Fertility boosting supplements for men and women


Quick Bites

  • There are many ways to improve fertility one of them is taking supplements
  • There are enough supplements available in the market for both male and female infertility
  • Taking a proper dosage of supplement defined for a specific condition is safe
  • Most of the supplements are available in your nearby pharmacies and online stores
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Introduction

Best_supplements_for_fertility

The news of infertility can be devastating. However, luckily we are at a stage where infertility can be managed by taking some medical supplements or medications. Fertility supplements are such medical supplements which can enhance fertility in men and women.

These supplements are not the same as fertility medications given by a doctor during fertility treatment. These fertility treatments are usually made from natural substances. Some of these supplements are usually used for providing nutrition to the body but some are specifically made to boost fertility.

In this article

 

Can supplements boost fertility?

Taking a fertility supplement cannot guarantee that you will have a baby. However, taking supplements can enhance your chances of having a baby. There are many studies showing that taking supplements can benefit a person’s fertility. Also, lifestyle changes like stop consuming alcohol, smoking, daily exercise, losing weight along with taking supplements can increase your chances of having a baby. Furthermore, there are studies showing that intake of fertility supplements can also be beneficial for men. Some of these supplements help with increasing the chances of pregnancy during fertility treatments also.

 

Is it safe to take supplements boosting fertility?

Just like any other medication, supplements are safe to take only under a doctor’s supervision. Although it is not mandatory that you need a doctor’s prescription to buy a supplement, it is always advised. There are some side effects associated with fertility supplements but taking a controlled dosage advised by a doctor can help avoid such side effects.

It is also important to inform your doctor about what kind of problem you are facing so they can insist on a particular type of supplement with some specific ingredients that can help you better. Furthermore, if you suffer from any kind of allergy then do tell your doctor as some supplements may cause allergies to susceptible people.

Top 10 supplements that can help boost your fertility

There are many supplements that can help you enhance your fertility. These supplements are available in medical shops as well as online pharmacies. Among all the fertility supplements available in the market, the best fertility supplements are mentioned below.

 

Inositol

Inositol is also known as Vitamin B8. This vitamin is found in many foods we eat and it is an important vitamin to keep us healthy. If the level of inositol in our body is lesser than the normal then it can cause a plethora of problems one of which can also be a fertility issue. If you have a fertility issue it may be due to deficiency of this vitamin. For example, doctors have found that there might be a connection between inositol deficiency and PCOS.

Inositol has proven helpful for women suffering from PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common disorder among reproductive women and it can result in irregular periods and infertility. Inositol supplements can improve PCOS symptoms to a great extent. This has been shown in a recent study where 2520 women out of 3602 experienced menstrual cycle after consuming inositol supplements [1].

Furthermore, many studies show that inositol can help increase the pregnancy rate in women. It can improve the pregnancy rate in women who are undergoing ovulation induction for infertility treatments like IVF and ICSI [2]. It may improve egg quality in women.

There are some studies that conclude that inositol supplements can also help boost male fertility. Inositol can help improve sperm motility in men thereby improving their fertility. Also, the effects of inositol on male fertility are significantly higher if it is taken along with other supplements like selenium and L-arginine [3].

Dosage of inositol

Inositol is helpful in reducing many health problems like depression, anxiety, diabetes, etc along with boosting fertility. Doctors recommend different dosages of this supplement according to the condition for which it is being used.

Category

Approximate range of daily dosage

For women suffering from PCOS

0.2 to 4 grams (once a day before breakfast)

For men to increase sperm count and motility

0.2 grams (once a day)

Note: All the dosage amounts mentioned above are approximate ranges and they may vary depending on the individual, their conditions, the extent of their conditions, and many other factors. Hence it is advised to consult a doctor before taking the supplement.

 

L-Arginine

L-Arginine is an amino acid. Its supplement is sometimes suggested for women who are not able to get pregnant. It is known to increase blood circulation in the uterus and ovaries. Hence it helps provide a better chance for pregnancy and help females produce eggs of better quality [4]. It can also help women by:

  • Enhancing her sexual drive
  • Increasing cervical mucus
  • It may also increase her fertility to beyond 40 years

There are many studies that suggest that L-Arginine and acetyl L-carnitine supplements together can improve conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, and amenorrhea. L-arginine supplements can also be helpful for women who cancel their IVF cycles due to incompetent uterus [5]. As mentioned earlier, L-arginine can help increase blood flow to the uterus, it can be of great help for the women whose uterus is unable to hold a pregnancy during IVF treatment.

