Food & Diet

Top Fertility Supplements for Women and Men

What women and men are taking to support their fertility goals and why
Pills and capsules on a yellow background
Pills and capsules on a yellow background
Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or working with a fertility clinic, there are supplements that women most often use to increase their fertility and support their body while trying to get pregnant. 

Deficiencies in some of these vitamins have been shown by research to negatively affect fertility and pregnancy outcomes, so it is important to work with your doctor to make sure you are supplementing sufficiently if you are low on any of the below. 

And don't forget about men as well! There are supplements that can increase male fertility and improve sperm quality.

While not everyone will need to take the same supplements as everyone's blood work levels & requirements differ, we list the most common supplements that fertility patients take and review where clinical research has shown the positive effects on fertility.

Folic acid 


Folic acid (vitamin B9) is extremely important for women to take when trying to conceive as low levels of folic acid during early pregnancy can lead to defects in fetal brain and spine development. 

Because of how early in pregnancy these problems occur, it is imperative to take folic acid even before you start trying to conceive, as these neural defects in the development of the fetus occur during the first month of pregnancy when you may not be aware that you are pregnant yet.

💊The CDC recommends that all women of reproductive age get 400 mcg of folic acid everyday. 

If you'd also like to incorporate more folate into your diet, 1 cup of cooked lentils contains 358 mcg of folate, 90% of the recommended daily intake for women.  

What is the difference between folic acid and folate, you ask? 

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate used in supplements and to fortify foods. Folate is the naturally occurring version of the vitamin which can be found in high amounts in certain foods. 

Vitamin D 


Vitamin D supports bone health and may also affect fertility and the likelihood of conceiving. 

Studies have shown that women with sufficient vitamin D levels have a higher pregnancy rate than women who are deficient. However, more research is needed to confirm. 

You might know Vitamin D as the 'sun vitamin', referring to your body's ability to make its own vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Since we ladies are all much smarter these days about staying out of the sun to avoid skin damage, it’s likely you’ll need to stake a supplement for Vitamin D. You can try to add it in from the few foods that naturally contain it as well.

Foods with the highest Vitamin D levels per serving are primarily fatty fish. You can get more than the recommended daily value from 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil or a 6 oz serving of rainbow trout or sockeye salmon. 

Vitamin D is not just important for women. If your male partner suffers from poor sperm quality, you may want to discuss with your reproductive endocrinologist if Vitamin D supplementation could help him too. 

Research has shown that men with sufficient Vitamin D serum levels have higher sperm motility and progressive sperm motility than men that were deficient in Vitamin D. 

CoQ10


CoQ10 is often recommended for men and women to improve fertility. CoQ10 acts as an antioxidant in your body and is naturally found in your mitochondria where they are involved in the process your cells use to generate energy. 

Research has shown that supplementation of CoQ10 in men can improve sperm parameters such as sperm concentration, motility, and morphology. 

This improvement was only seen in men supplementing with CoQ10 for a 6 month period while no difference was seen in men that had only supplemented for 3 months so it's best to start supplementing sooner rather than later!

Foods high in CoQ10 include organ meats (heart, liver, kidney) and fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, and mackerel. 

More research is needed when it comes to the effects of female fertility and CoQ10 however initial research findings have suggested an association between the antioxidant and an improvement in egg quality and increased clinical pregnancy rate. 

Prenatal Multivitamin 


Prenatals are multivitamins that contain a cocktail of several vitamins and minerals needed to support a healthy pregnancy. 

Most prenatals have folic acid already in them along with iron, iodine, vitamin B6, and calcium. Prenatals may also contain other vitamins and minerals such as zinc and copper. 

Your physician can recommend a prenatal to you but keep in mind that the amount of a particular vitamin present in a prenatal may not be high enough to meet your specific needs. 

Therefore, based on what your doctor recommends, you may have to incorporate in an additional source into your fertility regime, such as extra folic acid supplements in combination with your prenatal. You can also include eating foods that contain high amounts of the vitamins you need. 

Omega-3 (DHA) 


Not all prenatal multivitamins include DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is important for cell membrane structure and is found in the high amounts in the retina, brain, and sperm. Studies on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on fertility are starting to become more prevalent and could be beneficial to your fertility goals.    

There is currently limited research on the effects of omega-3 supplementation and IVF outcome however, a recent study from 2018 did find that higher levels of serum omega-3 in women undergoing IVF were associated with a higher pregnancy rate and live birth rate. This suggests that an increased intake of omega-3 could be beneficial to IVF patients. 

Your doctor may recommend that you include this supplement in your regime if you’re not getting enough of the fatty acid from your diet. If you’re looking to add more natural sources to your diet, Omega-3's can be found in the highest amounts in salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish. 

Diet can also help you add in extra vitamins and minerals


This is what we know so far about how these commonly recommended supplements can improve fertility and help you to conceive, however more research is needed with larger sample sizes so that we can make more concrete conclusions.

Looking at the natural sources of these vitamins, it looks like salmon and fatty fish in general are the winners for getting more fertility-friendly vitamins from your diet. 

In fact, many reproductive endocrinologists recommend a Mediterranean diet for women who are trying to conceive. The Mediterranean diet is known for being great for anti-inflammatory purposes with the menu including a lot of fatty fish and healthy fats from oils. 

Before adding any new supplements to your regime, please check in with your physician to make sure you are not over-supplementing or interfering with any medications you may be taking.

If you're trying to conceive naturally and looking for additional way to maximize your chance of success each month, check our guide on getting pregnant naturally for tips. 

Do you take supplements or have a specific diet to support your fertility goals?

🕵️‍♀️ Considering seeing a fertility specialist? Head to our fertility clinic search to compare options in your area & learn more about each provider.