The Top 6 Supplements Recommended for Pregnancy & PRE-PREGNANCY

Nutritional Supplements For Pregnancy

Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand, we always focus on providing our clients with a greater understanding of the role of nutrition and the nutrients that we eat in our overall health and wellbeing.

Minor changes in diet can have profound impacts in both our day to day lives and our long-term health.

For example, if you are trying to get pregnant, being overweight can be a factor reducing your chances and managing to decrease your weight by 5% has been proven to have a significant impact on conception rates.

The Top Supplements Recommended for Pregnancy
& Those Trying to Get Pregnant

It is always advisable to consult a qualified health professional, whilst the information below is based on reputable sources and peer reviewed published medical studies, every person's medical health is unique.

Below you will find a simple list of the intake of the nutrients needed, the rationale for each one is explained below, and remember your primary goal should be to adjust your diet to get the required amounts of nutritional intake, with supplements being a fallback:

  • 200mcg Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

  • 800mcg Methylfolate

  • 600mcg N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

  • 500mg Omega-3 Fish Oil

  • 500mg Vitamin C

  • 4,000 - 5,000IU of Vitamin D3

  • 200IU Vitamin E

What the Research Says?

  • Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10

    Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, plays a vital role in women's fertility and pregnancy health. It is a naturally occurring biomolecule present in every cell of the human body, essential for energy generation and functioning as a potent antioxidant. With its ability to combat oxidative stress and inflammation, CoQ10 has garnered attention for its potential benefits in fertility and during pregnancy.

    For women trying to conceive, CoQ10 supplementation can be particularly beneficial. Studies suggest that CoQ10 can improve egg quality and ovarian response, especially in women over 35. As women age, the quantity and quality of their eggs diminish, but CoQ10 may help counteract this age-related decline. Research in "Fertility and Sterility" indicated that CoQ10 supplementation improved ovarian response and embryo quality in older women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

    During pregnancy, CoQ10's antioxidant properties may play a critical role in reducing the risk of certain complications. For example, a study in "Hypertension Research" showed that CoQ10 supplementation could lower the risk of pre-eclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and potential organ damage. This complication, if left untreated, can lead to serious health risks for both the mother and the baby. By improving endothelial function and reducing oxidative stress, CoQ10 may help mitigate these risks.

    CoQ10 has been linked to reducing the risk of cholestasis during pregnancy. Cholestasis, a liver condition that slows or stops the flow of bile, can have severe implications for both the mother and the fetus, including increased risks of fetal distress and preterm birth. CoQ10's role in promoting a favorable redox environment in the liver may reduce the severity of this condition.

    Remember, it's crucial for pregnant women or those trying to conceive to consult with their healthcare providers before starting CoQ10 supplementation. While most studies indicate its safety and low toxicity, the full implications of CoQ10 during pregnancy require further research. Women with preexisting medical conditions, allergies, or those taking other medications should exercise particular caution. Consulting a healthcare provider ensures that CoQ10 supplementation aligns with individual health needs and pregnancy plans, providing the best outcomes for both mother and child.

  • Methylfolate

    Folate, a vital nutrient for pregnancy and fetal development, has been at the center of nutritional debates, especially regarding its various molecular forms in prenatal vitamins. While folic acid, a synthetic version, is commonly used and backed by extensive research, methylfolate, a biologically active form, is gaining attention for its potential advantages in pregnancy nutrition.

    The critical importance of folate, also known as vitamin B-9, lies in its role in DNA and RNA synthesis, which is essential for cell regeneration and fetal development. The FDA emphasizes the importance of adequate folate intake for women of childbearing age to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in infants. This led to the 1998 mandate for folic acid enrichment in flour products. Despite this initiative, folate deficiency remains an issue, with around 20% of women in their reproductive years still not getting enough folate.

    Methylfolate, or L-methylfolate, differs from folic acid in that it is readily absorbed by the body without needing conversion. This characteristic makes methylfolate an appealing choice for inclusion in prenatal vitamins. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 600 mcg of folate per day during pregnancy, with at least 400 mcg from supplements, beginning at least one month before conception.

    While a diet rich in folate from foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts, and dairy is beneficial, supplementation ensures adequate intake. Methylfolate, as found in products like the Modern Fertility Prenatal Multivitamin, provides an easily absorbable form of this crucial nutrient. The National Institutes of Health set the upper limit for folic acid supplementation at 1,000 mcg per day, but there are no concerns of overdosing from food sources, as excess folate is water-soluble and excreted naturally.

