Featuring Professor Roger Hart, City Fertility National Medical Director and FSWA Medical Director.
Embarking on the journey of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) can be a complex and emotionally charged experience for many women. As part of this process, numerous individuals turn to nutritional supplements to support their bodies through the demanding stages of treatment. Discovering a tailored and evidence-based approach to supplements and the potential benefits of a Mediterranean diet could be key in optimising IVF outcomes.
In this blog post, we explore a range of nutritional supplements with insights from Professor Roger Hart’s recently published systematic review titled “Nutritional supplements and IVF: an evidence-based approach”.
Understanding the benefits of popular supplements
Professor Hart’s systematic review, conducted in May 2023, scrutinized a spectrum of nutritional supplements commonly used during IVF treatment. From dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) to melatonin, co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), carnitine, selenium, Vitamin D, myo-inositol, Omega-3, Chinese herbs, and specific diets, the systematic review delved into the efficacy of each.
Melatonin, when started prior to IVF treatment, showed promise in improving outcomes, particularly for women anticipating poor results. However, the optimal dosing regime is unclear. Similarly, evidence suggested that omega-3 free-fatty acid supplementation may enhance clinical and embryological IVF outcomes. Alternatively, the role of Vitamin D supplementation in IVF treatments remains elusive, emphasizing the need for ongoing research to clarify its impact on fertility outcomes.
For individuals with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), there may be benefits to incorporating chorio-inositol into the supplement regimen, though, like melatonin, the optimal dosing remains uncertain.
The power of a Mediterranean diet
Among the variety of supplements, evidence suggests that a straightforward nutritional approach, such as adopting a Mediterranean diet, could hold the key to optimising IVF outcomes. This diet, rich in nuts, vegetable oils, vegetables, fruits, fish, and legumes with a low dairy intake, this dietary choice has shown associations with various fertility benefits. These include positive correlations with embryonic development, clinical pregnancy, and live birth rates, particularly in women under 35 years of age.
A tailored and evidence-based approach
As science continues to understand fertility treatments better, a tailored and evidence-based approach to nutritional supplements can be a valuable asset for those undergoing IVF. From the potential benefits of a Mediterranean diet to the targeted use of supplements like DHEA, CoQ10, melatonin, and omega-3 fatty acids, understanding the nuances of each option is crucial. While challenges and uncertainties persist, the continuous search for knowledge in this field brings hope to those on the path to parenthood through assisted reproductive technologies. Before proceeding with using supplements, we encourage you to discuss the potential benefits of your desired supplements with your fertility specialist.
As we navigate the world of IVF, the integration of nutritional strategies and evidence-based supplements offers hope for improved outcomes. With dedicated professionals like Professor Roger Hart at the forefront, the journey to parenthood through assisted reproductive technologies is guided by knowledge, compassion, and a commitment to uncovering the science behind success. In the evolving landscape of fertility science, staying informed about the latest findings is crucial. Click here to access the complete journal article published by Prof Roger Hart.
Professor Hart is currently ranked number one in female infertility research in Australia and number 8 in the world¹, placing him in the top 0.03% of published authors worldwide on the topic. He has published extensively in scientific literature in the field of infertility. He has more than 200 papers in the fields of infertility, IVF, PCOS, in vitro maturation of oocytes (IVM) and endometriosis.
¹The top-rated expert in Infertility, Female in Australia during the years 2013-2023.