Whilst it is true that you are born with all the eggs you ever have, it is possible to improve the environment in which they develop and mature by following an “egg-friendly” nutrition plan to develop healthy egg cells.
Age is, of course, the biggest factor affecting egg quality, with DNA/chromosome damage being an inevitable “side effect” of passing years. Cell ageing is often a result of free radicals, which are a natural by-product of our metabolism.
Free radicals have unpaired electrons (a bit of a science lesson here!) and electrons don’t like to be alone. So, these solitary electrons steal another electron from the cells around them and hence damage the cell. This process is called oxidation.
Foods that minimise free-radical damage are therefore ones that contain plenty of anti-oxidants. These knights in shining armour are able to provide those electrons to the needy free radicals and hence slow down cell damage.
How Long Will It Take?
It takes around 150 days for an egg to mature within it’s follicle. The important message here therefore is that although your nutritional and lifestyle choices may improve the quality of your eggs, it will take time.
If you change your diet today, the impact will most likely be on the eggs that will mature in 3-4 months time. But some of the changes may begin to have effect in the next month’s cycle. So it’s never too soon and it’s almost never too late to begin to make improvements to your nutrition for healthy egg cells.
Which Supplements Can Help?
If you are just starting to think about getting pregnant and have no knowledge of any difficulty then you can likely shorten the time it takes to get pregnant with the following plan:
- Daily prenatal multivitamin containing at least 400mcg of methylfolate or natural food folate (look for folate rather than folic acid)
- Daily CoQ10 supplement in the from of ubiquinol or Bio-Quinon. 200mg in the morning with food
- Have your Vitamin D level tested (it should be 40ng/ml or 100nmol/L) Supplement with 4000-5000iU of Vitamin D3 daily.
If you’ve been trying for a while but not moved on to assisted conception treatments you may consider adding some further basic supplements with an emphasis on anti-oxidants.
- Daily prenatal multivitamin containing at least 800mcg of methylfolate or natural food folate.
- CoQ10/Ubiquinol: 2x200mg, one with breakfast and one with lunch.
- Additional Vitamin C (500mcg) and Vitamin E (200IU)
- Possibly consider alpha-lipoic acid or N-acetylcysteine for additional anti-oxidant effect.
- You could ask your doctor to test for Vitamin D deficiency, coeliac disease and underactive thyroid. These three conditions can be associated with unexplained infertility and are often overlooked but relatively easy to address.
Check with your doctor before starting a supplement regime.
If you have other conditions (endometriosis, PCOS, recurrent miscarriage, low ovarian reserve) there are other tweaks that can be made to the supplement regime. I can highly recommend the book “It Starts With The Egg” by Rebecca Feit (second edition 2019)
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I’ve been privileged to help many people along their fertility journeys over the last twelve years and in that time I’ve developed some great resources and treatments to provide the support you might need.
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