The value of starting supplements earlier than you might think
Prenatal vitamins and supplements are commonplace and there’s no debating that they’re important for an expectant mother. More fertility experts, however, are touting preconception supplements, taken before pregnancy, and how they are valuable additions to a woman’s fertility plan. We met up with Randall A. Loy, M.D from the Center for Reproductive Medicine, to learn about the science behind preconception supplements, who should be considering them and when they should start taking them.
Why should women take preconception supplements?
According to Dr. Loy, it’s rare that he encounters anyone in his practice who receives optimal nutrients from diet alone, “nutrition is so poor in the United States, even among our middle to upper class patients that we see on a regular basis. We need supplements because we're not getting them in the diet, even an optimal one. There's just no way with diet alone, to get enough of certain nutrients and vitamins that are present in the preconception formulas available today.” He continues, “if the goal for fertility is to produce the best possible egg cells, then we need to go beyond prenatal vitamins and look at preconception supplements that are high in antioxidants and coenzyme Q10.”
When should women start on preconception supplements?
It’s clear to Dr. Loy and other researchers that preconception supplements are a critical part of a fertility plan, but the timing of these supplements is equally important. Dr. Loy explains how we work backwards to land on the optimal starting point, “Physiologically, it takes 83 days to go from a little pinpoint of an egg follicle to one that's about an inch in diameter and ready to ovulate. So we recommend that people who are thinking very proactively would start to take these preconception supplements and vitamins for three months prior to anticipated conception.” Looking ahead, this means if a woman is planning on trying to get pregnant in the short term, then she ought to start on supplements now.
All preconception supplements are not created equal
With the emergence of this trend among fertility circles, the availability of preconception supplements has skyrocketed. Virtually every chain grocery store or pharmacy around the country will have some sort of supplement available. Dr. Loy warns, however, that there’s a vast difference in quality and effectiveness based on the purity of ingredients and the conditions in which they’re extracted or harvested, “There are less expensive options, but for the most part, 80 plus percent of the supplements and vitamins that you find in CVS or Walgreens or your local Publix or Kroger, you’re probably buying vitamins that are made with some questionable standards, mostly from Southeast Asia.” The takeaway? Do a bit of research to make sure the supplements you choose are harvested ethically and are naturally derived.
Preconception supplements with a focus on purity
Created for women trying to conceive, NutraBloom’s Preconception Formula includes vitamin D3, L-Methyl Folate, Coenzyme Q10, Grape seed extract, Lycopene and other ingredients that contain nutrients and vitamins that are difficult for your body to take in through diet alone. This supplement is for any woman who is looking to start her fertility journey with a strong foundation, but may be critically important if you have been diagnosed with impaired egg health, are having difficulty conceiving, or are undergoing fertility treatments.