Vitamins and supplements are BIG BUSINESS. In fact, the supplement industry is currently worth 123 billion dollars and increasing by the minute. Everywhere you turn someone’s pushing the next big cure in a bottle to whatever ails you. The problem is…supplements are barely regulated.
Companies can make all kinds of claims about what a supplement can do for you and it sounds really good. However, rarely are supplements that miraculous.
The same is true for fertility supplements, which is a rapidly growing industry. Advertisements for vitamins, herbs, and supplements to help you get and stay pregnant are everywhere. And it’s tempting to try them all when you’re desperate for a baby. I get it! I’ve been there to the tune of thousands of dollars (yikes!!).
We suggest using caution when trying supplements though. As we mentioned, the industry is barely regulated. Not only does that mean many of the products don’t do what they say they do, it also means they aren’t always safe. And, the worst time to put something harmful in your body is when you’re trying to get pregnant. Right???
As a general practice, we recommend very few vitamins and supplements. The thing is, your body likes food. It’s designed to get all of the nutrition it needs from food. Even though you can now get all kinds of fancy supplements, including food-based ones, your body would still rather have food.
*For more information on important nutrients for getting and staying pregnant, and how to get them in your diet, check out this article.
So, bottom line, you’re never going to be able to supplement away a bad diet. And, if you’re eating a good diet, most vitamins and supplements aren’t needed. Basically, either way you’re wasting your money if you take a ton of supplements.
That being said, there are a few vitamins and supplements we do recommend. Again, we are minimalist when it comes to this area and only recommend things that we feel are truly helpful.
A good prenatal vitamin is one we absolutely recommend taking daily if you are trying to get pregnant. There are a number of nutrients that are essential to getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins offer a safety net for these nutrients. Chances are if you eat a healthy, balanced diet you are already getting most of the necessary vitamins and minerals, but it’s not something you want to risk.
We suggest taking a food-based prenatal vitamin, such as MyKind Organics Prenatal Multivitamin. This makes it easier for your body to absorb and less likely to cause stomach upset.
Vitamin D is required to create sex hormones. Clearly, if you’re trying to get pregnant you need well functioning sex hormones. So, vitamin D is obviously important. It’s also been found that as many as 93% of infertile women suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Now, that’s a significant number!
Prenatal vitamins already contain vitamin D. So, if you’re taking a prenatal, you may not need to also take vitamin D separately. We suggest having your doc check your level. If it’s low then you may need to take additional vitamin D until you get it up.
There is some debate about the safety of high doses of vitamin D during pregnancy. We suggest keeping vitamin D to about 2000 IU per day (although up to 4000 IU appears safe) unless otherwise recommended by your doctor.
MegaFood makes an excellent 1000 IU vitamin D3.
Okay, to be honest, this one isn’t actually a supplement. It’s a food. But, in the western world it’s sold and used like a supplement.
Maca is one the most powerful fertility foods/supplements for both men and women. It helps balance cortisol levels that may be out of balance due to stress. It also helps with low thyroid function, stabilizes blood sugar levels and improves energy levels.
As if that weren’t enough, maca also helps with sexual function. For women, it can help with menstrual cycles, fertility, menopausal symptoms, improve bone health and muscle mass, and help libido. For men, it helps with libido and energy levels, improves testosterone levels, improves bone and muscles mass, helps with prostate function, fertility and erectile dysfunction.
Maca is a root vegetable that is available as a powder in a package or capsule or as an extract. To use it in recipes, try a powder like Navitas. It goes well with ingredients like chocolate in a smoothie, in dips like guacamole, or legume dishes. Strong flavors like garlic, onions, cumin and cayenne also work well with maca.
If you just can’t get down with the powder, go with a capsule like Sunfoods Superfood Maca Capsules.
That’s it folks. Those are the only supplements we typically recommend. You may need other vitamins or supplements depending on your own situation, but in general these three will get it done.
This is a case of less is more. The fewer supplements you take the lower the risk and you’ll save a lotta dough! Your body would much rather you feed it well and give it the nutrients it needs from food. Again, check out this article to learn more about what you should be eating to get and stay pregnant.