Vitamin E and Fertility: What You Need To Know

Tocopherol, the scientific name for vitamin E, means “to carry a pregnancy to term.” With a name like that, it just might be helpful for getting pregnant, so here’s what you need to know about vitamin E.

The primary role of vitamin E in the body is to protect the fatty acids in our cell membranes from oxidation. We don’t want these fatty acids to oxidize because they can’t perform their functions in an oxidized state and oxidized fats create inflammation and damage the rest of the cell. That is not what you need when trying to get pregnant. You want your cells to function at their peak. Vitamin E is important for both men and women when it comes to fertility.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin so it needs to be consumed with a meal containing fat if you want to absorb it. There are three types of fat; saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Any of these fats will aid the absorption of vitamin E, but the polyunsaturated fats require more vitamin E to protect against oxidation. This is because polyunsaturated fats oxidize very easily. These fats are found in corn, cottonseed, canola, soy, sunflower, safflower (non high oleic), and grapeseed oils. Fortunately, most of these oils contain vitamin E, but it is best to get polyunsaturated fats from foods rather than oils.

If you have been consuming a lot of polyunsaturated oils, your need for vitamin E will be higher and remain high for several years after stopping the oils. The polyunsaturated oils are relatively new on the scene (about 100 years old) and we experienced increasing rates of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases while increasing polyunsaturated fats in the diet. So, even though they can be a good source of vitamin E, most of that E is going to go towards protecting the oil and will not be of much use to your cells. We only need small amounts of polyunsaturated fats which we can get from fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.

Vitamin E comes in eight forms; four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Red palm oil contains all eight forms. Wheat germ oil is also a good source of vitamin E. Grass fed meat contains more vitamin E than grain fed meats. If you get a supplement, look for one with both tocopherols and tocotrienols like Jarrow Formulas Toco-Sorb or NOW Foods Gamma-E.

To boost your vitamin E:

  1. Avoid corn, cottonseed, canola, soy, sunflower, safflower, and grapeseed oils.
  2. Include red palm oil in your diet. You can use it for stir frying or in soups and sauces or eat a teaspoon straight. Just be careful because it can stain and make sure it is cruelty free and sustainably made.
  3. Choose grass fed meat over grain fed.
  4. Get adequate vitamin C; it regenerates vitamin E.
  5. Take a supplement with all eight forms if needed. You may need a supplement if you have digestive issues, a high polyunsaturated fat intake, or if you have been trying to conceive for over 6 months.

If you’d like some help getting pregnant, you can schedule a complimentary consultation with me below!