In men, it has been proven that L-arginine supplements can lead to better sperm development like high sperm count, better sperm motility and more ejaculation [6]. It can also help treat low sex drive in men. Likewise, it can also help in reducing erectile dysfunction in men by increasing the blood flow in the penis.

Dosage of L-Arginine

Apart from fertility, L-arginine can also be used in other conditions and depending on the need of an individual the dosage of this supplement varies. However, a common dosage is believed to be 2 to 3 grams three times a day. The approximate dosages for specific conditions are:

Category

Approximate range of daily dosage

Erectile Dysfunction (for men)

1.67 to 2.8 grams (once a day)

For women

0.1 to 0.3 grams (once or twice a day)

Note: All the values of the dosages mentioned above are approximate values and can change from person to person. Please advise your doctor before taking this supplement.

If you have asthma or herpes then don’t take this supplement as it has been observed that this supplement worsens the effects of both herpes and asthma.

 

Folic Acid

A folic acid is a synthetic form of Vitamin B9. It is very important for girls of reproductive age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA urges that women in reproductive age should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily. It is urged because sufficient folic acid in a woman's body can help prevent birth defects on the brain or spine in the child when she gets pregnant [7]. There are some benefits of consuming folic acid for females such as:

  • It increases the levels of progesterone (sex hormone) lowering the risk of irregular ovulation in women
  • Folic acid supplements also protect against congenital heart defects in the baby and reduce the risk of preterm birth [8]
  • It can also prevent the risk of the low weight of the child during the time of birth

All these benefits are seen in women who start taking folic acid supplements around the time they start trying to have a baby.

In men, low levels of folic acid have been associated with low sperm count and motility. It is also shown in a couple of studies that folic acid supplements can improve DNA damage of sperm [9]. However, there are not enough studies which inform people about the effects of low levels of folic acid in men and more research is needed in this area.

Dosage of Folic Acid

The daily dosage of folic acid supplements is the same for both men and women. It is advised that 200 micrograms of folic acid should be taken in an empty stomach daily. If you want to take the supplement with some food then take 240 micrograms of it daily. Also, as mentioned earlier it is highly beneficial during pregnancy if a woman starts taking 400 micrograms of folic acid as soon as she starts trying for conception.

Furthermore, it is advised to consult a doctor before taking any dosage of this supplement. Although there are not many risks involved with taking this medication, sometimes, you may get some allergies or have some condition which may worsen due to a supplement.

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)

Omega 3 Fatty Acids fish oil supplements have many health benefits. They are also very helpful when it comes to fertility. It has been found in many studies that omega 3 fatty acid supplements can improve egg quality in women and increase their reproductive life as well [10]. Some other benefits of omega 3 fatty acids are:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids along with vitamin B can help reduce endometriosis pain and inflammation [11]
  • It is important for the development of the baby’s brain when it is inside the womb
  • Low levels of omega 3 fatty acids may also be a contributing factor to postpartum depression however, studies are very less to support this theory and more research is needed
  • Omega 3 fatty acids may also improve insulin resistance in women suffering from PCOS hence its supplements can also be recommended for PCOS treatment [12]

When it comes to men, omega 3 fatty acid supplements can enhance sperm count, sperm motility and sperm morphology (shape and size of the sperm) [13]. Low amounts of omega 3 fatty acid in men may also be linked to male infertility due to unexplained reduction of semen quality however, more research is required to support this claim.

Dosage of Folic Acid

Omega 3 fatty acids dosage is different for all age and gender. The daily recommended dosage of this supplement is mentioned below.

Category

Approximate daily dosage in grams

Men

1.6 g

Women

1.1 g

Pregnant women

1.4 g

Breastfeeding women

1.3 g

Women with PCOS

1 to 4 g (once a day)

Note: The recommended dosage mentioned above is the adequate intake (AI) in a day. However, this dosage may vary from person to person and a doctor should be consulted before taking any dosage of this supplement.

