Fertility

Unlocking Your Fertility Potential: How Nutrition Plays a Pivotal Role

November 14, 2023

Written by Gia Eapen, MD

Medically reviewed by

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Key Points

  • Certain nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, and E, CoQ10, Selenium, Zinc, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, can boost fertility.
  • Both overweight and underweight BMI values can negatively impact fertility outcomes.
  • Lifestyle factors, including smoking and excessive alcohol and coffee consumption, can hinder fertility.
  • Dietary counseling can provide tailored fertility nutrition plans and help manage fertility-related challenges.

Infertility, the inability to conceive after a year of regular unprotected sex, affects approximately 6% of married women of childbearing age in the United States. However, lifestyle modifications, especially in diet, can significantly influence reproductive abilities. This article delves into the nutritional factors that can enhance fertility, highlighting the role of certain nutrients and the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. Want a tailored fertility nutrition plan? Book an appointment with Fay today.

Nutrition: The Fertility Booster

Nutrition plays an integral role in enhancing fertility, with certain nutrients directly impacting reproductive health:

  • Vitamin A: Enhances sex hormone production in women and supports sperm synthesis in men.
  • Vitamin E: Necessary for sperm health and activity in men, and it heightens sexual desire in both sexes.
  • Vitamin D: Promotes ovulation and the production of sex hormones.
  • CoQ10: Essential for sperm motility and acts as an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage.
  • Selenium: This antioxidant protects eggs and sperm from free radicals.
  • Zinc: Works with over 300 different enzymes in the body, many of which are involved in reproduction.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Helps regulate hormones, increases cervical mucus, promotes ovulation, and enhances the quality of the uterus by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs.

Moreover, according to The Nurses' Health Study II, a diet rich in vegetable-sourced iron may lower the risk of ovulatory infertility. Foods such as beans, lentils, spinach, fortified cereals, long-grain enriched rice, and whole grains are rich in iron, and their absorption can be enhanced by pairing them with vitamin C-rich foods.

An eating pattern similar to the "Fertility Diet" recommended by Harvard researchers can also be beneficial. This diet is rich in monounsaturated fats (avocados, olive oil), vegetable proteins, low-glycemic carbohydrates (whole grains), and high-fiber, vegetarian iron sources, along with multivitamins and high-fat dairy. It has been associated with a 66% lower risk of ovulatory infertility and a 27% reduced risk of infertility from other causes.

And, let's not forget folic acid - while it won't increase fertility, it's essential for preventing neural tube defects early in pregnancy. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a daily supplement containing 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid in addition to consuming folate and folic acid-rich foods. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen.

Considering all these aspects, it's clear that fertility is nourished by a varied diet rich in specific nutrients. Need help crafting a fertility-boosting diet? Book a consultation with Fay to get started.

Demystifying the Role of BMI in Fertility

Both extremes of body weight can alter hormone levels and disrupt ovulation, leading to fertility challenges. For women classified as overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 25), weight loss may enhance fertility. Conversely, underweight women (BMI < 18.5) may experience irregular menstrual cycles or stop ovulating altogether. High-intensity activities, eating disorders, or restricted diets can increase the risk of being underweight. Hence, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for optimal fertility. If you need help navigating weight management for fertility, Fay is here to guide you.

Men, Fertility, and Nutrition

It's not just women who need to focus on nutrition for fertility. Men also need to maintain a healthy weight and a balanced diet. Male obesity can alter hormone levels and reduce sperm count and motility. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may help produce strong sperm. If you're a man looking to enhance fertility through nutrition, don't hesitate to book a consultation with Fay.

Dietary Counseling: The Road Less Traveled

Given the impact of nutrition on fertility, it's becoming increasingly important to integrate dietary counseling into clinical infertility guidelines and national dietary guidelines for reproductive-age individuals. By doing so, we can create a more inclusive approach to fertility and cater to at-risk groups.

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in fertility for both men and women. By integrating dietary counseling into infertility management, we can significantly improve fertility outcomes. Everyone's nutritional needs are unique, and a personalized fertility nutrition plan can help you navigate your fertility journey effectively. Don't navigate this path alone - book an appointment with a Registered Dietitian at Fay today to start your tailored fertility nutrition plan.




The views expressed by authors and contributors of such content are not endorsed or approved by Fay and are intended for informational purposes only. The content is reviewed by Fay only to confirm educational value and audience interest. You are encouraged to discuss any questions that you may have about your health with a healthcare provider.


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Fay Nutrition has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

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Gia Eapen, MD

Written by Gia Eapen, MD

Dr. Gia Eapen is a skilled Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) physician at Case Western/MetroHealth. A Northwestern University alumna, she pursued her medical degree at the University of Vermont, fostering a deep understanding of women's health and reproductive medicine. She combines her comprehensive knowledge with a dedication to patient-centered care, embodying a commitment to enhancing healthcare standards in her field.

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