What vitamins should YOU take when trying to conceive
The vitamin and supplement market is estimated to be worth $51.2billion (£39.14 billion) It’s a massive market. With this comes an enormous marketing budget. If you read all of this marketing (propaganda) whilst asking the question of what vitamins should YOU take when trying to conceive? You’d be taking 100’s of pills per day. So, what are the supplements to take when trying to get pregnant…
Let’s find out.
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure for more information.
What kind of vitamins and minerals are there?
There are two main types of vitamins
- Water-soluble vitamins which include the C and B vitamins – these dissolve in water and any excess comes out of the body via urination – You can overdose on these but you need to take massive doses – this is why you get higher doses of these in supplements. But can mean that you are peeing out money.
- Fat-soluble vitamins, these include the main ones such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K – These are absorbed in fats and are generally stored by the body in the liver and fat tissues – This means that you can overdose on these more easily and as such they are included in smaller doses in supplements
What vitamins and minerals ARE important when trying to conceive?
Vitamin D – This vitamin is important in hormone production; it helps regulate hormones in women and can help improve sperm count in men. This comes from the sun. Recommended Dose is 1-2,000 IU per day. More than 50,000 IU per day is toxic
Vitamin B complex (especially Folic Acid) – Most of the B vitamins support the reproductive glands ad help with hormonal balance. Folic Acid is highly important in very early pregnancy and this is why it is HIGHLY recommended for you to take this as it’s difficult to get in your diet. Folic Acid Recommended Dose: 400ug per day
Vitamin E – Has good antioxidant properties, which promote general cell development which is particularly important in egg and sperm production
Omega 3 – This helps improve hormone function and has impacts on blood flow – specifically important is the blood flow to the uterus. Recommended Dose: 200mg a day
Zinc – A really important metal which is involved in many elements of sperm function and production in men. It also encourages the maturation of eggs ready for fertilisation. Recommended Dose: 15-30mg a day
Selenium – An essential mineral involved in cell division, it improves sperm formation and has been shown to reduce chromosomal issues during conception.
Co-enzyme Q10 – There is a growing body of evidence which is showing that this is important with egg quality. Recommended Dose: 600mg a day
Does my diet determine whether I should take a prenatal vitamin when trying to get pregnant?
Let me state this in the clearest possible terms:
A balanced healthy diet is the most important factor in trying to conceive, a supplement doesn’t replace this. IF you have a balanced diet there is only 1 supplement you need and another which you may need depending upon where you live.
The whole reason that you might want to take a prenatal vitamin is to ensure that you are not in a vitamin or mineral deficit of the vitamins mentioned in the previous sections when you get pregnant which could lead to problems with the development of the foetus.
Should I take prenatal vitamins when trying to get pregnant
If you live a healthy and balanced diet and live in a sunny climate there is only one supplement you need to take and that is 400ug of Folic acid – This is a very reasonable option you can buy a years supply 360 tablets for ridiculously cheap. The reason that you should take this is not that it will just help you conceive but it will help the early development of the foetus and prevent neuro-defects. – This is a MUST take supplement to take when trying to conceive.
Other than that, if you have a healthy diet and you spend time in the sun then there is nothing else that you MUST take! However, let’s explore those that don’t have an excellent diet and live in those climates with less sunshine.
What vitamins should YOU take when trying to conceive when you don’t have a perfect diet?
If you like Nathan and I have busy lives, work hard, have strange hours and find it hard to manage your diet to the point where you know exactly what’s in every meal. Then this is the bit for you.
For many people, including us, we eat foods which are faster to prepare and are likely not as healthy as we should be. We are evidence-based people who wanted to ensure that when we were trying to conceive that we were taking what we needed and no more and we wanted to make sure that it was as reasonable as possible.
We took some omega 3, and a conception multi-vitamin with the appropriate content for peace of mind and to make sure that we weren’t deficient in any vitamins if we did manage to get pregnant.
As we discussed in the 2nd part of this article you need a good vitamin B complex, vitamin D (we’re in the UK and have indoor jobs so we don’t get as much time to spend in the sun) and omega 3’s. Of which vitamin D and Folic acids are the most important.
For peace of mind and to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiency we would recommend EVERY woman a conception multi-vitamin which includes vitamin D and folic acid you don’t need to spend a fortune and the one linked is the vitamin Nathan and I took whilst trying to conceive.
Most conception multivitamins don’t contain Omega 3 – this can also be brought fairly cheaply for an entire years supply. Most also don’t contain Co-enzyme Q10 – This is a slightly more expensive supplement but you can get reasonable options on Amazon (please note Co-enzyme Q10 is contained in the conception vitamins above for men).
Conclusion about what vitamins you should take when trying to conceive
Ultimately we recommend having a healthy balanced diet with 7 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, a mix of fish and meat and maintaining good hydration, then taking 400ug of folic acid for everyone and vitamin D if TTC during the winter or if you live in less sunny climates.
For those with a less healthy diet, we recommend taking a conception multivitamin with vitamin D and Folic Acid combined.
Then it is a personal choice if you take Omega 3 and Co-Enzyme Q10 as the evidence is still being assessed as to whether these have a major impact on your fertility and early pregnancy.
What to read next?
Vitamin and mineral supplements are just one small part of the journey (or sometimes a voyage) to getting pregnant. We think these additional articles will be of use to you.
How long should it take YOU to get pregnant? – This looks at the latest research into how long it should take to get pregnant, it also contains an excellent pregnancy chance calculator.
9 Tips to help you conceive Naturally – Top 9 tips to help improve your chances of getting pregnant.
Evidence-based tips to improve male fertility – A number of evidence-based tips proven to help YOU improve male fertility.
Maintaining a healthy relationship whilst TTC – We explore how you can maintain a healthy relationship whilst you are trying to get pregnant – it can have unexpected impacts.
7 unusual foods to improve female fertility – We spoke about maintaining a healthy diet in this article, here are 7 foods which you can include which can boost female fertility.