Note: this post is a supplement to: We made a (frozen) baby! (Part 3)
To improve our fertility in the lead up to freezing embryos, I took a bunch of prescription-only supplements for 60 days before and during our first IVF cycle.
The fertility doctor was able to retrieve 31 eggs which resulted in 12 successfully fertilised embryos from 1 cycle, which we were told is an abnormally high number for a 35.75 year old. Perhaps we were just lucky, or perhaps these supplements helped 🤷♀️.
The below supplements are for fertility purposes, but as Huberman mentioned, most things that boost fertility also boost mitochondrial function, energy and vitality.
Recommendations/ notes from the Huberman podcast:
(Any inaccuracies are my own)
- L-Carnitine — 1-3g per day for both egg and sperm quality. Take 30-60 days.
- Garlic extract (or Allicin) — 600mg per day to lower TMAO (TMAO can be raised by L-carnitine. Too high levels of TMAO can cause inflammation and heart problems.
- CoQ-10 — 100-400mg per day with meal, with fat. Ideally with dinner. Improves Egg and sperm quality and mitochondria.
- Myo-Inositol — 1-5g per day prior to sleep. Good for sleep, reduces anxiety, and improves egg and sperm quality. Improves insulin sensitivity. Makes you drowsy.
- Omega 3, EPA — 1g per day of EPA. (Note EPA content is important, not DHA)
- No alcohol or cannabis for 60-90 days before the IVF cycle. (Huberman recommended max 1-2 drinks per week, ideally none. No cannabis at all.)
Recommendations from our fertility doctor, Dr Lynn Burmeister:
- Melatonin, CoQ10 and Vitamin B3
- Pregnancy multivitamin — Dr Burmeister recommended any over-the-counter pregnancy supplement
Based on the above recommendations, I took the following supplements for 60 days before and during our first IVF cycle:
- BioCeuticals Acetyl-L-Carnitine — 3 caps per day (1g)
- MediHerb Garlic Forte — 2 per day (7.2g – I took much higher dose than recommended by Huberman for other purposes)
- Orthoplex Myo-Inositol (powder) — 3g per day
- Metagenics MetaPure EPA/DHA Fish Oil Omega-3 — 2 caps per day (1g EPA)
- Metagenics Pregnancy Care Advanced (pregnancy multivitamin) — 2 caps per day
- Fertility Boost by No1 Fertility — 1 cap per day (300mg CoQ-10 + 4mg melatonin + nicotinamide 100mg). This was prescribed by Dr Burmeister and made up by the pharmacy
I opted for high quality, practitioner-only supplements that you can only purchase with a prescription from an integrative GP, or naturopath (in Australia). I’ve been using Healthmasters for naturopathic supplements for many years, they’re great, very helpful.
You can also get a lot of these supplements cheaper over the counter and online (e.g. from iHerb), but it’s worth noting that over-the-counter options tend to be lower strength, and online/ overseas supplements are not always regulated, so they may not have been tested for quality and accuracy (i.e. they may not contain the dosage that they say they contain.)
Huberman also recommended the following supplements:
(I didn’t take these as they were harder to find and the list of supplements was getting hefty, and expensive!)
- D-Chiro Inositol — For females: 1/25-1/40th of the above myo-inositol dose. Balance androgens and offset PCOS (useful even if you don’t have PCOS).
- Tongkat Ali — 400 mg per day early in the day. Libido and hormone regulation. Increases testosterone. Gives energy. Benefits increase over time.
- Shilajit (Ayurvedic) — 250mg twice per day. Increase egg and sperm quality, and increase libido. Increases testosterone and FSH. Take pre-ovulation. Not after ovulation (want lower FSH in second half of cycle). May need to discuss this with IVF doctor as you’re already artificially stimulating FSH during an IVF cycle, so Shilajit may be more relevant for boosting fertility for natural conception purposes.
Additional note: Many fertility doctors recommend removing gluten and sugar from your diet if you are struggling to conceive. I’ve also been strictly gluten free for over a decade (as a coeliac), which may or may not also have contributed to our IVF success also.
I hope you found this blog series and supplement list helpful. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to get in touch here.
[Last updated 16th October 2023]