There is good scientific evidence that being low in some vitamins, especially vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid, can reduce fertility. For men, Vitamin E, and the minerals Zinc and Selenium are essential for sperm production and swimming ability.

To ensure that your body has good levels of the essential vitamins and minerals try and include the following in your diet:

  • plenty of fibre and low amounts of fat with plenty of complex carbohydrates (brown rice, wholewheat bread – not brown bread, which is dyed). Wholewheat and wheatgerm are good ways to increase vitamin B6 and folic acid levels in your body.
  • Cut down on the amount of animal protein (meats) and dairy products you eat every day and try and eat more vegetable protein. Soya protein, nuts and seeds are all excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, with Brazil nuts being the best source of the sperm-boosting mineral selenium.
  • Eat oily fish at least twice a week, or take a fish oils supplement daily. Both white fish and oily fish contain good amounts of Vitamin B12.
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day). Citrus fruits contain plenty of folic acid and bananas are a great source of vitamin B6.
  • Reduce your sugar and salt intake.
  • Drink plenty of water.

What about a multivitamin supplement?

We recommend everyone in our clinic takes a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement daily. This is because even though your diet might be healthy sometimes the soil in our environment is low in the essential minerals (especially zinc and selenium) meaning our diet cannot provide us with enough of these compounds. However be careful not to take excessive levels of any one mineral or vitamin– because more is not always better and the body can get a toxic build up.

How helpful are herbal treatments for getting pregnant?

There is no scientific evidence that herbs are helpful except in the case of Vitex agnus castus (chaste tree) which can reduce high prolactin levels and so may be effective in some types of fertility problems. Vitex agnus castus is in general a safe herb, causing only mild intestinal upsets and occasionally skin rashes, but please note – Vitex agnus castus should not be used in pregnancy, and it should not be used in combination with conventional fertility treatments, as it can cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF).