As discussed in the book, the right supplements can dramatically improve egg quality by supporting energy production in the mitochondria of developing eggs. Energy production is vital to the ability of immature eggs to develop into mature eggs with the right number of chromosomes.
The most important supplements to support egg development are:
- A good quality prenatal with at least 800 mcg folate (not folic acid)
- Ubiquinol CoQ10
In certain circumstances, other supplements such as melatonin, myo-inositol, alpha-lipoic acid, or DHEA may be needed, but these supplements are not right for everyone, as discussed in the book.
The Best Prenatal Supplement for Egg Quality:
- It has 800 mcg of folate (rather than the synthetic form, folic acid, which must be converted to folate in the liver using the DHFR enzyme. The efficiency of this enzyme varies greatly between different people).
- It has the active forms of vitamin D and B12, and good amounts of thyroid-supporting zinc, iodine, and selenium.
- It is also very well tolerated, with few side effects.
Men Need Prenatals Too
For similar reasons, I also recommend the Garden of Life Vitamin Code Multivitamin for Men as the most important supplement for improving sperm quality. It has folate rather than folic acid, a good amount of selenium and zinc, and added mixed carotenoids and tocopherols (which are antioxidants in the same family as vitamin A and E).
As explained in the book, there are many other supplements with the potential to improve egg and sperm quality, but not every supplement is right for every situation. (And you should always discuss your supplement plan with your doctor.) If you decided to add a particular supplement, the following are good-quality brands to choose.
Ubiquinol (CoQ10): Jarrow Formulas Ubiquinol QH-absorb
Alpha-lipoic acid: Doctor’s Best Alpha-lipoic acid
Myo-Inositol: Jarrow Inositol Powder
DHEA: Fertinatal or Pure Encapsulations
Alternative Folate Options for MTHFR Mutations
If you have a significant mutation in the MTHFR gene, which encodes an enzyme that converts folate to the biologically active methylfolate, you may want to consider adding a stand-alone folate supplement to reach a higher dose of folate, or choosing a prenatal that has folate already in the methyl form.
MTHFR mutations have long been associated with recurrent miscarriage. A study published in May 2016 found that MTHFR mutations are also much more common in women with failed IVF cycles and chromosomally abnormal embryos. Your Doctor can order an MTHFR blood test or you can order DNA analysis yourself through 23andme and have the data analyzed through the free website Genetic Genie. Note that methylfolate can sometimes cause side effects such as mood changes and joint pain. For this reason, you may prefer to just take a higher dose of folate.
Even people with two copies of a mutation in the MTHFR gene (“homozygous” mutations) can still perform the conversion from folate to methylfolate, just less effectively. Government bodies recommend no more than 1000 mcg/day of synthetic folic acid (or 4000 mcg for those with a history of neural tube defects), but have not set an upper dose limit for natural folate because no adverse effects have been observed. Discuss your plan with your doctor, but 800 mcg folate from your prenatal plus 800 mcg folate from a stand-alone supplement would seem reasonable.
Good prenatals containing L-methylfolate:
Add-on folate supplement:
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