Infertility affects millions of couples worldwide, and the causes are often complex. However, environmental factors, including exposure to toxins and pollutants, are often significant contributors to male and female infertility. We’ll talk about how these toxins can affect your fertility and pregnancy, and what you can do about them.
The Impact of Toxins on Sperm and Egg Quality
Everyday products such as beauty, personal care, and cleaning products contain chemicals that have been linked to fertility issues and disorders.
|Chemical||Impact||Where You'll Find It|
|Exposure to phthalates has been linked to decreased sperm quality, reduced testosterone levels, and male infertility.||Plastics, fragrances, personal care items like soaps, shampoos, hair sprays and diapers|
|Associated with female infertility, menstrual irregularities, and hormonal imbalances.||Water bottles, canned foods, eyewear, plastic containers and utensils, toys|
|Affect both male and female fertility by disrupting hormone levels and damaging sperm and egg cells.||Pest control products|
|Exposure has been linked to reduced sperm quality and male infertility.||Some types of paints and water pipes, toys, jewelry|
Because of how common these chemicals are, it’s difficult and often impractical to cut them completely out of our lives. However, there are steps you can take to minimize their negative impacts.
What Can I Do?
Fortunately, there is some clinical evidence suggesting that the harmful effects of environmental toxins on sperm and egg quality can be reversed with the proper use of vitamins and supplements. These are some of the nutrients that studies have found to have the biggest positive impact on fertility outcomes.
Inositol for Female Fertility
Inositol is a fertility nutrient has been shown to reduce oxidative stress levels and improve egg quality in women. Clinical studies have demonstrated that Inositol supplementation improves oocyte quality and reduces oxidative stress levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)1 and in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments2,3.
Conception, a critical stage in the journey of parenthood, can be hindered by the presence of toxins. Inositol plays key protective roles during conception and early pregnancy such as:
- Improving fertility rates4. Inositol has been shown in clinical studies to improve fertility outcomes through increasing ovarian response rates and fertilization rates.
- Bolstering liver function5. The liver needs to be able to effectively eliminate toxins from the maternal bloodstream and protect the placenta, the vital link between mother and baby.
- Maintaining stable blood sugar levels. This helps mitigate the risk of gestational complications such as gestational diabetes6.
Selenium and Lycopene for Male Fertility
Selenium and Lycopene can improve sperm quality and motility and reduce oxidative stress levels in men78. Clinical studies have demonstrated that Selenium supplementation:
- Improves sperm motility
- Improves sperm morphology and concentration
- Reduces oxidative stress levels in men
Lycopene has also been shown to improve sperm quality and reduce oxidative stress levels in men by neutralizing free radicals. This protective action contributes to maintaining healthy sperm count, motility, and morphology9 by shielding cells from damage10.
Where Can I Find These Nutrients?
While these nutrients are naturally present in some foods, it can be difficult to consistently consume them in quantities that provide optimal fertility benefits.
- Inositol, for instance, is found in fruits, beans, and grains, but its content may vary significantly.
- Lycopene is primarily found in tomatoes and a few other fruits, making it challenging to consume adequate amounts.
- Selenium is present in foods like Brazil nuts, seafood, and meats, but their Selenium content can vary.
Nutritional supplements are a convenient and reliable solution to bridge nutrient gaps left by your diet. If you’re looking for fertility support, we recommend BabyRx’s Fertility Complete + (for women) as well as BabyRx' Men’s Fertility and Vitality supplements. They are all-natural vitamins that contain Inositol, Selenium, Lycopene, and other essential fertility nutrients.
As always, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
- Agha-Hosseini et al. (2018). The Effect of Inositol Supplementation on Oxidative Stress in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. PMID: 29249642.
- Rago et al. (2015). Myo-Inositol may improve oocyte quality in intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycles. A prospective, controlled, randomized trial. PMID: 25830965.
- Costantino et al. (2016). Effect of myo-Inositol and alpha-lipoic acid on oocyte quality in polycystic ovary syndrome non-obese women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a pilot study. PMID: 27054547.
- Mohammadi, S., Eini, F., Bazarganipour, F. et al. (2021). The effect of Myo-inositol on fertility rates in poor ovarian responder in women undergoing assisted reproductive technique: a randomized clinical trial. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 19, 61. PMID: 33892722.
- Geenes V et al. (2015). Inositol Supplementation in Women with Gestational Liver Disease: A Randomised Controlled Trial - IMPROvED Study. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. PMID: 26241420
- Matarrelli et al. (2013). Effect of Dietary Myo-Inositol Supplementation in Pregnancy on the Incidence of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology. PMID: 23327487
- Safarinejad (2011). Selenium and human semen quality. PMID: 21545273.
- Moslemi and Tavanbakhsh (2011). Selenium–vitamin E supplementation in infertile men: effects on semen parameters and pregnancy rate. PMID: 21699780.
- Goyal et al. (2014). Protective effect of Lycopene on oxidative stress and oxidative DNA damage in gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in rats. PMID: 24312609.
- Abad et al. (2014). Effects of Lycopene-enriched tomato paste on sperm quality and reproductive hormone levels in Friesian bulls. PMID: 24888768.