Pregnancy and Fertility Nutrition Tips – Nutrients that Boost Your Fertility

Pregnancy vitamins can reduce the risk of problems in the baby’s development in the early weeks of pregnancy. Individual nutrients and their beneficial effects on both male and female fertility are well documented, with scientific evidence showing they can be very effective in re-balance hormones, regulating menstrual cycles, improving the quality of the sperm and offering protection against the free radical damage derived from toxins within the diet and as well as the environment. The most important nutrients are:

Folic Acid is an essential nutrient as along with vitamin B12 it works to ensure the baby’s genetic codes are intact. It is also important for the division of cells within the body and is vital in both conception and pregnancy, as this is a time of rapid cell multiplication. Folic acid has also been proven to help prevent Spina bifida in a baby. Leafy greens, brewers yeast, black eye peas & whole grain cereals are good sources of folic acid.

Zinc is an essential component of genetic material and a deficiency in this important mineral can cause chromosome changes in either you or our partner, leading to reduced fertility and an increased risk of miscarriage. It is also required for the reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Zinc is also found in high concentrations in the sperm where it is needed to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm and is, therefore, essential for the health of your partner’s sperm and, subsequently, your baby. Good sources of zinc include meat, fish, oysters, nuts, eggs and leafy greens.

Selenium has anti oxidant qualities which help to protect against the effects of free radicals within the body that can cause chromosomal damage. It is also needed to maximise sperm formation and is required for testosterone production. Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, tuna, cabbage and whole grains are good sources of selenium.

B complex – The B vitamins help to create new blood cells for the growing baby and are also key for brain development and cell division as well as the development of the nervous system, with vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 having specific important actions The B vitamins can be found in many nuts, seeds and whole grains as well as yeast extract.

Essential Fatty Acids These essential fats include the omega 3(fish oils) and omega 6 (seeds & oils), both of which have important roles to play especially in reproductive and immune health. They are also crucial for healthy hormone functioning. Essential fatty acids break down in the body to produce prostaglandins which healthy semen is rich in. They also help to promote good levels of healthy, mobile sperm. EFA’s are essential for the correct structural development and functioning of the brain and the retina of the eye.

Vitamin E has powerful anti oxidant qualities and it is this antioxidant activity that helps to make sperm more fertile. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocado, beans and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin C is another nutrient with anti oxidant qualities and is essential in a male’s diet as it can help to prevent against agglutination of sperm (clumping together) and therefore aids in increasing fertility. It’s anti oxidant nature also helps to enhance sperm quality and protect sperm & the DNA within it from damage. Green vegetables, peppers, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, citrus fruits and berries all contain this vital vitamin.

Vitamin A There is a lot of confusion regarding the use of vitamin A. It comes in two forms retinol (from animals) and beta carotene (from vegetables). It is the retinol form of vitamin A which causes concern regarding foetal safety; however the beta carotene form does not carry any risks before or during pregnancy. Vitamin A has powerful antioxidant qualities, helps to protect against cell mutation and is required for healthy eyes. Beta carotene containing foods include carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, tomatoes, squash and watercress.

L-Arginine & L- Carnitine are two amino acids required for the normal production and functioning of sperm, aiding sperm quantity, quality and motility. Deficiencies in L-arginine are linked to immature sperm development.

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