Fertility supplements: do they work?

Posted on 22 November 2018

The most important way of ensuring your body has what it needs to successfully conceive and to make a baby is to ensure your diet and lifestyle is healthy, dominated by fresh food rich in natural nutrients and antioxidents.

There is definitely a place for specific fertility supplements but not all have proven benefits.

Here is what we know:


Having adequate levels of folic acid absorption reduces your risk of having a miscarriage or a baby with a spinal cord defect (commonly known as spina bifeda).  500mcg daily is recommended from 1 month prior to planned conception.


Iodine is an essential building block for thyroid hormone, the great metabolic regulator. I often prescribe an iodine supplement in fertility and pregnancy to support normal thyroid function at a dose of 150mcg daily.


DHEA is an androgen hormone, made by the adrenal gland. DHEA levels decline across our reproductive lifetime and are at a peak in our early 20’s. There has been some evidence that using DHEA in the lead-up to IVF treatment can improve the number of oocytes (eggs) collected in an IVF treatment. The side effect profile is acceptable and use is safe using a dose of 25 to 75mg per day.

Anti-oxidant therapies 

Anti-oxidant therapies are used in many areas of medicine. Their aim is to equip cells with the ability to mop up free radicals and minimise cell damage from the processes of metabolism. Antioxidant therapies are thought to be beneficial to sperm function and may improve male fertility. Likewise, ensuring optimal nutrition for the female may reduce older oocyte’s (eggs) risk of making dire mistakes. Examples of recommended antioxidant therapies include Vitamin C, Co Q10 and Nicotinamide.


Melatonin is a pineal hormone that regulates our body’s circadian rhythms. Melatonin has also been shown to have unique anti-oxidant capabilities. Some clinical studies suggest that melatonin supplementation in IVF may lead to better pregnancy rates. Melatonin has the added benefit of giving you a great night’s sleep!


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