What Are the Benefits of Vitamin E for Infertility?

Approximately 6.1 million people in the United States experience infertility, which is defined as trying to get pregnant for at least a year without success, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Infertility can occur for any number of reasons, but certain nutrients can increase your odds of conception. Vitamin E is one such nutrient.

A bowl of sunflower seeds sit on a white counter. (Image: smuay/iStock/Getty Images)

About Vitamin E

An antioxidant, vitamin E helps defend your cells from free radicals, which are substances that can damage your cells and leave you susceptible to certain health problems. The vitamin also plays a role in gene expression and cell signaling, which are crucial functions for getting pregnant and supporting a healthy pregnancy. Healthy adults need 15 milligrams of vitamin E each day to support these functions.

For Men

A vitamin E deficiency can interfere with normal reproductive functions in men, according to Salman Azhar's article "Alpha-Tocopherol and Male Fertility," published in "The Encyclopedia of Vitamin E." The deficiency can lead to testicular damage, which can inhibit normal hormonal secretion necessary for reproduction. Vitamin E might also play a role in sperm quality and motility. An increase in vitamin E and selenium at the same time might also improve sperm quality and motility, according to a 2011 article published in the "International Journal of General Medicine."

For Women

Increasing intake of vitamin E might prevent ovulation decline, one reason many older women have trouble getting pregnant, according to Michael Dooley, author of "Fit for Fertility." Taking vitamin E before undergoing fertility treatments might also boost the success rate of pregnancy. The vitamin plays a role in the formation and maintenance of the placenta, according to a 2012 article published in "Advances in Nutrition." A healthy placenta is essential for supporting a healthy pregnancy.

Increasing Your Intake of Vitamin E

If you're experiencing infertility, talk to your doctor about the potential benefits of increasing your vitamin E intake. Food sources include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, spinach, kiwi and mangoes. If you're worried that you don't get enough vitamin E from your diet alone, speak with your doctor. Don't take a supplement without getting his approval. Taking too much vitamin E in supplement form can cause hemorrhage and bleeding, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, and the upper limit for vitamin E is 1,000 milligrams per day for healthy adults. Too much vitamin E might also raise the risk of prostate cancer in men.

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