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The easy, low risk supplement you can add in right now to boost your fertility


In the world of trying for a baby it seems that everywhere we look there is a new expensive supplement recommended to supposedly help us conceive faster. However, often it's the most simplest changes and supplements that can have the most profound impact on our fertility. One example of this is Vitamin C.


Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for health and plays a huge role in the reproductive health of both men and women. Here is why it could be worth considering if you are currently trying for a baby...


Vitamin C for Female Fertility



Egg Health and Embryo Quality


Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress, which is one of the main factors impacting on egg health that we can address with diet. By supplementing with Vitamin C, you can help counteract the negative effects of oxidative stress including DNA damage within the egg, and support healthier eggs and embryos. A study found that women undergoing IVF who had higher levels of Vitamin C in their follicular fluid had better-quality embryos and higher pregnancy rates compared to those with lower levels of Vitamin C (1). If egg quality is something you have been concerned about then absolutely consider your intake of vitamin C and whether additional may be beneficial for you.


IVF Success Rates and Implantation


Alongside the impact of Vitamin C on oxidative stress, it also plays a big role in implantation. It can help to reduce inflammation, increase blood flow to the uterus, and increase the receptivity of the uterine lining- all critical components of implantation for those trying naturally, and also for those undergoing IVF. Research has found that women with higher Vitamin C intake had a significantly improved rate of successful implantation during IVF cycles. In one study, women who supplemented with Vitamin C had a 26% higher implantation rate compared to those who did not (2). So adding in some additional vitamin C- especially during your 2-week wait could absolutely be worth considering!


Progesterone Levels

Vitamin C is also known to support the production of progesterone, a hormone crucial for maintaining pregnancy. Adequate progesterone levels help ensure the uterine lining is thick enough for a fertilized egg to implant and grow. A study found that women who took Vitamin C supplements had higher progesterone levels, which is vital for sustaining early pregnancy (3). If you have a luteal phase <10 days, signs of low progesterone (e.g. spotting before your period begins), or recurrent implantation failure then this could be especially relevant for you.


Vitamin C for Male Fertility



Sperm Health


Vitamin C is equally important for male fertility, which we know is 50% of the picture when it comes to trying for a baby. Sperm is very vulnerable to oxidative damage, so introducing antioxidants to counteract the impact of this can support improvements in sperm count, motility, and overall quality. A study showed that men who took 1,000 mg of Vitamin C twice daily for two months had a significant increase in sperm count and motility compared to those who did not take the supplement (4).


Should I supplement or can I get what I need through diet?


While it's always best to get nutrients from whole foods, achieving optimal Vitamin C levels through diet alone can be challenging, especially when you're aiming for the higher levels associated with improved fertility outcomes.


Here’s a list of Vitamin C-rich foods and their content:

  • Orange (1 medium): 70 mg

  • Strawberries (1 cup): 85 mg

  • Red Capsicum (1 cup, raw): 190 mg

  • Broccoli (1 cup, cooked): 101 mg

  • Kiwi (1 medium): 71 mg

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. However, studies on fertility often use much higher doses. For instance, the benefits observed in IVF studies typically involve supplementing with 500-1,000 mg of Vitamin C daily (5). Likewise, benefits of vitamin C associated with increasing progesterone levels have seen with intakes of 750mg/ day.


If you are considering a vitamin C supplement then it's important to note that the upper limit for Vitamin C is 2,000 mg per day for adults. Pregnant women, those with certain medical conditions like hemochromatosis (a disorder that causes your body to absorb too much iron), and individuals taking specific medications should consult with a healthcare provider before starting high-dose Vitamin C supplements (6). Like an supplement, it's always a good idea to speak with your fertility specialist or dietitian before beginning anything to ensure it works safely with your existing supplement and diet regimen.


Summary


Adding Vitamin C into your supplement routine can be a simple yet effective strategy to boost fertility. Its benefits span from improving egg and sperm health to enhancing embryo quality and implantation success rates. However, it's essential to consider the appropriate dosage and consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have underlying health conditions.


If you're reluctant to add in more supplements or already feel like you're spending way too much time in the mornings popping all of your fertility related pills then as a minimum I recommend making sure that you've got your baseline antioxidant intake covered and are looking at key ways to reduce your exposure to oxidative stress.


If you are wanting more science-backed advice on simple changes that you can make to your diet and lifestyle to increase your chances of falling pregnant faster and having a healthy pregnancy then make sure you don't miss my FREE fertility nutrition masterclass event! This includes special offers and discounts on working with me 1:1 PLUS a FREE 7-day fertility nutrition meal plan too so don't miss out!





References

  1. The impact of antioxidant supplementation on the outcome of IVF/ICSI treatment: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fertility and Sterility.

  2. Vitamin C supplementation improves the outcomes of IVF treatment. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

  3. Effects of vitamin C supplementation on progesterone levels in women. The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

  4. Antioxidant treatment and male factor infertility. Fertility and Sterility.

  5. Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  6. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) – Side effects and safety. Mayo Clinic.



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