I find most women who come to me for fertility issues are not taking supplements and have a poor diet. Even with moderate healthy eating habits, women are still not getting the vitamins and minerals to support proper ovulation, thyroid function and metabolism. Thus it is important to supplement our bodies with multi-vitamins and minerals. This particular research article has found a clear connection with ovulation and the intake of folic/B-vitamins.
When working with an acupuncturist to improve fertility, they should go over basic supplements to help you conceive. Depending on the client’s symptoms, basic minerals (such as magnesium and zinc can lessen the severity of PMS) can work together with Chinese herbs to balance the body.
Use of multivitamins, intake of B vitamins, and risk of ovulatory infertility
Jorge E. Chavarro, Janet W. Rich-Edwards, Bernard A. Rosner, Walter C. Willett
March Issue of Fertility and Sterility
The role of dietary factors in human fertility has not been investigated in detail, but intake of some micronutrients may enhance female fertility. Studies published elsewhere have documented higher pregnancy rates among users of micronutrient supplements who either have or do not have fertility disorders. Although these studies could not identify specific nutrients or mechanisms explaining the beneficial effect of these supplements, recent findings suggest that folate status may be important in the ovarian response to FSH. Therefore, we evaluated whether use of multivitamin supplements was associated with the incidence of ovulatory disorder infertility and explored which nutrients could explain the association if it exists.
During 8 years of follow-up, 26,971 eligible pregnancies and pregnancy attempts were accrued among 18,555 women. Of these events, 3,430 were incident reports of infertility from any cause, of which 2,165 were of women reporting at least one diagnosis for infertility and 438 (20% of women that reported a specific diagnosis) were incident reports of ovulatory infertility. Women reporting ovulatory infertility were more than four times more likely to report long and irregular menstrual cycles or clinical signs of excess androgens when compared with women reporting infertility from other causes or when compared with women who became pregnant during follow-up.
Women differed on several characteristics on the basis of their use of multivitamin supplements. Multivitamin users tended to consume less alcohol and coffee, to smoke less, and to be more physically active than nonusers. Also, multivitamin users were less likely to be users of hormonal contraception or intrauterine devices at the beginning of the first 2-year period during which they reported an eligible event. Frequency of multivitamin use was strongly correlated with the total intake of specific B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, B5, and B3)
With adjustments, use of multivitamin supplements was associated with a decreased risk of ovulatory infertility. Multivitamin users had one third lower risk of developing ovulatory infertility when compared with nonusers. When multivitamin users who consumed no more than two multivitamin tablets per week did not have a significantly different risk compared with women who did not use multivitamins. Women who consumed three or more tablets per week had a significantly reduced risk of ovulatory infertility. In addition, there was a linear trend toward decreased ovulatory infertility risk with increasing frequency of multivitamin supplement use. We estimate that 20% of ovulatory infertility cases could be avoided if women consumed three or more multivitamins per week.
Because multivitamins are the most important contributor to the intake of numerous micronutrients in the study population, we evaluated which of these nutrients might be responsible for the observed association. First, we added one at a time to the total intake (diet and supplements) of each of these nutrients (iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, folic acid, niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), retinol, and vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, and E) to observed whether their inclusion was associated between multivitamins and ovulatory infertility. In comparing multivitamin nonusers with users according to frequency of use, adding intakes of folic acid, iron, vitamins B1, B2, and D lessened the association between multivitamins and ovulatory infertility.
Because the previous research suggested that some B vitamins may increase the association between multivitamin supplements and ovulatory infertility, we then examined whether long-term intake of individual B vitamins was associated with the risk of developing ovulatory infertility. In analyses, intake of vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, and niacin reversed the risk of ovulatory infertility, whereas the intake of pantothenic acid was unrelated to ovulatory infertility. After adjustment, only intake of folic acid was associated with a reduced risk of ovulatory infertility. When this analysis was restricted to non-contracepting women, there was a strong reverse association between folic acid intake and ovulatory infertility.
We examined the association between use of multivitamin supplements and risk of ovulatory infertility and found that using these supplements at least three times per week was associated with a reduced risk of ovulatory infertility. Our results suggest that B vitamins, particularly folic acid, explain some of the association between multivitamin supplements and ovulatory infertility.
Only two studies published elsewhere have evaluated whether supplements containing multiple micronutrients may have an impact on fertility. The first study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of folic acid–containing multivitamin–multimineral supplement in reducing the occurrence of neural tube defects and other congenital malformations. More than 7,900 women without a history of infertility entered the trial. A secondary analysis of this trial revealed that after 1 year, 71% of the women assigned to the multivitamin–multimineral trial became pregnant, whereas 68% of the women in the placebo arm became pregnant. The second study was a 3-month trial that was conducted among 30 women who had not been able to become pregnant after 6 to 36 months of unprotected intercourse. During the trial, four women in its supplement arm (27%) and none in its placebo arm became pregnant.
Our data suggest that folic acid may be responsible for part of the association between multivitamin use and ovulatory infertility. Although, to our knowledge, there have not been other studies of folic acid intake and risk of infertility in general or risk of ovulatory infertility in particular, our findings are in agreement with previous clinical observations. Although currently unknown, it is possible that ovarian response to endogenous FSH pulses also is decreased in low folate conditions, which can be overcome by greater intake of folic acid. Our findings are in agreement with this hypothesis. Folic acid supplementation has been found to increase litter size in pigs and induced folate deficiency has resulted in decreased ovulation in rats.