- 1. Vitamin D – Vitamin D is of crucial importance, not only for your health but for your future baby’s health too. Vitamin D is needed for a variety of reasons. Vitamin D is important for immune system health & it’s also needed for calcium absorption for both mom as well as baby. Inadequate vitamin D levels have been associated with implantation failure. Research shows that having adequate vitamin D levels not only improves your chance of pregnancy, it also improves your chances of live birth. Unfortunately on the flip side, poor vitamin D levels are associated with early pregnancy loss. In men, adequate vitamin D levels are associated with increased sperm motility which as we know is needed to help the sperm reach & fertilize the egg.
2. Folate – Folate is very well-known for its role in preventing birth defects. But you may not know that folate is also essential for egg development, healthy ovulation and proper DNA replication for baby’s development. Without sufficient folate, research has shown an increased risk of early miscarriage. One older study showed that low folate is associated with a nearly 50% increased risk of miscarriage. There’s also another way that folate can indirectly impact miscarriage rates. Around 40% of the population has an MTHFR genetic mutation that impairs the body’s ability to utilize synthetic folic acid, commonly found in prenatals & supplements. This is why it’s so important to find a prenatal, like WeNatal, that provides methylfolate – this is the active form that can be easily used by the body, regardless of whether you have an MTHFR genetic mutation or not. Without adequate methylfolate, homocysteine can actually build up in the blood. High levels of homocysteine have unfortunately also been linked to recurrent miscarriages.
3. Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 is needed for forming red blood cells, which is needed to impact the health of the fetus. It is also needed to help support the development of your baby’s brain & nervous system while pregnant. Because B6 is involved in regulating energy, a lack of vitamin B6 has been associated with increased pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and vomiting while pregnant. When it comes to fertility, Vitamin B6 supports progesterone levels which helps to support the uterine lining for implantation. It’s easy to see the importance of Vitamin B6. When it comes to miscarriage specifically, Vitamin B6 deficiency has been associated with miscarriage in the research. One study showed that poor vitamin B6 levels were associated with early pregnancy loss as well as a decreased chance of conception. Inadequate B6 levels can negatively influence homocysteine levels and as previously mentioned, high levels of homocysteine are linked to recurrent miscarriages. For men, vitamin B6 is also thought to play an important role as well — a more recent study showed that men with poor sperm motility had decreased vitamin B6 levels when compared to men with normal sperm motility.
4. Vitamin B12 – Just like folate, vitamin B12 is important for preventing neural tube defects. It’s not only essential for mom’s nervous system health, but it’s also necessary for the fetus’ nervous system development while helping to make DNA (your baby’s genetic material). There are two studies (although small) that I want to note when it comes to vitamin B12. In one, B12 levels were lower in women who experienced recurrent miscarriages when compared to controls. In the second study, vitamin B12 supplementation in women who had a deficiency led to a successful pregnancy in 80% of participants. Vitamin B12 is believed to also have an indirect role in miscarriage risk. B12 and folate work closely together – adequate B12 levels along with adequate folate levels can help reduce an amino acid called homocysteine to healthy levels. Low B12 levels when paired with high homocysteine levels has been found to increase the miscarriage risk. For men, adequate vitamin B12 have been associated with decreased DNA damage, increased sperm quality, sperm motility and sperm count.
- 5. Vitamin E – Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to fight free radicals in the body and helps to inhibit oxidative stress which can be helpful for female fertility, male fertility and pregnancy. Progesterone production is actually dependent on fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D and vitamin E. With a deficiency in either, the expression of enzymes needed for producing progesterone are negatively impacted. With that, low vitamin E levels is thought to be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. For males, sperm are heavily influenced by oxidative stress. Because vitamin E can lessen free radicals and oxidative damage as previously mentioned, adequate vitamin E levels can support sperm quality and help prevent changes to sperm cell membranes. Studies have also shown that vitamin E is linked to improved sperm motility.
- 6. Zinc – Zinc plays a lot of different roles in the body; however, I want to mention a couple of important roles as it relates to fertility. To start, zinc supports the thyroid by helping to convert inactive T4 to active T3 while zinc is also needed to regulate B6 metabolism. In the research, zinc deficiency has been linked to increased risk for pregnancy loss & poor birth outcomes. Zinc deficiency can negatively impact hormone production, maternal immune function, and quality of the ovum. Not only do low zinc levels in early pregnancy appear to be linked with miscarriage, mothers experiencing threatened miscarriages had 35.7% lower zinc levels when compared to healthy pregnant women. For men, zinc has a role in the formation of sperm, sperm motility, and it can help decrease oxidative stress, thus helping to maintain sperm viability. Zinc levels in semen have also been positively correlated with sperm morphology and sperm count.
While it’s hard to say if deficiency of certain nutrients can cause miscarriage, it’s evident that they are a significant part of the picture and if optimal, they can certainly decrease your chances of miscarriage. Nutrients that can help to decrease your risk for miscarriage don’t just stop at those 6 key nutrients listed above – some others to consider would be selenium, choline, vitamin B3, CoQ10, vitamin C, copper, iron, iodine, magnesium, and omega-3’s.
Because our vitamin and mineral stores are so crucial to both female and male fertility, I always recommend a high-quality prenatal vitamin where the nutrients are bioavailable (meaning, your body can actually utilize the nutrients) – that’s exactly where WeNatal shines. As a women’s health practitioner, I trust the quality and micronutrient forms that are in WeNatal as the perfect foundation to both female & male fertility.
With my first pregnancy (that unfortunately ended with a miscarriage) I do remember feeling nauseous like many women in the first trimester. The fact that WeNatal can fit all of these bioavailable nutrients into only three capsules can help you feel more at ease; not only are you giving your body what it needs to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby, you’re also not having to take so many pills while not feeling your best. What that means to you is that you’ll have that peace of mind in addition to feeling more confident in your health and pregnancy overall.
Miscarriages are heartbreaking, but it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault. Do what you can to remain hopeful and despite going through everything you’ve likely been through, continue to find that trust in your body again. If you feel like you could use personalized support in optimizing your fertility and/or decreasing your risk for miscarriage, Healthfully Nourished can take the guesswork out & help you feel confident in knowing exactly what to do to optimize your health and reach your fertility goals.