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Nutrition to Aid Fertility

Vitamins A: not found in pregnancy multivitamins because high dosages are toxic to the foetus.  Important for absorption of protein, follicular development, embryo growth, thyroid health and immunity.  Sources: full-fat dairy, eggs, oily fish.

Folic Acid 400mcg a day(ideally start 3 months before conception), prevents neural tube defects (NTDs).  Sources: green leafy veg, pulses, oats, whole grains.

Beta-carotene: The vegetable precursor of Vitamin A.  High levels in the corpus luteum positively corresponds with strong progesterone levels.  Sources: yellow, red, orange fruit and vegetables dark green leafy veg.

Vitamin E: A major antioxidant, works with Vitamin C and selenium to reduce free radical damage, thins the blood, and regulates menstrual flow.  Sources: wheat germ, nut and seed oils, green leafy veg, nuts.

Vitamin B6: Increases brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, which control FSH and LH.  Helps regulate oestrogen and progesterone levels.  Sources: whole grains, bananas, potatoes, chickpeas, lentils, seeds, fish, milk products, oats, avocado.

Vitamin B3: Needed for regulation of blood sugar and production of reproductive hormones.  Sources: eggs, fish, chicken, peanuts, whole grains, avocados

Vitamin B12: For red blood cell formation, works with folic acid and helps regulate ovulation.  Sources: animal-derived foods, meat, chicken, fish, dairy and eggs

Vitamin C: Helps regulate ovulation.  Can boost the action of clomid.  Vitamin C is a major antioxidant, working with Vit E to protect your developing and maturing egg from oxidative stress-related damage. Sources: papaya, bell peppers, strawberries, kiwifruit, broccoli, pineapple, Lemon Juice, oranges, parsley.

Vitamin D: It is a vitamin and a fat soluble pro-hormone, it is obtained naturally through sunlight and food (most from sunlight on our skin).  Recent research shows Vitamin D to be very important in fertility.  Sources include eggs, and oily fish, herring and salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna.  Studies have shown Vit D Deficiency in PCOS and anovulatory fertility.

Iron: Forms oxygen-carrying RBC.s.  Deficiency causes anovulation and serious problems in pregnancy.  Low iron levels are linked to infertility.  Sources are red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, pulses, dark green leafy veg, dried apricots and prunes, seeds.

Iodine: Essential for correct functioning of the thyroid gland, which influences fertility.  Iodine concentration in the ovaries is high, NB for follicular fluid and development.  NB in pregnancy for foetal brain development.  Sources include fish, shellfish, dairy products, iodised salt

Magnesium: Low levels can implicate hormonal irregularities. Sources include green leafy veg, nuts especially almonds, seeds.

Selenium: Powerful antioxidant protecting developing eggs and embryo from free-radical induced damage. Vital trace element for thyroid function and proper functioning is essential for fertility.  Linked to prevention of miscarriage and pre-eclampsia.  Sources include brazil nuts (in moderation), seafood, eggs, garlic, the onion family, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus.

Zinc: NB for gene regulatory hormones, and synthesis of DNA and receptor proteins for oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, as well as Vit D and thyroid hormones.  Sources include oysters, seafood, meat, sunflower seeds, wheat germ.

Free radicals and antioxidants: broccoli, curly kale, blueberries, pomegranates, red peppers, prunes, kidney beans, cloudy apple juice, tomato puree, nuts and seeds and cold pressed olive oil.

The advise given above is designed only as a guide.  Each individual has different needs and requirements nutritionally.  To get a detailed and individualized consultation call Marianne for an appointment on 01 214 0575 or 087 9697413.

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