Egg health plays a key role in healthy fertility. Poor egg quality can be the determining factor in whether you or your patient can get pregnant.
Poor egg health can be the result of numerous factors including age, diet, lifestyle, high stress levels or a hormonal imbalance. These issues can disrupt the ovulation cycle and restrict a woman’s ability to conceive. In many of these cases, women are presented with alternatives such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), an egg donor or even adoption.
However, poor egg health is no longer considered an irreversible problem as it was once thought to be.
There are many ways to improve egg health including exercise, proper nutrition, better sleep patterns, reducing stress and taking fertility supplements. By making these simple changes to diet and lifestyle, it’s possible to improve one’s chances of getting pregnant.
A growing body of research indicates that fertility supplements may help improve the quality of eggs and fertilization rates. But, which nutrients are specifically responsible for improving egg quality and fertility?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
It’s been well established that reproductive success rapidly declines with age. However, research now shows that the antioxidant CoQ10 may help improve egg quality and pregnancy success rates in women over 35.
CoQ10 is an essential catalyst for the creation of energy at the cellular level. It works within the mitochondria to support energy production. CoQ10 levels are highest during our first 20 years of life. As we age, CoQ10 decreases in the body. As a result, older women’s eggs are far less efficient in energy production.
Ovulation is an extensive process that requires an immense amount of energy. Oocytes (ovarian cells) are dependent on CoQ10 for the energy required for this process. Low levels of CoQ10 can result in decreased energy production and increased oxidative stress, each of which can impact ovulation. By supplementing with CoQ10, women may be able to reverse a decline due to age and improve egg quality.
Not to be confused with DHA, DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) is a powerful hormone that acts as a precursor to testosterone and estrogen. Recent studies show that DHEA may help increase follicular stimulation and estrogen production in women.
Since DHEA production declines with age, taking a supplement may help improve egg quality for women diagnosed with Decreased Ovarian Reserve (DOR) or Premature Ovarian Failure (POF).
Keep in mind that DHEA should not be taken in high doses due to potential side effects.
L-Arginine is an amino acid that may help improve ovarian response and pregnancy success rates. Supplementing with L-Arginine can help increase blood circulation to the uterus and ovaries, thus creating an optimal environment for egg production and implantation of a fertilized egg.
Inositol, in the form of myo-inositol, may help improve fertility rates in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition associated with poor egg quality.
Inositol has been shown to help modulate the presence of insulin in the body, which may have significant effect on ovulation. This helps improve glucose metabolism in women with PCOS. Clinical studies have demonstrated that Inositol can help restore normal ovulation, improve egg quality and increase fertilization rates in women with PCOS.
Made up of amino acids, Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. Egg quality is actually dependent on Glutathione due to its free-radical fighting abilities.
Oxidative stress can result in an increase in hormone levels and impair ovarian health. Glutathione helps protect eggs from damage throughout their extensive development process. Oocytes with greater levels of glutathione have been shown to produce healthier and stronger embryos.
Supplementation is recommended for women with PCOS who may have significantly lower levels of Glutathione due to the condition.
Beyond these nutrients, it’s important to take a prenatal multivitamin to prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins feature vitamins and minerals that support egg quality, fertility and a healthy pregnancy. Whether you’re taking or recommending a fertility supplement, fertility supplements will help to improve egg health and quality, and increase fertilization rates.