    Methylfolate's advantage over folic acid lies in its immediate bioavailability, bypassing the need for conversion in the body. Though large-scale comparative studies are limited, existing research suggests that methylfolate effectively increases folate levels in the body, comparable to folic acid.

    Both folic acid and methylfolate play essential roles in ensuring adequate folate levels during pregnancy, the latter offers an advantage in terms of absorption and bioavailability. Women planning for pregnancy or already pregnant should consider a prenatal supplement with methylfolate, after consulting with their healthcare providers, to support optimal fetal development and their own health.

  • N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

    N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), a derivative of the amino acid cysteine, has recently been highlighted for its potential to enhance female fertility. As a precursor to glutathione, a major antioxidant in the body, NAC plays a critical role in combating oxidative stress and promoting overall well-being.

    NAC is naturally found in various foods, including eggs, poultry, yogurt, cheese, oats, legumes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, and soybeans. These foods are not only rich in NAC or its precursor cysteine but also provide other essential nutrients that support health.

    The use of NAC in improving fertility is multifaceted. One of its primary benefits is reducing inflammation, particularly in the reproductive system. Chronic inflammation can adversely affect fertility, and the anti-inflammatory properties of NAC help regulate the body's immune response, fostering a more conducive environment for conception.

    Hormonal imbalances, such as irregular menstrual cycles or ovulation disorders, are significant barriers to fertility. NAC assists in hormonal regulation by modulating levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and insulin, which can help restore normal menstrual function and encourage regular ovulation.

    For ovulation, NAC has been observed to enhance the quality of ovulation and increase the number of mature eggs released during the menstrual cycle, thus improving the chances of successful fertilization. Additionally, the antioxidant properties of NAC protect eggs from oxidative damage, preserving their quality. This is especially beneficial for older women or those with conditions affecting egg quality.

    In managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal disorder affecting fertility, NAC shows potential in improving insulin sensitivity, reducing androgen levels, and regulating menstrual cycles, thus enhancing fertility outcomes.

    Oxidative stress, resulting from an imbalance between antioxidants and harmful free radicals, can negatively impact reproductive health. NAC's antioxidant properties neutralize free radicals, protecting reproductive cells and optimizing their function.

  • Omega-3 Fish Oils

    Omega-3 fish oil supplements are gaining recognition for their potential benefits in enhancing fertility and supporting healthy pregnancy. Comprising essential fatty acids like eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), these supplements are vital as the body cannot produce them independently.

    Fatty cold-water fish like salmon and sardines are rich natural sources of omega-3s. For those who prefer supplements, it's important to select products that contain significant amounts of EPA and DHA. The benefits of omega-3 intake are not limited to pregnancy. Research suggests that a diet high in folic acid, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids is linked to increased fertility rates.

    Studies indicate that women consuming omega-3 supplements have a higher chance of conception. Omega-3s contribute to fertility by reducing inflammation, enhancing ovulation, and improving hormone production. They also support the growth of oocytes in the ovaries. Once pregnancy begins, the advantages of omega-3 intake continue. Research shows a decrease in the rates of preterm and very preterm births in those who consumed omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), alongside a reduction in low birthweight babies.

    For those trying to conceive or already pregnant, incorporating omega-3s is highly recommended. The body can store omega-3s for several weeks, ensuring sufficient levels during pregnancy. While obtaining omega-3s from food is ideal, supplements offer a mercury-free alternative, crucial for those concerned about mercury in seafood.

    Apart from fish oil, algae-based omega-3 supplements are a viable option, particularly for vegetarians. These supplements also eliminate the fishy aftertaste and are free from toxins like PCBs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, along with the FDA and EPA, advise consuming two to three servings weekly of low-mercury seafood such as haddock, salmon, cod, and shrimp. It's essential to avoid high-mercury fish like king mackerel and swordfish.

  • Vitamin C

    Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a vital nutrient during pregnancy, benefiting both the expectant mother and the developing baby. It is well-known for its role in boosting the immune system, enhancing antioxidant levels, aiding collagen production, and facilitating tissue repair and wound healing. Unlike some nutrients, the body cannot store vitamin C, making daily intake crucial for a healthy pregnancy.

    The importance of vitamin C during pregnancy is widely recognized by health organizations, including the World Health Organisation. It plays a critical role in iron absorption, which is essential for transporting oxygen throughout the body and boosting energy levels. Additionally, vitamin C contributes to the development of the baby's bones and teeth.

    While it's not mandatory to supplement with vitamin C during pregnancy, doing so can help minimize the risk of complications such as pre-eclampsia and maternal anemia. However, it's important to consume the right dosage, as excessively high concentrations of certain vitamins, including vitamin C, can be harmful during pregnancy.

