In my last article I talked about the benefits of CoQ10 supplements on fertility. Another beneficial supplement to increase your fertility is live probiotics. I don’t recommend supplementation in women who have been trying to conceive for less than 3 months. However, after 3 months I would consider adding a best probiotic. Probiotics are a safe way to naturally increase your fertility.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria. You can find natural probiotics in foods, such as yogurt, or in probiotic supplements. These are the bacteria that normally live in your body. Good bacteria create a competitive environment to keep out the bad bacteria. When bad bacteria enter the body, the good bacteria prevent them from growing and multiplying.
In your vagina, the prominent bacteria is lactobacillus. Antibiotics can decrease your good bacteria and provide an opportunity for bad bacteria to grow. It is always a good idea to take probiotics when you are on a course of antibiotics.
How Do Probiotics Affect Fertility?
It is possible that the presence of bad bacteria in your vagina is preventing you from becoming pregnant. The bad bacteria can attack the sperm. This causes the sperm to clump together. Clumping is referred to as agglutination and prevents the sperm from fertilizing an egg.
Probiotics can help restore the good bacteria. This would prevent the bad bacteria from growing and allow the sperm to function properly. This in turn would result in pregnancy.
The studies on the effect of probiotics are new. One study from 2015 introduced bad bacteria into mice and found fertility decreased. When researchers gave these same mice probiotics the fertility returned to normal. This supports the benefit of probiotics on fertility.
Another clinical review found that the long term administration of probiotics is safe and does not cause any unwanted side effects. Research is only beginning to look into the microbiome of the vagina. It is possible that this research could have a profound effect on fertility treatments in the future.
What are the Best Probiotics for Women?
Garden of Life Women’s Probiotic (link)
Pros: This is the best probiotic for women who are trying to conceive. This natural probiotic contains 11 different types of Lactobacillus bacteria and is specifically made for women. Garden of Life Women’s Probiotic contains 50 billion CFUs of probiotics. It does not require refrigeration. And it is vegetarian, but not vegan.
Cons: Costs about $1 per tablet.
Integrative Therapeutics Probiotic Pearls (link)
Pros: These vitamins contain lactobacillus acidophilus, which are the bacteria found in your vagina. The website claims that these probiotics are guaranteed to remain alive through your digestive system. This is important to ensure they are having the intended effect. They also have excellent reviews on amazon!
Cons: These contain tilapia, so they are not vegetarian or vegan-friendly. They only contain 1 billion CFUs of probiotics, which is less than other brands. These cost about $0.55 per tablet.
Culturelle Women’s Health Probiotic (link)
Pros: This is the most popular brand of probiotics on the market. In fact, this is the brand of probiotics they use in the hospital. It is 100% lactobacillus and specifically made for women. They also claim to be safe during pregnancy. While all of the best probiotics should be safe during pregnancy, I like that this brand states that.
Cons: 15 billion CFUs is less than other brands. These cost about $0.80 per tablet.
Ora Organic Probiotics (link)
Pros: These are vegan and organic! They contain 16 billion CFUs of organic probiotics. These natural probiotics are derived from Jerusalem artichokes. They also are available in a probiotic powder. This would be perfect if you would prefer to add your probiotics to smoothies, for example. The link to the powder form is here.
Cons: These are not specifically made for women. Although they do contain lactobacillus, they are a more generic product for men and women. You need to take 2 capsules per day. These come out to about $1 per day.