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NUTRITION

Vitamin B12 and Fertility*

Will Vitamin B12 Help You Get Pregnant?

 

Introduction

When trying to conceive, there are a lot of variables involved. However, the better you treat your body, the more likely it is that you’ll get pregnant. While an active lifestyle and low-stress levels are important, optimal nutrition is imperative. Studies have revealed a clear connection between diet and fertility, suggesting that couples trying to become pregnant should be mindful of folic acid, vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and other key nutrients in order to avoid deficiency.1

While studying B12 specifically, researchers have found that low levels can impact the fertility of both men and women. Considering approximately 15 percent of the American population is vitamin B12 deficient,2 with some estimates being as high as nearly 40 percent,3 this is not a vitamin you want to ignore.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Fertility

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that supports brain and nervous system function, the metabolism of your body’s cells, the production of genetic components in the egg and sperm, sperm count, and so much more.

When levels become deficient, you may notice that you feel weak, tired, and lack the ability to concentrate. Other symptoms are not overly obvious, including anemia and infertility.

Vitamin B12 Male Fertility

It takes two to conceive, which is why researchers continue to explore the role that men play in terms of fertility. While focusing on B12, it’s been found that a deficiency may lead to the following issues:

 

  • Low motility of sperm
  • Loss of libido
  • Low sperm count
  • DNA damage in sperm
  • Premature ejaculation

Vitamin B12 Female Fertility

Although it is possible, if a woman is trying to conceive with a B12 deficiency, chances are she will experience some level of difficulty. Sadly, even if a woman does become pregnant, a lack of vitamin B12 can lead to pregnancy complications, including low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, and neural tube defects.4

If you are currently struggling to conceive and a lack of B12 is a concern, this is how a deficiency can interfere with your reproductive health:

 

  • Cause abnormal ovulation
  •  Disrupt normal cell division
  • Impair egg development
  • Cause implantation difficulty and complications

Does B12 Make You Fertile?

As discussed above, a B12 deficiency can significantly impair your reproductive health, but can an increased intake boost your ability to get pregnant?

In addition to supporting regular reproductive health, research shows that higher levels of B12, as well as folate, may enhance fertility in women who are undergoing infertility treatment.5

How Much B12 for Fertility?

It is recommended that people over the age of 14 consume approximately 2.4 mg of vitamin B12 daily. However, if you are aiming to become pregnant, you should aim for slightly higher levels than the general population. Therefore, the recommended daily intake for a woman trying to conceive is closer to 2.6 mg.

While vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products, including seafood, meats, dairy products, and eggs, it can also be found in processed foods like nondairy milk and cereal. If you do not believe that you’re getting enough vitamin B12 through dietary sources alone, you need to explore the benefits of a dietary supplement, which is a particularly good choice if you are naturally at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

For example, if you consume a vegetarian or vegan diet, have a gastrointestinal condition like Crohn’s, or have a known genetic mutation (i.e. CBS or MTRR), you should consider supplementation. In one review, a total of 40 studies on vitamin B12 in vegetarians showed that up to 86.5 percent of vegetarian adults had low levels of vitamin B12.6

Protect Your Reproductive Health to Boost Your Chances of Becoming Pregnant

If you are deficient in vitamin B12, it’s important that you ensure your needs are being met in regards to other B complex vitamins as well, including vitamin B6 and folate. By addressing your current diet and participating in a more active lifestyle, you will also be able to achieve a healthy weight. Research shows that both men and women whose BMI is in either the overweight or obese category have a much harder time getting pregnant.7 

Stress is another key variable to consider. In one study, women whose saliva had high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that indicates stress, took 29 percent longer to get pregnant compared to those who had normal levels of this enzyme. 

The takeaway here is to never underestimate the small steps you take towards optimal reproductive health. Although reproduction is a complex process with many confounding variables, addressing your dietary needs and overall lifestyle is an ideal place to start.

If you are trying to increase your intake of vitamin B12, in addition to other B complex vitamins, Impry can support your efforts. To learn more, here’s how you can actively work to improve your reproductive health today!

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