The Importance of Vitamin B8 for Fertility
If you are trying to conceive or have recently received a positive pregnancy test, you are likely doing everything you can to ensure that your body is healthy for this pregnancy. Vitamin B8, otherwise referred to as Myo-Inositol, is often touted as one of the most important supplements to take as a newly pregnant woman or as a woman who is actively trying to conceive aside from folic acid.
Vitamin B8, or Myo-Inositol, is largely encouraged in normal doses for women who are pregnant but in higher doses for women who may have a reproductive condition known as a polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or who have metabolic syndrome risk factors, mental health-related issues, or to reduce the chances of getting diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes).
As a supplement on its own, vitamin Bs are often recommended for maintaining optimal health and well-being. From improved energy levels to better brain function, cell health, and cell metabolism, vitamin B8 can improve a lot of your body’s internal functions.
Vitamin B8 and Fertility
Vitamin B8 is also known as Myo-Inositol and is something that is produced naturally in the body after eating certain foods, but it can also be ingested supplementally.
Along with the other B vitamins, vitamin B8 is not a necessary supplement to take as the body usually gets enough of it in a healthy diet. However, sometimes supplementation is required to improve physiological processes.
B8 in particular improves normal physiological processes like insulin signalling, nerve functioning, and metabolizing fat. So in these ways, this vitamin, which is naturally found in many common foods, is a normal part of our daily lives.
While taking a vitamin B8 supplement is not necessary for daily function, a lack of Myo-Inositol production in the body can disrupt ovarian cycles in women and impede fertility, which is why Myo-Inositol is encouraged in order to boost fertility.
Vitamin B8 is not a perinatal supplement, like folic acid, which is a required (if not, strongly recommended) supplement for pregnant women as it aids in the fetus’s brain, heart, and spinal cord development. Rather, vitamin B8 supports the physiological function in the body to better prepare for pregnancy and to regulate reproductive processes.
Ovarian Cycles and Fertility
Much of the research supporting vitamin B8 for fertility lies in studies of women with PCOS. When taking Myo-Inositol, women are able to directly target their reproductive cells, encouraging their cycle to get “back on track”. This vitamin reduces the rate and acceptability of androgens, so their body is reacting to fewer androgens and allowing their normal menstrual and ovarian cycles to carry on in a manner that is more expected in female bodies.
Without this regulation, more androgens would be produced and the body would then delay the ovarian cycles, limiting the number of ova, or eggs, released every month to only a few, if any at all, and extending the ovarian cycle over a few months.
A woman’s ovarian and menstrual cycles overlap and both occur monthly. Therefore, when you think about the regularity of your period, you can recognize the regularity (or irregularity) of your cycles. If you have a period every month (or approximately 21-35 days), then this means that your body produced an egg, released it, and because it wasn’t fertilized, the inner lining of your uterus is shed. This shedding (bleeding) is to prepare your womb to make another egg and complete the process all over again.
If this isn’t happening with regularity, it does not indicate that the body is not producing eggs. In fact, women with PCOS often overproduce eggs and don’t end up releasing them. Instead, they are stored in the ovaries and become cysts. These eggs aren’t able to be fertilized.
There are times during the PCOS ovarian cycle that an egg can be fertilized, but with elongated times between periods, it is nearly impossible to identify those times to take advantage of the fertile window.
Benefits of Vitamin B8 or Myo-Inositol for Fertility
While PCOS is not always problematic, it can disrupt the fertility cycle. It can also affect insulin sensitivity and is related to increased weight gain, which both can be a factor in fertility.
Vitamin B8 is known to improve ovarian function and therefore improve fertility (see also this and this). In one study, the researchers found that Myo-Inositol happened to improve pregnancy rate by 20% when simply studying its effects on PCOS and insulin resistance. It will also regulate menstrual cycle regularity, pregnancy, and ovulation.
If you do not have PCOS or known insulin resistance, and you are still experiencing signs of infertility, taking a vitamin B8 or Myo-Inositol supplement might help to regulate irregular fertility cycles, normalize insulin sensitivity and control weight.
Vitamin B8 or Myo-Inositol can also benefit fertility rates if the current infertility is affected by weight gain, insulin resistance, depressive moods, or if the body is at risk for gestational diabetes as it can positively impact each of these symptoms or risks.
Therefore, taking vitamin B8 or Myo-Inositol as a supplement to improve your chances of fertility is a benefit even when you aren’t sure that you need it for an improved ovarian cycle. At the least, it can help to create an optimal environment for getting pregnant.
Natural Ways of Taking Vitamin B8 or Myo-Inositol
Vitamin B8 or Myo-Inositol for fertility is taken at a dose of around 2-4 g per day. When sourcing ways of taking vitamin B8 or Myo-Inositol there are certain things that you need to know.
Search for a supplement that lists Myo-Inositol on the label. Vitamin B8 sometimes also refers to another B vitamin that is not Myo-Inositol, AMP (adenosine monophosphate). B8 is not Biotin, which is vitamin B7. The vitamin B complex will not usually have the right type of vitamin B8. It is safest to source a natural vitamin supplement with clearly marked labels so that you know you are getting the supplement that you need.
Additionally, some Myo-Inositol products might contain another derivative called D-chiro-inositol. D-chiro-inositol will not affect fertility since it is not designed to target reproductive cells and will only affect insulin resistance; however, prescribed Myo-Inositol might contain a small amount of D-chiro-inositol if it is designed to improve other conditional aspects.
While the supplements mentioned (outside from any prescribed supplements) above won’t harm your chances at fertility, they won’t provide targeted help and would be a waste of time and money. So be sure to choose wisely.
Getting the recommended dosage of Myo-Inositol can also be extremely hard to do when taking the supplement in pill form, as the pill may only contain 200 – 500 mg and you are looking for 2-4 grams. So you want to take 2,000 to 4,000 milligrams or 2-4 grams a day for Myo-Inositol to be effective, and you will be hard-pressed to get this through pill form or by ingesting it through foods. Instead, source a powder supplement.
As mentioned, you can ingest Myo-Inositol through everyday food items. If you want, consider munching on oranges, dried prunes, grapefruit, bran flakes, navy beans, stone-ground wheat, and great northern beans, if they are available in your area.
Why Vitamin B8 is Necessary for Fertility
If you are trying to get pregnant, consider taking vitamin B8 as a way of regulating your body’s natural processes. If you have not been tested or diagnosed with any conditions, such as PCOS or metabolic disruptions like insulin resistance, then know that it is still completely safe to take Myo-Inositol to better improve ovarian cycle, fertility, and insulin resistance.
Fertility issues might crop up if your weight is off or a potential underlying issue that you weren’t aware of before. This does not indicate that your body has a condition.
If you are already pregnant, consider Myo-Inositol to improve metabolic health, especially if you have experienced any type of fertility issue.
The body goes through a myriad of hormonal changes as you age, as you try to get pregnant, and as you adjust to a pregnancy. Therefore, taking a vitamin B8 supplement might balance out metabolic regulation, reduce metabolic rate, and regulate the ovarian cycle in a way that makes fertility much more improved and possible!
Consider vitamin B8 or Myo-Inositol as a natural fertility supplement!
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