 

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q 10, or Co Q 10 is also known as ubiquinone. It is a vitamin-like compound which is helpful in boosting fertility in women. This supplement can be helpful for women who have poor ovarian reserve or declining ovarian reserve. A poor or declining ovarian reserve means you have less number of eggs stored in your body. Hence your fertility will decline faster than other women. A recent study concluded that Coenzyme Q 10 can increase the ovarian response in women with poor ovarian reserve during infertility treatment like IVF and ICSI [14]. However, not much evidence is available at the moment about the effect of this supplement on female fertility and more studies are needed.

On the contrary, for men, there is enough evidence that suggests that taking Coenzyme Q 10 supplements improves the overall semen quality. Taking Coenzyme Q 10 supplement can increase sperm concentration, sperm count and sperm motility.

Dosage of Coenzyme Q 10

There is no idle dosage for Coenzyme Q 10 supplement especially for women struggling with infertility. However, a dosage of this supplement usually given to men and women is 90 mg for a low dose and 200 mg for the higher dose which can be taken daily with some food. Moreover, before taking this supplement consult your doctor about the dosage.

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been linked to many health benefits including fertility. In women, Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many pregnancy complications such as preterm birth, hypertension due to pregnancy, preeclampsia (swelling of hands, feet, face and rise in blood pressure during pregnancy), etc. Hence it is important for pregnant women to half adequate levels of vitamin D in their body. Some of the other benefits of vitamin D in women are:

  • Adequate levels of vitamin D in your body help regulate the menstrual cycle
  • Women who are not vitamin D deficient have more chances of conception and successful live births as compared to other women [15]
  • There are studies that show that vitamin D is essential for a baby’s bone health while they are in their mother’s womb

When it comes to men, vitamin D has been linked to sperm quality for quite some time. There are some studies that say that vitamin D can help increase sperm motility [16]. However, studies supporting this theory are rare and more research is required in this field.

Dosage of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for not only fertility but our overall health throughout our lives. Hence the vitamin D dosage varies according to age and need. They are mentioned below.

Category

Approximate daily dosage in micrograms

Adults

15 mg

Adults over 71 years

20 mg

Pregnant/ Breastfeeding women

15 g

Note: The dosage mentioned above is an internationally recommended dosage however it is advised to consult a doctor before about the dosage before taking this supplement.

 

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral which is important for both your health and fertility. There are some studies that link magnesium deficiency to female infertility. Magnesium helps maintain a proper supply of blood to the uterus and is important for the production of progesterone which is a sex hormone important for carrying a pregnancy.

Magnesium may also be helpful in retaining sperm health in men especially sperm motility. However, there is a shortage of studies in this field and more research is required. Although, taking magnesium can still help in regulating blood pressure and glucose levels in men.

Dosage of Magnesium

As mentioned earlier, magnesium can be helpful for both fertility and health and taking a daily recommended dosage can help you maintain the levels of this mineral in your body.

Category

Approximate daily dosage in milligrams

Men

400–420 mg (once a day)

Women

310–320 mg (once a day)

Pregnant women

350–360 mg (once a day)

Breastfeeding women

310–320 mg (once a day)

Note: The dosage mentioned above are general recommendations. It is advised to consult a doctor before taking this supplement as it can vary according to the condition for which it is taken and from person to person as well.

 

L-Carnitine

L-carnitine is a dietary supplement which can be used to improve egg quality in women. This supplement is still under study for its effects on female infertility. Several studies have been done on the effects of L-carnitine on egg quality, ovulation, fertilization rates, IVF success rates, PCOS and milk production during pregnancy. However, most of them are still under study and more is needed to study why and how this supplement impacts female fertility.

L-carnitine may also help with improving men’s fertility. This supplement may improve sperm motility in men [17]. However, more research is required to support this supplement’s role in male fertility.

Dosage of L-carnitine

The standard dosage of L-carnitine is between 500 to 2000 mg per day for both men and women. There are no standard dosages defined for people suffering from fertility until now. But the normal dosage can be taken daily under a doctor’s supervision.

 

Beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene is an antioxidant which gets converted into vitamin A in the body. The antioxidant property of beta-carotene helps maintain the health of eggs in women and sperm in men. Mostly, the intake of this supplement along with other supplements like vitamin C show an increase in fertility rates in both men and women. Hence, the intake of beta-carotene can be beneficial for both men and women alike.

Dosage of Beta-Carotene

The recommended dosage of beta-carotene is the same for both men and women. Teenagers to adults can take a daily dosage of 6 to 15 milligrams (mg). This dosage can vary according to your condition. The doctor will tell you how many times a day you need to take the supplement for a specific condition and how much time is allowed between two dosages (if suggested).

 

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a herb known to every Indian for its health benefits. But did you know that it can be helpful for fertility as well? One of the common established facts is that ashwagandha can reduce stress and anxiety. Both of these factors can hamper both female and male infertility. Moreover, there are some benefits of this herb which are specific to men and women. In women ashwagandha can have the following benefits:

  • Ashwagandha can reduce oxidative stress and the effects of ageing on the cells which can help improve your egg health
  • It can enhance the endocrine system which in turn helps keep hormonal balance in your body

The medicinal properties of ashwagandha can boost the overall fertility in men. Studies show that in men, the extracts of ashwagandha fruits, stems, roots, and leaves can enhance the sperm count and sperm motility in men [18].

Dosage of Ashwagandha

There are several recommended doses of ashwagandha supplements for different conditions. But when it comes to fertility there are no such recommendations which are supported by doctors till now. There are studies who have seen considerable improvement in sperm count and motility by using 5grams of ashwagandha for 3 months. However, this dose is not universally accepted yet. Also, for general use, a dose between 500 to 600 milligrams per day for a month is usually given by doctors but even that should only be taken about a doctor’s consultation.

 

Fenugreek Extract

Fenugreek or methi in Hindi may help with fertility. There have been claims that fenugreek extract can help with female and male infertility but the evidence in this context is rare especially for female infertility. And hence more research is required. But it is known that it can cause cramps and women should avoid eating it during pregnancy.

In breastfeeding women, however, fenugreek can help increase breastmilk supply. It is one of the main ingredients in foods and drinks that promote lactation or breast milk production [19].

For men, fenugreek seed oil may help with sperm motility, sperm count and improve sex drive. But just as female fertility the evidence that suggests this is low. Most of the studies are still on ground level and done mostly on animals. It may take some time to find a more conclusive study regarding this supplement.

Dosage of Fenugreek Extract

There is no particular standard dosage of fenugreek as it varies according to the condition it is used for. For example, women who want to take this supplement for increasing breastmilk production may take 500-1000 mg of fenugreek. Men who want to increase their sex drive may take 500-600 mg of fenugreek supplement. But it will be a good option to first consult a doctor before you start taking any dosage of this supplement.

 

Vitex Agnus Castus (Chasteberry)

Vitex Agnus Castus (Chasteberry) or Nirgundi in Hindi has been found to contribute to the reproductive health of women. This supplement can be used to treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women [20]. PMS is a condition which affects women’s emotions and physical health during certain days of her menstrual cycle especially before her periods start. It can also help reduce the symptoms of menopause like mood swings and trouble sleeping.

Dosage of Vitex Agnus Castus (Chasteberry)

The standard dosage of Vitex Agnus Castus (Chasteberry) is between 150 - 250 mg. These supplements are available in online shops as well as pharmacies. However, do consult your doctor before taking this supplement for a proper recommendation of dose according to your condition.

 

Red Raspberry

The leaves of red raspberry have been used for treating disorders related to menstruation and labour since ancient times. Even today it is used for treating fertility and pregnancy-related issues in women. It is believed that this supplement can keep the uterus healthy.

It is also widely believed that red raspberries can also act like labour stimulating. There are some studies who have shown this fact to be true. It is sometimes offered during the last days of the pregnancy to promote labour. However, more evidence is required to figure out why and how these leaves can help human fertility.

Dosage of Red Raspberry

Red raspberry supplements are mostly available in Indian market in the form of tea. There is no recommended dosage of this supplement as of now but if you are taking it before pregnancy or for promoting labour you may take one cup a day till your due pregnancy date.

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references

List of ReferencesHide

1 .

