Vitamins and Reproductive Health
Reproductive health depends on many factors, from a nutritious diet to psychological well-being. While vitamins are only one facet of the complex relationship between fertility and nutrition, ensuring that you are getting enough of some of these nutrients can help prevent some fertility problems. What is the connection between vitamins A, C, the B complex, and vitamin E and reproductive health? What is the best way to make sure you are getting enough of the vitamins for fertility in your diet?
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is one of the most important nutrients for fertility, of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional compounds. An important water-soluble antioxidant, it helps to protect the body from free radical damage. It is important for the production of anti-stress hormones — stress can be a major obstacle to a normal libido. Vitamin C may even play a role in enhancing the enjoyment of your love life by causing more of the hormone oxytocin to be released. Perhaps most importantly, for men at least, this vitamin is needed for the production and
motility of sperm.
It is easy to get enough vitamin C in your diet as long as you are consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables. Excellent sources include dark leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, and sweet peppers.
Another protective antioxidant, vitamin E is also a very important nutrient for a healthy reproductive system and fertility. It has actually been called the sex vitamin because it carries oxygen to the sex organs. Vitamin E also increases sperm count and promotes balanced hormone production. Deficiencies of this vitamin can contribute to infertility, menstrual problems, and cause uterine degeneration.
some of this nutrient as well.
Because vitamin A is a part of so many different functions and actions in the body it is also an important nutrient to include in your diet. It acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage by free radicals. Vitamin A supports healthy reproductive gland function — deficiencies can lead to reproductive difficulties. It also is necessary for new cell growth and the utilization of protein.
The carotenoids, which are converted into vitamin A in the body, are found in green leafy vegetables as well as yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, and kale are all rich sources.
The B Vitamins
The B vitamins act together for myriad functions in the body. In relation to proper reproductive gland functioning they are essential. Niacin for example is necessary for the synthesis of sex hormones. Pantothenic acid is an anti-stress vitamin. Folic acid protects the egg and sperm. Pyridoxine is used for RNA and DNA synthesis. All of these nutrients work together as a complex, as well as the other B vitamins. Together they play an important role in energy production, nervous system well-being, red blood cell production, and immune health.
Few foods contain all of the B vitamins, but eating a variety of whole grains, as well as eggs, nuts, fish, cheese, meat, and green vegetables will supply the body with plenty of these important nutrients.
Is it possible to consume enough of all of these vitamins for fertility through food sources? With a healthy, well-balanced diet, most definitely. Using food sources will also ensure better absorption of nutrients and the consumption of other important minerals, enzymes, fiber, fatty acids, and proteins, that all are necessary for reproductive health and total well-being. You can also supplement with a high-quality multi-vitamin. Adding herbs or sea greens to your diet is another great way to ensure optimal nutrition. Herbs such as dandelion, nettles, chickweed, and alfalfa are highly concentrated sources of vitamins and minerals.
Balch, Phyllis A. “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Page, Linda. “Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone.” Eleventh Edition (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
photo by David Lenker
photo by Olle Svensson
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