Egg maturation and growth depend on woman’s age and general health, as well as on flow of nutrients to the ovaries.
This means that your diet, your exercise, even the way you manage stress will have impact on the egg maturation processes.
In addition to good nutrition (here you can read about why eating Mediterranean diet helps) and a healthy, fertility-supporting lifestyle, there are supplements that can give your eggs an additional kick and this is especially true if you’re in your late 30’s or early 40’s.
When you start taking supplements for improving egg quality (here is how you can contact me if you need to individually target your supplements for better results) remember that it takes about 3 months for an egg follicle to develop (please read here about how follicles develop – it’s something every woman should know), meaning that any supplement you start taking today will start paying off about 3 months from now. Here comes the list of supplements which will help you strengthen your egg quality in the shortest time possible:
1. Prenatal vitamin. Take a good one that will cover the entire group of B-vitamins. Prenatal supplements of known brands include 800µg folate, such as this one. Folate alone can almost eliminate your baby’s risk of developing several neurological defects.
2. I keep writing about CoQ10 all over the blog, so if you don’t want to read all the articles about CoQ10 and what it exactly does and what the differences between the ubiquinol and the ubiquinone form of CoQ10 are, please at least read this article here. One very good CoQ10 supplement you can find here. And especially if you are 40 or above and trying to get pregnant, your eggs need more CoQ10 to get enough energy and function properly.
3. Have your vitamin D level checked. The metabolite which you need to check in the lab is called 25(OH)2 vitamin D (pronounced “25-hydroxy vitamin D”).
The concentration of this one you want to achieve is 40ng/ml or above. Take 2000-5000 IU per day until you get there (you can try a supplement like this one) and also please read my article on vitamin D and fertility here because the right amount of vitamin D will have to do with your skin color as well as geographic location you live in.
4. Take extra Omega 3 by taking a fish oil supplement (guaranteed to contain zero mercury or PCB’s such as this one).
Omega 3 is an important parts of an egg’s cell membrane and affect its fluidity and the communication with surrounding cells. In addition, most important members of the Omega-3 family such as DHA and EPA are helpful if you have any mood issues or you are coming off psychological medications during the time in which you’re trying to conceive.
5. Do consider taking DHEA if you are over 35 (and also test your natural testosterone before you do this). DHEA supplement can be obtained only with a prescription in many countries (including Canada, UK, and Germany), so before you talk to your gynecologist maybe it’s a good idea that you read this and that article about DHEA so that you get familiar with most important facts and know why and how it can help you.
There is one more thing I wanted to mention.
This point is not a specific supplement, but if you are over 35 and trying to get pregnant, do protect your eggs from free radical damage by limiting or eliminating your exposure to pesticides, environmental toxins and high air pollution! While their direct links to infertility may sometimes be unclear, there is a clear adverse effect of combined synthetic compounds to which we are evolutionarily not adapted to fertility.
I often get asked what I think about N-acetyl Cysteine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, L-arginine, and various other compounds.
Some weeks ago I talked to a lady who was taking a long list of about ten supplements, (including Chinese herbs, melatonin, and myoinositol). After about six months of taking this mix, she indeed was able to see (in words of her fertility doctor) a substantial improvement in embryo quality. As a matter of fact, after several IVF cycles with desperately fragmented embryos, she and her husband came to have nice, well-shaped 8-cell B-quality embryos.
Understandably, the woman was concerned about possible risks of that many supplements could be causing to her body long-term and called me to discuss the list and make an individual plan.
After about an hour of discussing her fertility history, we reduced her list to five compounds which made sense for her to take and I could even convince her to change a manufacturer of these every time she comes to the end of a bottle (supplements are not strictly regulated by FDA and in the fact is that label does not always correspond to what’s in the capsule).
My approach is simply to stick with what’s proven to work (I’m a laboratory scientist, remember? I read clinical studies, talk to doctors, and like to stay on the path which fastest leads to results).
So – no supplements which never went further then animal experiments.
No vitamins in too low doses just to give you a feeling they’re on your list. And certainly no herbal mixtures on the top of stimulating drugs!
Call me or write me an email if you have anything to ask or need your egg improvement plan individualized. Hope this list was helpful!
Supplements which are scientifically proven to increase egg quality:
To know when you ovulate: