Preconception dietary supplementation is a common strategy for women trying to conceive. Taking a multivitamin containing folic acid and other nutrients can help prevent nutrient deficiencies and antioxidant imbalances.
However, many different supplements are on the market, each with other ingredients and varying degrees of evidence.
Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble compound that works like a vitamin to provide antioxidant protection in your cells. It works by giving and taking electrons, similar to its role as an energy carrier in cellular respiration. The antioxidant properties of CoQ10 help to prevent oxidation of cell membranes and lipoproteins. It also inhibits the formation of proteins, lipids, and DNA oxidative modifications. This molecule is also an effective mitochondrial protector and protects against oxidative damage to cell structures in patients with heart failure.
Fertility supplements guide that CoQ10 supplementation can improve the symptoms of heart disease, including high blood pressure and chest pain, in addition to reducing heart attacks and death rates. Additionally, CoQ10 supplementation may reduce low-grade inflammation and increase physical performance in trained athletes.
Your body naturally produces CoQ10, but it slows down as you age. The best dietary sources of this compound include meat, poultry, and fish; vegetable oils (especially soybean, olive, canola, and peanut); nuts; seeds; fruits; and vegetables. It is also available as a supplemental tablet or capsule. Some research has shown that supplementing with this nutrient can slow the decline in egg quantity and quality and improve sperm activity and concentration, thereby increasing fertility. This compound is considered a conditionally essential nutrient, meaning that it is needed under certain circumstances but can be obtained through diet or supplements.
Carnitine (also called L-carnitine, levocarnitine, or vitamin B5) is a naturally occurring compound made in our bodies and available in supplements. It is not an amino acid but acts like one and is often combined with Alpha Lipoic Acid to provide comprehensive cellular support.
Carnitine’s main function is to transport long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, which are burned as energy fuel. It also detoxifies ferries incompletely oxidized (“half-burned”) fatty acids and other metabolic byproducts out of the mitochondria to be excreted.
In several studies, carnitine supplementation (2-3 grams daily) improved exercise performance and decreased fatigue in well-trained athletes. These effects may be partly due to its ability to increase the amount of acetylcholine in the brain, which improves mental alertness and cognitive functioning.
Nerve pain in people with diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). Taking acetyl L-carnitine by mouth seems to improve nerve pain caused by diabetes. Conditions in a male that prevent the sperm from moving to and fertilizing the egg (male infertility). Taking acetyl L-carnitine with vitamin D and zinc appears to increase sperm movement, but it’s not clear whether acetyl L-carnitine alone does.
A yearlong study in people with Alzheimer’s disease found that acetyl L-carnitine slows the deterioration of memory and thinking skills. This effect is likely due to its effects on acetylcholine levels and mitochondrial function.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin important for bone health and cellular function. It regulates calcium and phosphorous absorption from food and is converted in the body to calcifediate forms of vitamin D (25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D). It also may help reduce inflammation, promote cell growth and differentiation, and modulate immune and neuromuscular function.
Even though many foods are fortified with vitamin D, many people still have vitamin D deficiency. NHANES data suggest that approximately 20% of White adults and 75% of Black adults have blood levels of vitamin D below the recommended dietary intake (RDI). Vitamin D deficiency may be more common in people living at higher latitudes or during the winter season due to reduced sun exposure and decreased dietary intake.
Some research suggests that vitamin D deficiency is associated with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and premature birth. Astudy found that treating vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women may also reduce the risk of bacterial vaginosis.
While studies have found that vitamin D supplementation may have benefits for several diseases, conditions, and outcomes, including bone health and osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and multiple sclerosis, the FNB committee that established RDIs concluded that evidence was insufficient or inconsistent to demonstrate that vitamin D had any effect on most other health outcomes except those related to bone health.
The body requires magnesium to enable a variety of biochemical reactions. This is also important to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. It may contribute to heart disease.
Magnesium is important for healthy bones. Mineral intake is linked to better bone density in postmenopausal women and lower osteoporosis risk. Minerals are also needed to regulate calcium and vitamin D, both essential for healthy bones.
Magnesium is not consumed enough by many people. It may be more so for older adults, alcoholics and people with digestive problems. Low magnesium levels are linked to several health issues, such as type 2 diabetes and migraines.
In one study, the amount of magnesium consumed by a person was inversely related to their risk of developing metabolic disease, a grouping of conditions including dyslipidemia and hypertension. According to other research, magnesium helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men and women under 30 consume 310 to 320 milligrams of magnesium daily. Pregnant women need an extra 40 milligrams. Talk to your doctor about how much magnesium you should eat. Taking certain medications can decrease the absorption of magnesium. These include tiludronate (Skelid) and alendronate (Fosamax), both used for osteoporosis treatment.