Pedro-Antonio Regidor 1 and Adolf Eduard Schindler. “Myoinositol as a Safe and Alternative Approach in the Treatment of Infertile PCOS Women: A German Observational Study”. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Dec; 96(49): e8842, PMID: 29245250.

2 .

Xiangqin Zheng, Danmei Lin, et al. “Inositol supplement improves clinical pregnancy rate in infertile women undergoing ovulation induction for ICSI or IVF-ET”. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Dec; 96(49): e8842, PMID: 29245250.

3 .

Mario Montanino Oliva, Elisa Minutolo, et al. “Effect of Myoinositol and Antioxidants on Sperm Quality in Men with Metabolic Syndrome”. Int J Endocrinol. 2016; 2016: 1674950, PMID: 27752262.

4 .

Jörg Aurich, Martin Köhne, et al. “Effects of dietary L‐arginine supplementation to early pregnant mares on conceptus diameter—Preliminary findings”. Reprod Domest Anim. 2019 May; 54(5): 772–778, PMID: 30809848.

5 .

Cctcentre.com.au. “How L-Arginine improves fertility”. Capital Complementary Therapies Centre, 20 August 2020.

6 .

Menfertility.org. “L-Arginine Improves Sperm Quality”. Menfertility, 19 August 2020.

7 .

Cdc.gov. “Folic Acid”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 April 2018.

8 .

James A Greenberg, Stacey J Bell, et al. “Folic Acid Supplementation and Pregnancy: More Than Just Neural Tube Defect Prevention”. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Summer; 4(2): 52–59, PMID: 22102928.

9 .

Mahmoud Aarabi, Maria C. San Gabriel, et al. “High-dose folic acid supplementation alters the human sperm methylome and is influenced by the MTHFR C677T polymorphism”. Hum Mol Genet. 2015 Nov 15; 24(22): 6301–6313, PMID: 26307085.

10 .

Deepika Nehra, Hau D. Le, et al. “Prolonging the female reproductive lifespan and improving egg quality with dietary omega-3 fatty acids”. Aging Cell. 2012 Dec; 11(6): 1046–1054, PMID: 22978268.

11 .

Korosh Khanaki, Mohammad Nouri, et al. “Evaluation of the Relationship between Endometriosis and Omega-3 and Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids”. Iran Biomed J. 2012 Jan; 16(1): 38–43, PMID: 22562031.

12 .

Kailin Yang, Liuting Zeng, et al. “Effectiveness of Omega-3 fatty acid for polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis”. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018; 16: 27, PMID: 29580250.

13 .

Mohammad Reza Safarinejad and Shiva Safarinejad. “The roles of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in idiopathic male infertility”. Asian J Androl. 2012 Jul; 14(4): 514–515, PMID: 22659579.

15 .

Stefan Pilz, Armin Zittermann, et al. “The Role of Vitamin D in Fertility and during Pregnancy and Lactation: A Review of Clinical Data”. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Oct; 15(10): 2241, PMID: 30322097.

16 .

Kadiliya Jueraitetibaike, Zheng Ding, et al. “The effect of vitamin D on sperm motility and the underlying mechanism”. Asian J Androl. 2019 Jul-Aug; 21(4): 400–407, PMID: 30618415.

17 .

Elham Aliabadi, Malek Soleimani Mehranjani, et al. “Effects of L-carnitine and L-acetyl-carnitine on testicular sperm motility and chromatin quality”. Iran J Reprod Med. 2012 Mar; 10(2): 77–82, PMID: 25242977.

18 .

Ramin Nasimi Doost Azgomi, Afshar Zomorrodi, et al. “Effects of Withania somnifera on Reproductive System: A Systematic Review of the Available Evidence”. Biomed Res Int. 2018; 2018: 4076430, PMID: 29670898.

19 .

Utswmed.org. “How can I use fenugreek to increase my breast milk supply?”. UT Southwestern Medical Center, 04 September 2018.

20 .

Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei, Mino Movahedi, et al. “Systematic Review of Premenstrual, Postmenstrual and Infertility Disorders of Vitex Agnus Castus”. Electron Physician. 2017 Jan; 9(1): 3685–3689, PMID: 28243425.

Last updated on: : 09 Sep 2020

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