Fertility tips - are certain vitamins better than others?

My sister has been getting advice from a nutritionist to help with fertility. She's been told her body is stressed and therefore not absorbing the vitamins she needs, so to eat more foods with B vitamins in and buy an expensive brand of supplements because you'll only absorb around 15% of cheaper brands.
Is there any truth in that, and any tips on what might help? Thanks!
Asked by Judy-J

10 answers

Top answer
I am a Crystal Healing & Herbalism Practitioner. Baldwins has a comprehensive list of supplements for various conditions and interactions between any herbal or prescription medications http://www.baldwins.co.uk/perl/go.pl/healthnotes.html?%2fuk%2fassets%2fhealth-condition%2ffemale-infertility%2f%7edefault
No caffeine and Vitamin E and checking the iron are recommended. Floradix tablets or liquid are a gentle way to supplement if additional iron is needed, it also comes without iron and includes Vitamin B and is a very useful tonic.
I would agree about the supplements. Holland & Barrett often have a buy one get one free offers http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/ and are high quality.
There are also herbal supplements that can be made into a tea (the most gentle way to take a herbal remedy) and if an improvement is made, supplements can be taken for convenience. I have written an article on fertility that includes herbal supplements http://cara-moore.suite101.com/herbal-remedies-for-fertility-and-menopause-a296647
Once pregnant there are certain herbs to avoid and that will help. http://cara-moore.suite101.com/herbal-remedies-for-pregnancy-and-childbirth-a297020
Hope this helps.
Cara E. Moore, BSYA (Crys.) (Herb.)
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Have to agree with synthesius on this, whilst diet is important if you or your partner are streessed out you are going to struggle to conceive easily, It is a fine balance of the whole body on a physical and mental plane that needs to be achieved, if taking some extra vitamins helps your sister to relax by thinking that that is what is really helping then great goal achieved. We live in a rat race, this is often overlooked.
Wellwoman Plus with Omega 3,6,9 Price: £14.25 has all the right vitamins and nutrients to help balance the reproductive system.
On going stressful situations leads to an imbalance of the primary stress hormone cortisol and adrenal Stress hormones suppress fertility.
There are plenty of natural and cheap Self help techniques to help you de-stress such as a well balanced diet, regular exercise, deep breathing techniques, yoga and visualization will improve your fertility outcome.
I agree. Many of the cheaper brands of supplements from supermarkets for example are full of binders, and inactive ingredients. Also the nutrients are not in the forms where they may be easily absorbed by the body so the absorption is compromised. I don't usually recommend supplements till I know more about an individual's history and health. However it appears your sister requires a good multivitamin (like Higher Nature, or Viridian) to support her with her fertility in addition to a B-complex with Magnesium which she can take temporarily to boost her energy levels and top up the B vitamins she needs.
Hello Judy,
I agree with previous answers and use the same brands of practitioner supplements and also Lamberts, who I rate highly for good value, quality and affordability. The value of only 15% absorbability is a number I've never heard before and don't think that's a comparable amount. One of the issues with cheaper brands can be the forms of nutrients used eg cheaper calcium carbonate (basically chalk) rather than well-absorbed and utilitised calcium citrate and amino acid forms.
For fertility, one key nutrient is vitamin B6 (which works with zinc and magnesium), many women (especially those stressed) may have difficulties converting this to its active form P-5-P (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) and some more specialised supplements contain it in this form. Biocare do their vitamin B6 in this form which I do think is worth paying for, but it still really won't break the bank, just might seem to be expensive in relation to a high street brought brand.
Stress affects levels of beneficial probiotic bacteria on the gut wall, which are crucial for absorbing nutrients as well as some vitamin B production, liver detoxification and the correct immune responses that all play parts in the fertility picture. The stress response also uses up key fertility nutrients as we produce more energy in this 'constant alert' state; those commonly affected are B vitamins (including folic acid), zinc, vitamin C and magnesium and all work together. This means yes, take a quality supplement alongside food sources but also look at lifestyle factors that are creating those issues in the first place - a stressed body may not prioritise reproduction if thinks there's imminent danger on the horizon and digestion is another body system not seen as needing immediate priority; stress diverts energy and circulation away from the digestive tract s absorption is affected that way.....start by sitting down and chewing thoroughly....
Hope that helps!
Charlotte x
See my book 100 Top Foods for Pregnancy for more info.......


