If you are trying to conceive right now, it might feel like there is very little you can do. But that simply is not true! Outside of being good to your body in general (eating well, exercising, getting restful zzz’s, yoga, chillaxing, sex for funsies), there’s a little artisan internet store called Amazon that will happily supply you with a number of fertility boosters, straight to your doorstep and in just a few days.
(No, Amazon is not a paying sponsor of Science, Baby!, but we’d consider selling out for the right amount of paper, yo.)
In a time when not much is in our control, it can feel liberating/orderly/sane to do something you can control – like buying supplements with a one-click purchase option.
Because WTF else are we supposed to do right now, we’ve compiled a list of nine online-orderable fertility strengtheners you can safely take at home.
- PRENATAL VITAMINS. This is kind of a no-brainer and the first thing docs will tell you to do when TTC. Prenatal vitamins are specially designed multivitamins that deliver an extra OOMPH of nutrients needed during various stages of your baby’s — and your preggo body’s — development. They say you should start taking prenatal vitamins at least a month before conception and throughout your entire pregnancy. At the end of the day, you’re looking for folic acid (600 mcg), iron (27 mg), calcium (1,000 mg) and Vitamin D (600 IU), so says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The vitamin also should have Vitamin A (770 mcg), Vitamin C (85 mg), Vitamin B6 (1.9 mg) and Vitamin B12 (2.6 mcg). Zinc, omega-3’s and DHA are good (more on that later) too. (Our bestie and hormonal guru Lauren Chambers of So Fresh n So Green raves about the importance of prenatals and the Ritual brand, with its Essential Prenatal vitamin).
- MYO-INOSITOL. A natural substance found in the B vitamin family, myo-inositol is thought to help the body balance hormones, promote ovarian function, enhance egg quality and encourages menstrual cycle regularity. Specifically, studies show myo-inositol has positive effects on boosting reproductive function among women with PCOS. According to Pre Mama Wellness, in a recent study of 3,602 women with PCOS who consumed myo-inositol and folic acid for two-three months, 69% experienced an improvement in their ovulatory and menstrual cycles. (Try PreMama’s Fertility Support for Her drink mix that is based on myo and folate.)
- CoQ10. Or Coenzyme Q10 is a compound that helps generate energy in your cells, which your body produces naturally, but is one of the first things most fertility doctors will recommend you try before treatment. While CoQ10 does a body good in myriad of ways, when it comes to fertility, supplementing with CoQ10 is said to help and even reverse the age-related decline in egg quality and quantity. For dudes, several studies have concluded that supplementing with CoQ10 may improve sperm quality, activity and concentration by increasing antioxidant protection. (Try Vita Naturals CoQ10.)
- DEHA. Dehydroepiandrosterone, also known as androstenolone, is an endogenous steroid hormone. Duh! In supplement form, DHEA is believed to improve sex drive, build muscle, fight the effects of aging and improve some health conditions, like aging eggs. This is often recommended to women over 35 that are TTC as it is the hormone that kickstarts estrogen production in the body. And maybe decreases wrinkles? (Try Pure Encapsulations DHEA.)
- PROBIOTICS. Touted as “bacteria with benefits,” probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are, easily enough, good for you! They are healthy gut bacteria that benefit digestive, skin and heart health, plus gut immune function, gut barrier integrity and micronutrient synthesis. They can also manipulate microbiome, which helps restore fertility. While we’re not sure what any of those things mean, we’ve found that, generally speaking, probiotics balance your immune system and that’s a great way to start getting a baby on board. (Try Seed Daily Synbiotic, a probiotic + prebiotic formulation developed for systemic benefits.)
- RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA. Erin cannot believe she is endorsing this because she drank this near the end of her pregnancy and recalls it tasting like pink mold, but red raspberry leaf tea is said to help strengthen the uterine lining. Enjoy at your palate’s risk… (Try Yogi Woman’s Raspberry Leaf.)
- OMEGA-3. AKA fish oil. According to researchers at the University of Colorado, there is evidence that the healthy fat can boost chances of getting pregnant by helping the ovaries to produce better quality eggs. Don’t worry, there are plenty of brands available that ensure your breath will not smell like dead trout after swallowing one of these massive pills. (Try Nordic Naturals’ Ultimate Omega.)
- MACA. The Peruvian herb and root has had its heyday with viral popularity, heralded for boosting libido as well as sperm count and “mental clarity,” used for millennia in the Incan culture. Though docs can’t seem to agree that it increases anything directly related to fertility, they can concur the herb does help to restore hormonal imbalances. Fun fact: Erin makes a bulletproof coffee every morning and puts a teaspoon of this superfood in it for good juju as well as nutty flavor. (Try Navitas Organics Gelatinized Maca.)
- BEE POLLEN AND ROYAL JELLY. Yeah, what? Studies have linked pollen to improve immunity, fertility and overall nutrition, while nutrient-rich, bee-biproduct royal jelly is loaded with amino acids, lipids, sugars, vitamins, fatty acids, iron and calcium. (Try the Pure by Nature brand that combines the two, plus propolis.)