    Pregnant individuals aged 19 and older are advised to consume 85 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C daily, with an upper limit of 2,000 mg per day. Overconsumption of vitamin C can lead to stomach pain, diarrhea, and flatulence, especially if intake exceeds 1,000 mg per day. These symptoms typically resolve upon cessation of supplementation.

    A balanced diet usually provides sufficient vitamin C, with common sources including citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes. However, if dietary intake is lacking, supplements can be beneficial. It's always recommended to consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation, especially during pregnancy.

    Vitamin C serums are considered safe for topical use during pregnancy. They can effectively combat hyperpigmentation and dark spots, which are common in expectant mothers. Similarly, vitamin C creams are safe for use and can be particularly helpful for sensitive skin. When introducing new skincare products, it's advisable to patch test and introduce them gradually to monitor skin responses.

  • Vitamin D3

    Vitamin D, widely recognized for its role in bone health and calcium absorption, also plays a crucial part in various bodily functions, including the immune system, heart health, digestion, and notably, fertility.

    A 2017 study revealed a correlation between lower vitamin D levels and difficulties in natural conception among women. This link becomes even more significant in the context of fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Women undergoing assisted reproductive technologies (ART) with adequate vitamin D levels showed higher pregnancy success rates and live birth rates compared to those with lower levels.

    Pregnancy complications are more likely to arise in women with insufficient vitamin D. Issues such as high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and having a baby small for gestational age have been linked to low vitamin D levels.

    In men, vitamin D not only contributes to overall health but also influences testosterone levels, which affects libido, erectile function, and sperm production. A study from 2017 associated lower vitamin D levels with reduced semen quality, particularly impacting sperm motility, which is crucial for successful fertilization.

    The standard range for normal 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels is between 25-100ng/ml. Surprisingly, around 40% of people in the United States have a vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency is concerning, especially for individuals trying to conceive. A study in 2019 indicated that only 16% of participants undergoing ART had normal vitamin D levels.

    To maintain healthy vitamin D levels, adults are advised to consume 800-1000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily. For those with deficient levels, higher dosages may be necessary. Sources of vitamin D include sunlight exposure, seafood, fatty fish, and foods naturally high in or fortified with vitamin D such as dairy products, plant milks, orange juice, cereals, yogurts, and tofu. Supplements can also be an effective way to boost vitamin D, especially when dietary sources and sunlight are insufficient.

    It's crucial to monitor and maintain vitamin D levels for optimal fertility health. If you're experiencing challenges with conception, consulting a fertility specialist for a thorough evaluation, including vitamin D assessment, can be an important step in your fertility journey.

  • Vitamin E

    Vitamin E plays a significant role in fertility for both men and women, thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties. These properties help protect cells, including sperm and eggs, from damage caused by free radicals, and have a range of benefits for reproductive health.

    For men, vitamin E can increase sperm motility, which is a crucial factor in conception. It helps the sperm move more efficiently, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful fertilization. Additionally, vitamin E is known to improve sperm count, which is vital for fertility. A low sperm count can significantly reduce the chances of conception. Furthermore, vitamin E boosts testosterone levels, thereby enhancing sex drive and overall male fertility. It also increases the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures.

    In women, vitamin E contributes to thickening the uterine lining, which is essential for implantation and a successful pregnancy. It can also alleviate symptoms of cystic fibrosis of the breast, reducing discomfort and swelling. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may find that vitamin E supports the treatment of their condition. Additionally, it's beneficial for reducing menstrual discomfort and hot flashes in menopausal women.

    Vitamin E also plays a crucial role during pregnancy, particularly in protecting the amniotic sac. A robust amniotic sac reduces the risk of rupture, ensuring a safer environment for the developing fetus.

    Regarding supplementation, it’s important to get the right dosage of vitamin E, as excessive intake can lead to adverse effects. The recommended daily intake is generally between 500-1000mg, but it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen, especially during pregnancy.

    Food sources rich in vitamin E include dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, egg yolks, seafood, poultry, avocados, tomatoes, papayas, kiwis, red bell peppers, and various beans. These foods not only provide vitamin E but also other nutrients essential for overall health and fertility.

    In cases of severe vitamin E deficiency, dietary intake might not be sufficient, and supplements may be necessary as prescribed by a healthcare provider. It's important to note that while vitamin E can significantly benefit reproductive health, it should be a part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle for the best outcomes in fertility and pregnancy.


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