UK Supplement Buying Guide

Many readers in the UK have reported difficulty finding good quality brands for the supplements discussed in the book.  In some cases, it is because the supplements are not available over the counter in the U.K (i.e. DHEA and melatonin). I’ll provide some advice and options for these below, along with recommended brands for the other types of supplements that are more readily available.

*Remember that not all supplements are right for all situations- see the detailed discussion of each supplement in the book, It Starts with the Egg (2nd Edition).

Recommended Prenatals

As discussed in the book and in this post, most prenatals contain synthetic folic acid, which is more difficult to absorb and convert to the active form, particularly for those with MTHFR gene variants.  It is better to either find a prenatal with methylfolate, or combine a standard multivitamin with a separate methylfolate supplement.

In the U.K, one prenatal option that contains active methylfolate is Naturelo.  Other brands include Zita West and Seeking Health, although these are fairly expensive.

An alternate strategy is to combine a standard multivitamin or prenatal with a separate methylfolate supplement. If doing so, it may be better to avoid multivitamins that contain a high dose of folic acid, because there is a possibility that this in fact inhibits the use of active folate (although this is a controversial point and may only matter for those with certain MTHFR variants).

Good-quality  multivitamins with natural folate/methylfolate include:

Although these multivitamins all contain preferred forms of folate, they do not contain quite enough, so you would still need to add on a separate methylfolate supplement as discussed below)

The most budget-friendly option would be to choose a low-cost multivitamin to combine with a separate methylfolate supplement. Typically the major difference between prenatals and multivitamins is the dose of folic acid, so if you are  choosing a budget brand with synthetic folic acid, the lower dose found in a multivitamin may actually be better than a product marketed as a prenatal.

Methylfolate Supplements

For most people, the total dose of methylfolate to aim for while trying to conceive is 800 to 1000 mcg per day.  (Some experts suggest an even higher dose for those with double C677T mutations – although the jury is still out on whether this is necessary).

To reach the optimal dose of methylfolate in combination with the multivitamins discussed above, you would typically add on 400 mcg per day, which is fortunately the typical dose found in standalone supplements. Recommended brands of methylfolate available in the U.K. include:

Recommended Brands for Other Egg Quality Supplements

  •  CoQ10/ Ubiquinol

  • Alpha-lipoic acid

    • Alpha lipoic acid supplements come in two forms:   R-alpha lipoic acid (which contains just the active form) and standard alpha lipoic acid (a 50-50 combination of R- and S-alpha lipoic acid).
    • In the U.K., most supplements are the combination form, so you would need to take 400- 600 mg per day, rather than the 200-300 mg recommended for pure R-alpha lipoic acid).
    • Recommended brands include:
  • Vitamin E

  • Vitamin C

    • Solgar Ester-C 500 mg
    • Ester-C supplements may be better absorbed than standard vitamin C, but other forms are also acceptable.
  •  N-acetylcysteine

  • Myo-Inositol

  •  Melatonin

    • Melatonin is not available without prescription in the U.K.  Your doctor may be inclined to prescribe it to help with sleep. Another  option is to purchase a juice or supplement made from Montmorency Tart Cherries, a natural source of melatonin.
    • Finally, some have reported success ordering from overseas from a store such as iherb or Biovea.
  •  DHEA

    •  DHEA is a hormone precursor, so it theoretically is only available by prescription in the U.K.  Many doctors are reluctant to prescribe DHEA because they are not familiar with the evidence supporting its use. You may want to print out my summary of studies here to show your doctor.
    • Even though DHEA is supposed to require a prescription in the U.K, it can still be purchased online from various stores.  (e.g. here or Biovea). Life Extension is a good brand.
    • As discussed in the book, it is important to test your DHEA-S and testosterone levels before and while supplementing with DHEA, to ensure you are taking the dose needed to keep your levels at the top of the normal range for young women.

A small favor to ask:  I would be so grateful if you could post a brief review of the book on Amazon when you get a chance, because that will really help me reach more people in the U.K. with this important information. Just head to the book’s page on Amazon.co.uk, scroll down and click “Write a Review.”    Thank you!!  

– Rebecca  

 

 


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