Best Fertility Supplements in the UK (2021) | Nutritionist Approved

Nutrition plays an important part wherever you are in your fertility journey. Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or undergoing fertility treatment, the period of time before you conceive gives you a window of opportunity to evaluate and elevate your health and wellbeing.

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Posted

June 01, 2021

Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or undergoing fertility treatment, the period of time before you conceive gives you a window of opportunity to evaluate and elevate your health and wellbeing.

 

Do fertility supplements really work?

There is now a wealth of scientific knowledge and evidence around the use of nutritional supplements and their beneficial effects on both male and female fertility. As you will see in this article, the nutrients in fertility supplements can be very effective in re-balancing your hormones, restore many different microbiomes within the body (vaginal, gut and semen), improve thyroid and other endocrine function and support proper immune response, all of which are vital for overall health and a successful conception. Supplements are necessary because even the best diet in the world won’t provide all the nutrients you need to give you the best chance of conceiving.

Here are our top tips for finding the best fertility supplements in the UK:

  • Choose a supplement that has been specifically formulated for improving fertility. 
  • Look for a formulation that combines bioavailable forms of fertility nutrients: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids. 
  • The best supplements have as little fillers and binders as possible. Always check the ingredients for added excipients such as bulking agents. 
  • Choose supplements that are sourced and manufactured ethically and have plastic free and recyclable packaging.
  • Don’t be swayed by cost. Cheap supplements often mean cheap unwanted ingredients and poorly absorbed nutrients.  

It’s also important to remember that becoming as healthy as possible before you conceive is about nourishing your mind as well as your body. You can find more lifestyle advice and some useful tips on fertility and conception in our Best 10 Fertility App article.

 

Best supplements for couples to take to increase fertility?

Taking a combined approach to fertility more accurately reflects the ‘dual’ nature of conception and, later, life-long shared parenting. Planning a pregnancy can be a wonderful time for many couples but unfortunately it isn’t as straightforward for some. The global fertility rates have been in a decline for the past 20 years and currently around 25% of couples have trouble conceiving. Frustratingly, the most common cause of infertility is ‘unexplained’ which means that following a thorough medical investigation, doctors can’t identify the root problem. This is where nutritional therapy can provide extra support and help to improve your nutrition. We recommend you start seeing a practitioner at least 3 months prior to trying to conceive, although we do appreciate it won’t always be possible.

 

So what do you need to make a baby?

  • A healthy egg – relies on zinc, omega 3, CoQ10 and antioxidants.
  • About a million well shaped and mobile sperm – rely on zinc, selenium, vitamin C, arginine, carnitine, coq10 and healthy and balanced seminal fluid.
  • Successful implantation – relies on nutrients such as Vitamin B12, E, D, folate and copper, iodine, selenium and zinc.
  • Organogenesis (organ formation) – relies on Vitamin A, E folate, copper, iron and zinc.
  • Brain and neural development – rely on Vitamin B12, D folate, copper, iron, iodine, zinc, cholesterol, choline, EPA and DHA.
  • Skeletal development – relies on extra calcium and vitamin D.
  • Maternal adaptations – relies on extra protein.

Additional energy –extra calories from more nutritious food.

Best female fertility supplements UK

In an ideal world, the nutritional demands of a woman would be met by eating a balanced and nutritious diet. Unfortunately, the growing demands of a modern lifestyle are having a significant impact on our nutritional needs – stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, dieting and poor nutrition all impact the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients needed to optimise reproductive health. This is where a fertility supplement can help by providing extra support needed for good preconception health.