Charlotte here again, I've just realised my recent Wahanda Expert Panel article isn't linked to my profile and this might be helpful for your sister's stress levels, see link http://www.wahanda.com/blog/wahanda-expert-panel/a-holiday-every-day/
Thank you Charlotte! I've passed your answer on and given her links to the book and article :)
There is a certain truth to cheap water or cheap salt...
But this is more in our minds than in reality.
A nutritionist has to give advice concerning her nutrition thats her job, but even a stressed but otherwise healthy human being is capable of absorbing all the necessary vitamins and minerals to be fertile - dont get me wrong, but just look over to the continent of Africa...
Therefore it is never wrong to concentrate on choosing a healthy diet, but a healthy but stressed body isnt helped much with vitamins or even more vitamins plus minerals.
What needs help ist the mind.
What this mind in this body needs is to find a way of stress reduction focusing on the stress coping mechanisms as well as the personal expectations one lives up to, so it could be more efficiant to talk to a stress therapist or an other expert in human behavior, thus reducing intrapersonal stress levels in the first place than trying to treat the stress with high doses of multivitamins plus minerals plus CoQ etc.
Please understand that I am not recomending everybody with everyday stress to go to a shrink, but I am suggesting that a female which has fertility problems and says she has a lot of stress should not to concentrate merely on managing the symptoms but to adress the origin of her stress or the her ways to handle it.
Hi Judy
There is a huge difference in the quality of supplements on the market. The quality and composition affects their absorption by the body. There are many nutritional factors to consider when trying to conceive, including being careful not to consume unsuitable vitamins and minerals, that could do more harm than good.
Clinical laboratory tests by a nutritional therapist would establish if she is deficient in some areas and assist with choosing the required vtamins and minerals to reach optimum levels. I hope everything goes well for your sister.
Supplements do vary enormously in terms of quality and generally like much else you get what you pay for. I would suggest that she needs a balance - lack of minerals such as zinc can mean reduced absorption of vitamins, stress depletes zinc and zinc is key in fertility. (and in libido!) I recommend Cytoplan products as they are made from whole foods and the nutrients are "food state" exactly the form the body recognises as food. Their whole food multi has good levels of B vitamins including 400ug of folic acid and I would top up with extra zinc with copper. I never quote absorption percentages but I do agree that cheap supplements aren't really cheap as they are often hard to absorb and therefore don't work and are a waste of time and money.
There is a certain truth that cheap supplements, such as the £1.99 ones you tend to get at supermarkets these days, are jsut really not worth it. They tend to be poor quality, packed full of additives and binders that really don't need to be there and are cheap snythetic versions of the nutrients, which are at lower dosages to begin with and which are not absorbed very well. So, to a certain extent I agree and I tend to deter my clients from buying high street supplements.
However, that doesn't mean your supplements have to be 'expensive'. As an example the best multi-vitamin I use in my clinic is less than £10 a month and my favourite B complex is less than £10 for 1-2months and it is super high dosage. That's not exactly going to break the bank.
I use practitioner grade products with my clients, but ones that are at the more affordable end of the spectrum such as Nutrivital, Biocare, Cytoplan, Higher Nature, Nutri.
I don't know which supplement brand your sister has been recommended, and it may well be one of the ones I've mentioned above. However I don't think, aside for some certain conditions which need very intensive and specific help, that good supplements need to be expensive.


Thank you, this is really helpful!
was there any labs testing so she has in a lab report so can see she low ?


I think the tests showed that she is lacking in a lot of vitamins like zinc and vit B, because her body is not absorbing them properly due to 'stress'. She's perfectly healthy otherwise though!
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