Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods and supplements. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant by protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. It is also important for good vision and the health of your brain, skin, and blood. While vitamin E has countless benefits, most people are not aware of how the substance affects the reproductive system. Taking vitamin E can help increase a couple’s odds of conceiving as it increases cervical mucus in women, allowing sperm to stay alive longer. It also enhances the efficiency of male reproductive systems. Vitamin E can also be advantageous for men and women who are undergoing fertility treatment.
Vitamin E and Male Infertility
Despite the misconception that fertility is a female problem, men too can experience infertility. In fact, infertility affects men and women equally. Male factors account for approximately 35 percent of infertility cases, while female factors account for another 35 percent. In 20 percent of cases, both male and female factors are to blame, and in 10 percent of cases, the cause of infertility is undetermined.
Some men may experience vitamin E deficiency due to genetics or certain health conditions like celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, or cholestatic liver disease. Vitamin E deficiencies in men can contribute to improper reproductive functions and testicular damage.
Low levels of vitamin E is also believed to play a role in poor sperm quality and mobility. According to a study published in the Arab Journal of Urology, antioxidants like vitamin E were found to have a significant positive effect on sperm count and function. Vitamin E has also been found to protect the sperm membrane from oxidative damage which is essential for good sperm health.
Vitamin E and Female Infertility
Many women struggle with infertility due to nutrition problems, poor physical health, or an array of other issues. In fact, between 10 and 20 percent of women trying to conceive will not fall pregnant within the first year of trying. Vitamin E can be found in the fluid around developing eggs. Deficiencies in vitamin E have been linked to poor fertility. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant which can promote good overall health.
Vitamin E also has other major benefits. The important vitamin has been shown to help prevent miscarriage in women who have a history of recurrent miscarriages. It also supports a healthy amniotic sac in pregnancy and prevents the premature rupture of the membranes in pregnancy.
In a study published in an issue of Fertility and Sterility, it was found that vitamin E supplements may aid in the increase of thickness of the endometrium. Endometrium, which refers to a woman’s uterine lining, can be thin for a number of reasons, such as low estrogen levels. When the uterine lining is less than 8 mm thick, it can reduce the likelihood of successful implantation. Results from the study showed that 52 percent of women who were given 600 mg a day of vitamin E had improved endometrial thickness.
Vitamin E and a Healthy Diet
Before you perform any major diet changes, talk to your doctor. Increasing your intake of vitamin E can be beneficial for your fertility and overall health, but you don’t want to overdo it. Ingesting too much vitamin E can have some negative side effects, such as abnormal bleeding and possible hemorrhaging.
If possible, try to get vitamin E through a healthy diet. Good sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, such as sunflower and soybean oils, as well as nuts like hazelnuts, peanuts, and almonds. Avocado, red sweet pepper, mango, kiwifruit, turnip greens, rainbow trout, lobster, and abalone are also good sources of vitamin E. If you are not able to get enough vitamin E through the foods you eat, a supplement may be helpful.
DISCLAIMER: All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and/or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional.