A new study presented at the recent Fertility 2018 Conference in London (1 abstract pg 10), showed that supplementing with vitamin D and Omega 3 in the 6 weeks prior to IVF treatment, resulted in higher quality embryos.
This randomised, controlled study confirms the findings of other retrospective studies, which show the strong correlation between a nutritious diet prior to conception and better quality gametes, embryo and pregnancy outcome.
Vitamin D has a well established role in fertility. Not only is it involved in hormone metabolism and ovulation, the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and vitamin D metabolising enzymes are actually found in reproductive tissues of both women and men. Healthy vitamin D levels play a significant role in reproductive health of both men and women (2) and are linked to significantly increased pregnancy rates following IVF treatment (3).
If your fertility specialists hasn’t checked your vitamin D levels yet, this is a test you can request yourself from your GP or specialist.
Dietary sources of vitamin D are extremely limited and poorly absorbed. The best natural source of vitamin D is sunlight. Due to the varying ability of people to metabolise vitamin D from sunlight, vitamin D supplementation is highly recommended during the preconception period. If your levels are found to be low, speak to your Naturopath about healthy supplementation.
Omega 3 is known as an essential fatty acid, meaning that it is essential to life. It is beneficial for overall cellular health, plays a role in mediating inflammation and is important for healthy development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. A diet rich in omega 3 has been shown to improve egg quality in women (4).
Unlike vitamin D, omega 3 is something which is not necessary to test for. Basically, you can’t overdose on omega 3. Incorporating more of this essential fatty acid into your diet, not only supports fertility and pregnancy outcomes you will also notice benefits in skin, hair and nails.
Rich dietary sources of omega 3 include salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, white fish, tuna and cod. You can also take omega 3 in supplement form. Look for a high quality brand for best purity and high EPA and DHA levels.