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6 Fertility-Supporting Minerals That Should Be in Your Prenatal Vitamins, Especially Before Pregnancy

Ovaterra

Last updated March 16, 2022

Studies have found that women who consistently take prenatal vitamins before pregnancy have a higher chance of getting pregnant, compared to women who don’t. Last week, we looked at the vitamins that may explain this fertility boost from prenatal vitamins. This week, let’s take a look at the other key group of nutrients: Minerals.

 

Minerals play key roles in reproductive health

Minerals play multiple roles in our body. Even though the amount of minerals we need each day is minuscule (that’s why they are called “trace” minerals), essential trace elements like zinc, copper, selenium and iodine play key roles in the reproductive processes.

Multiple studies have found that insufficiencies of essential minerals like zinc, selenium and copper are more common among women who undergo IVF. While that trend can’t tell us whether these specific minerals are necessary for fertility (because low levels of these minerals may signal overall poor nutritional status or other cofounding factors), some evidence is emerging, linking healthy mineral levels to normal female fertility.

 

Minerals with roles in female reproductive health

Zinc, selenium and copper top our list.

 

1. Zinc may support egg health, ovarian reserve and normal ovulation

As an indispensable mineral for hundreds of enzymatic activities, Zinc is probably at the top of our list.  It’s an important mineral during pregnancy that supports the maintenance of the pregnancy, baby’s healthy growth and normal functioning of the  placenta. Zinc is also key during the preconception period, with lower maternal levels linked to longer time to conception.

 

2. Selenium may support luteal phase and healthy egg and sperm

Selenium is an essential mineral with antioxidant capabilities. It’s a component of multiple proteins (called selenoproteins) that drive reproductive processes, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis and protection from oxidative damage. Unsurprisingly, Selenium has been suggested as essential to both male and female reproductive health, with normal levels associated with shorter time to pregnancy, higher pregnancy rates and lower risks of miscarriages.d

 

3. Copper may support the development of endometrium, placenta and embryos

Given that copper IUD is a common method of contraception, it might seem strange to see copper on the list of minerals that may have a supportive role in reproductive processes. However, analyses of fertility patients like this one have found that women who seek fertility treatment tend to have lower levels of copper than their healthy counterparts. 

Animal studies have also suggested that an adequate level of copper may be essential to fertility for both men and women. This may be due to copper’s versatile roles in many physiological processes, including angiogenesis (formation of new blood cells, which is essential for placental development), regulation of gene expression and defense against oxidative damage for the corpus luteum and for the developing embryo.

 

Bottom line on prenatal minerals for fertility

The bottom line on prenatal minerals and fertility is this: Start on a good prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement early, and stay on it.

Aside from zinc, selenium and copper, make sure your prenatal multi contains these other fertility-supporting minerals:

For a more in-depth look at how women's health experts choose prenatal vitamins, check out this "How to Choose a Prenatal" webinar with Dr. Stephanie Nichols - and please reach out if you have any questions. We are with you.

 

 

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