Things that are Supplements/Medications Taken Before IVF Cycle
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After meeting with our RE mid November, he was concerned about my egg quality and egg reserve and he wanted to make sure I had the best chance of having the best eggs for our upcoming IVF cycle in January. Even if I was getting the proper nutrition daily, he felt that I needed to add supplements to increase my chances. He gave me a list of the supplements he wanted me to start taking, and the majority of these I take 3x a day.
I started taking all of these supplements 30 days before I started our IVF cycle and I seemed to be feeling fine. But then a week or two into taking the supplements, I felt super sick and my stomach hurt. I was able to pin point that it was at night that I was feeling sick, a few hours after I had taken my dinner pills. After a week or two of feeling sick, I broke down in tears, because I was so sick of not feeling myself, and feeling gross all day every day. I finally figured out (with the help of the nurses at my RE’s office) that it was the Co-Q10. It amazed me that I’m fine taking it in the morning, but at night it was making me pretty sick and I would end up sleeping with a heating pad on my stomach, just to try and relieve some of the discomfort. I also switched my diet to something more basic and that seemed to help.
This is a breakdown of what each supplement is supposed to help do in a female’s body. The majority of these supplements help with egg quality, and a few can help with men who could use a few added supplements for their sperm quality and count.
**Just a reminder that if a man/woman changes their diet or adds in supplements it takes up to 3 months for it to show up on an SA or for it to start helping egg quality.**
Myo-Insitol 750mg – It’s a substance from the B complex family and acts as an insulin-sensitizing agent (promotes proper use of insulin in the body) which is supposed to help healthy ovarian function, egg quality and menstrual cycle regularity. This is a supplement that is to be taken 3x a day (says so on the bottle). I found a study that suggested taking this over a period of time (the study was 14 weeks) had an increase on ovarian function for those that have polycystic ovaries.
I found another good article that suggests taking this supplement will have benefit for those that suffer from PCOS.
Co-Q10 400mg – It’s a nutrient that supports heart function and promotes energy production in cells (ATP synthesis), and also functions as an antioxidant. It has been shown to improve egg quality, and sperm health, by getting rid of the free radicals found in our body. This article talks about Ubiquinol (which is a form of Co-Q10) and how it can improve overall chances of getting pregnant.
L-Arginine 1000mg – An amino acid that helps with the synthesis of proteins, the production of creatine phosphate (needed to produce ATP) and the synthesis of nitric oxide (secondary messenger involved in blood flow).
One article suggests that this amino acid can help with blood flow to the reproductive organs, and with increased nitric oxide levels that is supposed to help with inflammation which can interfere with implantation. It can also help increase sperm production.
DHA 1000mg – Stands for docosahexaenoic acid, and is also known as an Omega-3 fatty acid. It is beneficial for neurological health, and is found in some prenatal vitamins. In conjunction with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid, and is beneficial for mood and behavior), there seems to be greater health benefits shown when used together. An article I read said that DHA can help with hormone regulation and overall sperm health, and it’s also beneficial for during pregnancy too.
Vitamin E 400 IU – Acts as an antioxidant, as well as promotes a healthy immune system, brain function, and having healthy skin. This article suggests that Vitamin E can help men with sperm mobility, and quality, while it can help women increase overall health of the eggs.
Vitamin C 500 mg – Is an antioxidant that helps support the immune system, it is involved in collagen formation (joint health), it can also be beneficial for cardiovascular function and health.
It has been shown to help with hormone regulation, and overall sperm health. It also plays an important roll in regulating menstrual cycles. “High levels of ascorbic acid present in the ovaries may be responsible for collagen synthesis, which is required for follicle and corpus luteum growth, as well as repair of the ovary post-ovulation.” In other words it is very beneficial to egg quality.
DHEA 25 mg – Stands for dehydroepiandrosterone (say that 5x fast!), the -one at the end stands for a ketone, and ketones are the chemical make up of hormones. I found an article that explains that DHEA is an androgen hormone that gets converted to testosterone in a females body. It is essential in the female body and helps with the development and production of healthy eggs. With couples going through IVF, DHEA helps with women who have diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). It has also been noted that this is one of those supplements that should be used while working with your RE, since this hormone could cause more hormonal imbalances in a women’s body if you aren’t careful.
Vitamin D 1000 IU – Is known as the “sunshine vitamin,” you can get this vitamin through the sun, and it is a fat soluble vitamin. It is known to help support strong bones, and also dental health. It is also used in our bodies to regulate cell growth, and create much needed sex hormones. Those that have a deficiency in vitamin D could potentially have PMS, PCOS, and infertility. There is an article that showed a study at Yale on infertile women, and said that those that had PCOS had a deficiency. From what the study said, it looks like the majority of women have a deficiency in vitamin D. They also made sure to say that if you do take a supplement to make sure it is vitamin D-3, due to most supplements not having enough vitamin D in the actual supplement.
Maca Root 525mg – Unlike all the other supplements I have mentioned this one is an actual herb. Maca is used for energy and stamina, it also helps with the endocrine system. It is known to help with hormones (progesterone, and estrogen), but does not contain any hormones itself. Because it is known to help with energy and stamina, it is best to take this herb before 3pm so it does not interfere with your sleep schedule. Maca has been shown to help both men and women.
Dexamethasone 0.5 mg – Is a steroid that is supposed to help with ovarian response, and it is said that when used with stimulating drugs, your ovaries are more receptive. There isn’t a lot of research stating whether it is good or bad on your ovaries during IVF. But there were some negative things mentioned using Dex with the early signs of pregnancy to help prevent miscarriage. I wish I could find more research on more of the benefits, but no luck.
Disclaimer: These medications are supposed to help with fertility related issues. Please talk to your Reproductive Endocrinologist/doctor about any/all listed above before starting to take any of these supplements.
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