Tree of Health Integrative Medicine, PLLC

The Fertility-Nutrient Connection

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By Dr. Elizabeth Orth

The phase “eating for two” is commonly used in society once a woman is already pregnant. However, if you think about it, eating nutrients for two should start before getting pregnant since the body uses preexisting nutrients to make a baby. In fact, nutrient deficiencies have been linked to difficulty getting pregnant. One such nutrient is the mineral called magnesium.

Magnesium is found in higher amounts in leafy greens (especially spinach and swiss chard), seeds (especially pumpkin and sesame), beans, quinoa and barley. Magnesium has multiple general roles in the body including muscle function, energy production, bone density maintenance, and nerve function. What many people are unaware of is that there are also many additional functions for magnesium that are related to reproductive health. These functions include involvement in making hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, and increasing the blood supply to the uterus.

A small study in London (1), showed that women who had a low level of magnesium in their blood cells, were able to get pregnant within 8 months after their magnesium levels got into the normal range! One interesting thing about this study is that half of the women were able to raise their magnesium level by taking magnesium alone, while the other half had to take magnesium in combination with selenium before their magnesium level would rise.  Unfortunately, many prenatal vitamins do not contain the amount of magnesium and/or selenium needed as used in the London study. 

Due to the extensive roles of magnesium in the health of mom and the development of baby, this important nutrient should have an essential place in reproductive health and fertility management.

Resources:

(1) Howard, J.M., Davies, S., & Hunnisett, A. (1994). Red cell magnesium and glutathione peroxidase in infertile women–effects of oral supplementation with magnesium and selenium. Magnesium Research, 7 (1), 49-57.

 

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