Folate - Protects genes during rapid cell division which increases likelihood of a healthy embryo (via methylation of DNA); Deficiency raises homocysteine which damages reproductive cells.
Vitamin B6 & B12 - Both are needed to convert toxic homocysteine to a benign form; Low homocysteine levels linked to a better chance of pregnancy.
Vitamin C - Increases serum progesterone levels; Induces ovulation in some women; Enhances effect of the fertility drug clomiphene.
Vitamin D - Higher levels linked to better success rates of IVF (in vitro fertilization); Influences production of the sex hormones estradiol and progesterone.
Vitamin E - Protects reproductive cells (follicles); May improve endometrial response (ability of fertilized egg to implant into uterine wall properly) during IVF.
Selenium - Deficiency implicated in miscarriage and infertility; In one trial, 100% of infertile women achieved pregnancy after supplemenation.
Glutathione - Protects eggs (fertilized or not) from damage by reactive oxygen species; Protective action of follicle stimulating hormone on embryonic development is due largely to glutathione synthesis.
Cysteine - N-acetyl cysteine can improve ovulation and pregnancy rates in women with infertility due to PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) that do not respond to fertility drugs; Improves viability of endometrial cells in vitro; Precurso to glutathione.
Antioxidant Status - Reproductive cells, including embryos, are very susceptible to damage from oxidative stress due to the rapid rate of growth; Low antioxidant status can cause infertility or miscarriage.
Minerals - Several enzymes needed to protect a woman's reproductive organs (such as superoxide dismutase) are dependent on the trace elements, zinc, copper and magnesium.