Fertility

Put simply, fertility is the ability to conceive and reproduce. If you can either conceive or reproduce you are fertile. For fem... Put simply, fertility is the ability to conceive and reproduce. If you can either conceive or reproduce you are fertile. For females, there is a certain window during their menstrual cycle where they are more ready to reproduce, and males are continuously fertile throughout the year. Excep...

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What is Fertility?

Fertility is defined as the ability to conceive or reproduce. Infertility is defined as an inability to conceive or reproduce following a year of regular, unprotected sex (Source: NCBI). 

  • Male: About half of infertility cases are due to men (Source: NCBI)
  • Female: The other half of infertility cases are due to females 

(Source: NIH)

Infertility can be caused by many factors, genetics, environment, lifestyle and others. Before anyone tries to solve there own fertility issues, contact a gynaecologist (Reproductive health doctor). 

The following recommendations are based on the scientific research and do not pertain to you as an individual or any infertility complication you might have. Please read this twice.

How can I maintain/improve my fertility?

First, did you know infertility affects about 1 in 20 men under the age of 40 years old? So, yes this is a global/public health problem (Source: NCBI). 

Regular exercise has many benefits. Research suggests physical activity independent of weight loss can improve female reproductive health, in those with difficulties (Source: NCBI). 

Practical application.

During pregnancy and after pregnancy there are physical activity guidelines, below are the recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Source: ACOG):

  • Physical activity and exercise in pregnancy are associated with minimal risks and have been shown to benefit most women, although some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements.
  • A thorough clinical evaluation should be conducted before recommending an exercise program to ensure that a patient does not have a medical reason to avoid exercise.
  • Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises before, during, and after pregnancy.
  • Obstetrician–gynaecologists and other obstetric care providers should evaluate women with medical or obstetric complications carefully before making recommendations on physical activity participation during pregnancy. Activity restriction should not be prescribed routinely as a treatment to reduce preterm birth.

Outside of this, following general physical activity guidelines from the World Health Organisation are recommended (Source: BJSM):

"It is recommended that:

► All adults should undertake regular physical activity;
► Adults should do at least 150–300 min of moderate-intensity aerobic physical
activity, or at least 75–150min of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity,
or an equivalent combination of moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity
activity throughout the week for substantial health benefits;
► Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater
intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as
these provide additional health benefits"

Other Lifestyle Factors

    • Avoid any and all forms of smoking
    • Avoid excessive alcohol intake
    • Ensure high quality and quantity sleep regularly
    • Consume a healthy and well-balanced diet
    • Minimise other stressors in personal and professional life

Source: NCBI & NCBI

General principles of a healthy, balanced diet rich in omega-3, vitamins and minerals, and also antioxidants are associated with better semen quality and male fertility. (Source: NCBI)

Some of the crucial nutrients that may need additional planning/preparation to ensure sufficient amounts are provided by the diet and/or supplementation are discussed next.


Important nutrients


Vitamin D

Main function

The vitamin D receptor and enzymes involved in vitamin D metabolism are found in both sexes reproductive organs (Source: NCBI). Vitamin D is positively associated with many aspects of good reproductive health men (Source: NCBI)

Concern

Everyone, irrespective of diet, should ensure adequate sun exposure and/or supplement during the winter months. Especially, in countries most north.


Folate

Main function

Involved in DNA synthesis and the supplemental form "Folic Acid" can act as an antioxidant, it may reduce oxidative stress (damage) to sperm cells in some cases (Source: NCBI).

Concern

One of the main dietary sources of folate is green leafy vegetables, unfortunately, modern diets are not abundant in this food group. Consult your healthcare practitioner before considering supplementation. 


Zinc

Main function

Found in the testicles and semen in high concentrations. Second most abundant mineral in the human body following iron. It is essential for reproductive health and sperm motility (sperms swimming ability) and quality (Source: NCBI & NCBI). 

Concern

Vegan and vegetarians ar a higher risk group and should plan their dietary intake to ensure adequate zinc. Most meat-eaters will consume sufficient zinc by default, through meat and other animal products. 


Research Highlight & Summary

Title: Influence of oral vitamin and mineral supplementation on male infertility: a meta-analysis and systematic review - 2019

Takeaways:

  • Significant Improvements 
    • Selenium (200µg/day and 100µg/day) 
    • L-carnitine (2 g/day)
    • Co-enzyme Q10 (200 and 300 mg/day) 
  • Promising Data
    • Zinc (66 mg/day) combined with folic acid (5 mg/day)
    • Omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 1.12 g/day) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 0.72 g/day)

Additional Considerations

While consumption of these nutrients through natural or fortified foods is preferred, these nutrients may occasionally need supplementation

Vitamin D supplementation, in particular, may be required when sunlight exposure is limited. Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels is likely beneficial for immune function and resistance to infections. Supplementing with ~ 1000-2000 IU/day vitamin D3 is the recommendation for those who have zero sun exposure. (Source: NCBI, MDPI)

General supplementation should be considered for restrictive or low energy-density diets.

Want to learn more?

Here at Plent, we are different than most other supplement retailers out there. We are committed to consumer education and empowerment, brand transparency and quality assurance of all our own supplements. For this reason, we want all our customers to have a full and rounded understanding of the world of supplementation. If you would like to read more about getting pregnant or reproductive health from the experts, check out the links below, and in particular the Instagram account:

  1. Video
    1. Ep 32. Gynaecology Myth Busting with Dr Anita Mitra the Gynae Geek
  2. Written
    1. CAN WE RELY ON FERTILITY TRACKING APPS?
  3. Audio
    1. EPISODE 9 – How to get pregnant with Dr Larisa Corda
    2. S1 E9 - Periods, Fertility + the menopause
  4. Instagram 
    1. Dr Anita Mitra: Gynaecology Doctor