According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around ten percent of the country's population suffers from infertility. What's more, many studies have shown that fertility rates have been steadily declining for decades. Nobody knows precisely why this is, but it has left many couples frustrated in their struggle to conceive. However, medical research has determined that certain nutrients and supplements can actually improve the odds of conception.
Zinc is a mineral found in many foods, but it is highest in oysters and other seafood. It works by increasing levels of the body's usable testosterone, called free testosterone, which is critical for proper hormonal balance and reproductive function. The effects are most noticeable in men, for whom the mineral is vital to reproductive health.
Most people haven't heard of indole-3-carbinol, but if you've ever eaten cabbage, broccoli or other brassica vegetables, then you've encountered this intriguing nutrient. Indole-3-carbinol is a natural aromatase inhibitor, which means it prevents the body's excess testosterone from being changed into estrogen, actively lowering estrogen levels. In men, elevated estrogen strongly correlates with low sperm count and testosterone levels. Taking an indole-3-carbinol supplement, however, can help counteract these effects.
Also called “Chaste Berry”, vitex is of particular interest to women struggling with infertility due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It stimulates the production of luteinizing hormone and balances levels of other sex hormones, helping to regulate the ovulation cycle. Furthermore, it increases levels of progesterone, which is essential for maintaining a pregnancy.
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is a steroid hormone that most people don't get enough of. In regions of the world where winters are dark and cloudy, fertility rates drop, only to rise again in the summer when sunlight is more abundant. In women, it has proven itself to be an excellent natural fertility treatment , particularly in those suffering from PCOS, endometriosis and hormonal imbalance by enhancing levels of estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones help improve menstrual and ovulation regularity. In men, vitamin D has been shown to increase testosterone levels and support healthy sperm count and production.
If you're struggling with infertility, there is hope to be found in natural, healthy foods and vitamins. You and your partner have nothing to lose by incorporating some of these vitamins and supplements into your diet—they can only increase your odds of conceiving and bolster your reproductive health.