other hand, antioxidants like vitamin E protect against reactive oxygen species and have been shown to be quite positive for female fertility outcomes and many pregnancy-related events. In fact, Vitamin E was discovered as a vitamin necessary for reproduction.

Furthermore, studies have shown Vitamin E levels to be related to pregnancy loss in that women suffering from recurrent pregnancy loss were more likely to have decreased levels of plasma vitamin E.

Vitamin E is also recognized to have positive effects on several different sperm parameters and overall male fertility.  Recent studies have shown an increase in sperm motility in men who took vitamin E supplements.   Research has confirmed the protective and beneficial effects of vitamin E on semen quality.  Fertility specialists advocate for the use of vitamin E supplementation for general male infertility treatment and idiopathic male infertility, which is when men have an unexplained reduction of semen quality.  Research has shown that supplementing vitamin E can help treat men diagnosed with asthenoteratospermia (abnormal motility and morphology of sperm)  or asthenospermia (reduced sperm motility).

A review of multiple studies, published in 2016, showed that supplementing with vitamin E (along with C) reduces sperm DNA damage and improves sperm count and motility.

The Best Fertility Supplement Brand

As you can tell by the list above, shopping for fertility vitamins can be quite a daunting task. Rather than going out and buying 20 different supplements, CNY recommends Molecular Fertility.  Molecular Fertility has packed just about every nutrient above into only a handful of products for men and women. 

Molecular Fertility’s product formulas are backed by peer-reviewed journals like that above and clinical fertility care experience.  Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologists and other fertility experts are already recommending Molecular Fertility products across the USA. 

Not only that, Molecular Fertility products only use the highest quality nutritional ingredients and are loaded with patented and trademarked nutrients in unique forms that help improve absorption, are easier on your stomach, and are more bioavailable, so they do what they are meant to do.

Best Fertility Supplements for Women

Peak Prenatal™

Designed to provide the optimal foundations of fertility and provide nutritional support to mom and baby pre, during, and post-pregnancy.  The peak prenatal combines 14 trademarked and patented ingredients and over 40 nutrients to make the best prenatal on the market. It includes the following nutrients mentioned above and more:

  • Vitamins A, D, and E
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Iodine
  • Inositol
  • Choline
  • And many more helpful nutrients!

Ovarian Bloom™

 

Othe Ovarian Bloom is specially formulated to give eggs the nutrients they need to develop and bloom.  Ovarian Bloom is recommended for females trying to conceive naturally or with the help of fertility treatments.  Ovarian Bloom is composed of the following ingredients known to increase female fertility:

  • Ubiquinol with a patented absorption technology that increases bioavailability by 600%
  • Vitamins D with the same patented absorption technology.
  • Inositol
  • PQQ
  • ALA
  • Ovarian Glandulars

VivoMega™ Fish Oil

VIVOMEGA Fish Oil

Molecular Fertility’s VivoMega is no ordinary fish oil. One serving delivers 6 times the omega 3s of typical fish oil. It also shatters all international standards for purity, freshness, and oxidation and is in the natural TG form for optimal absorption and efficacy.

It’s a bit pricier than your typical fish oil, but as mentioned, it’s 6 times the strength, so it’s actually more affordable on a per mg of omega 3 basis.

Best Male Fertility Supplements

Male Preconception

The Male Preconception provides the foundations of male fertility to support sperm count, morphology, and motility. It should be taken by any man struggling to conceive even if not diagnosed specifically with male factors and contains:

  • Vitamin A, C, D, and E
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Lycopene
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B12
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine
  • L-Carnitine-L-Tartrate

Male Preconception+

The Male Preconception+ provides a similar foundation as the standard Male Preconception but kicks things into hyperdrive with some ultra sperm boosting nutrients, so your sperm are sure to be swimming like Phelps himself.  Male Preconception+ can be taken by men trying to conceive naturally or with the assistance of fertility treatments and is especially important for men who have been diagnosed with male factor infertility or attempting an IUI (aka artificial insemination).  The ingredients included in Male Preconception are the same as the above (though some in slightly higher doses) as well as:

  • Co-Q10
  • Ashwagandha
  • Shilajit
  • Inositol
  • Arginine 
  • NAC
  • D-Aspartic Acid
  • ALA
  • PQQ
  • Pomegranate fruit extract
  • Green Tea Leaf Extract
  • Chlorella
  • Spirulina 
  • Garlic

VivoMega Fish Oil

VIVOMEGA Fish Oil

As mentioned above, fish oil is very important for sperm health and male fertility. We recommend the same fish oil for men as women, Molecular Fertility’s VivoMega.

The Bottom Line

Infertility, like many chronic diseases, may actually be a symptom of underlying issues and not the disease itself. While socially it is important we consider infertility a disease, so people have proper access to care, knowing that infertility is often a symptom of an underlying issues means that we can improve our fertility and the chances getting pregnant through lifestyle changes, proper nutrition, vitamins, and other fertility supplements.

Time and time again, studies have shown that both male and female fertility is affected by micronutrient deficiencies and enhanced through supplementation.

At CNY Fertility, we recommend all patients and really anyone trying to conceive take a number of supplements to improve sperm and egg health and support both mother and baby during pregnancy.

There’s a lot of confusion and misconceptions surrounding fertility supplements, so the need for professional research-backed products is crucial.  Our fertility specialists comprising of Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologists, recommend those looking for a reliable fertility supplement turn to Molecular Fertility.

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