Female fertility supplement checklist: 

  • Folate is required during pre-conception and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, to support the prevention of neural tube defects (such as spina bifida). Taking folate beyond 12 weeks of pregnancy is now recommended according to new government guidelines, for health reasons beyond neural tube defects. Methyl-folate is preferred form in fertility supplements, as it’s the natural and more metabolically active form of the nutrient [8]. 
  • B vitamins are also vital for their role in energy production. Without sufficient energy, the body cannot produce hormones and ultimately won’t support conception.
  • Zinc has numerous important functions; it’s essential for conception and implantation. Zinc is a “key regulator” of oocyte (egg cell) development, it plays a role in oocyte division, fertilization, DNA regulation, and embryo development [9].
  • Vitamin D plays an active role in the health of the ovaries, endometrium, placenta and pituitary gland. Higher Vitamin D levels have been associated with better IVF and pregnancy outcomes. Vitamin D has been implicated in egg survival and growth and may help regulate hormonal conditions such PCOS and endometriosis [10].
  • Omega 3 has been shown to impact fertility by positively influencing oocyte quality and embryo implantation [11]. Higher intake of Omega 3 has also been associated with better IVF outcomes.
  • Probiotics have been shown to support oestrogen metabolism and elimination, crucial for female hormone regulation [12]. Certain beneficial bacteria strains also support a healthy vaginal microbiome, which plays a vital role in reproductive and maternal health [13] [14].

Dietary and supplementation advice are often different for women who have recently discontinued the contraceptive pill; patients with pre-existing hormonal conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis and women who are going through IVF.  We recommend that the nutritional needs of these patients are carefully tailored by one of our practitioners. Please get in touch for a Free 15 minutes discovery call to discuss  your health concerns and to match you with the most suitable practitioner.

 

Best male fertility supplements UK

Around 30-40% of fertility problems are associated with men. Yet, the focus particularly in the early stages of investigation, tends to be on the female partner. Testing and lifestyle changes should always be undertaken by both partners at the same time. Here at the London Clinic of Nutrition, we take a dual approach and will work closely with both partners. 

Male fertility supplement checklist: 

  • Zinc is by far the most researched nutrient in relation male fertility. It is important for the maintenance of testosterone levels in the blood. Zinc is also present at high concentrations in the seminal fluid, and it plays a multifaceted role in sperm function. It is needed to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm [15]. It also acts as an antioxidant and protects the sperm against oxidative damage. Oxidative damage can result in sperm DNA fragmentation and reduced chance of conception [16].  Zinc is a very common deficiency seen in our clinic in both men and women. 
  • Vitamin D plays an important role in sperm production, quality and motility and semen function. It is also vital for overall health through its immune and hormone regulatory functions [17] [18]. Vitamin D is another nutrient that seems to be deficient in many of our patients. A simple and affordable skin prick test can tell you if you are deficient in Vitamin D. 
  • Selenium has been associated with spermatogenesis (sperm production) and libido and various studies have shown that optimal selenium levels could improve male fertility [19]. Due to its antioxidant activity, tremendous interest is evolving in the study of selenium and its compounds. Around 25 seleno-proteins have been identified in humans and they have been shown to have antioxidant actions that may help with infertility problems in men [20].
  • Vitamin C is found at high concentration in seminal fluid suggesting its important role in sperm development and protection of oxidative damage and its potential for reducing DNA fragmentation [21]. 
  • Folate is essential in DNA production to lower risk of sperm abnormalities [22].
  • Co-Q10 has been shown to increase sperm count and motility by giving its mitochondria a boost of energy. It may also protect sperm from free radical damage. 
  • L-Arginine, an amino acid, is the precursor to nitric oxide which may dilate blood vessels, this mechanism has been proposed to help with sperm motility and mobility, allowing sperm to reach their target
  • L-Carnitine provides energy sources for sperm maturation and metabolism and it may enhance the speed at which the sperm swim. 
  • Omega 3 supplementation has been shown to improve sperm quality, count and density. 

 

It is important to work with an experienced practitioner to individualise an approach that considers your unique situation, health status and genetics. At the London Clinic of Nutrition we combine industry-leading nutrition and functional medicine expertise, alongside the latest in-house testing, so we can attend to all your health needs in one trip. Read more about our experienced Practitioners here who will provide you with personalised support and advice.

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