* Author Topic: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??  (Read 59334 times)

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Offline Sunnypal

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Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« on: 1/04/10, 11:52 »

I just wondered if any of you ladies going through TX are taking any particular supplements and are you restricting your diet at all?  I hadn't even thought about it but I read somewhere on here that people were taking certain supplements and cutting out certain foods.  I'm only taking folic acid and have cut out all alcohol.  Any advice??

Sunny x

Offline ☼♥ Minxy ♥☼

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Re: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« Reply #1 on: 1/04/10, 15:42 »
Hi there

If you have a look around the boards you'll find loads of threads/posts discussing this as it's a pretty frequently asked question....you can narrow it down by using the search tool :)

You may also want to have a look on the Prenatal Care and Complementary Therapies boards...



Hope you don't think I'm being cheeky but I'm going to cut/paste some info I put together a few years ago....perhaps you'll find some of it useful.

Good luck and take care ^reiki^

There is lots of conflicting advise when it comes to what's right or wrong during treatment so best to make your own decisions based on information gathered......some will say one thing, others another to really is down to personal choice for many things.  The main thing is to ensure you're taking a good prenatal care supplement such as Sanatogen Pronatal or Pregnacare as these contain everything you need.

Upping protein can be good for encouraging healthy eggs.  Although some dairy products and meat can contain hormones/anti biotics etc, it's fine if you have as much organic as possible. 

Try to drink at least 2 litres of water a day and 1 litre of milk (preferably organic - skimmed or semi skimmed which have higher protein than full fat).  The water helps flush the drugs around your system and keeps you hydrated and helps prevent headaches and OHSS.  You should drink this all the way through the treatment cycle....downregging, stimming and 2ww.  Water is essential for organ/gland function and cell production....so subsequently hormones and egg production and cell division.

The milk is good for the eggs because of the protein and zinc but also helps go towards preventing OHSS (protein helps this). 

Ideally you'd want about 60g of protein in your diet per day.

"Too little protein in your diet can result in a reduced number of eggs. Make sure you have an adequate daily supply of protein"

"A good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement (ideally a prenatal supplement) will help your body cope with the demands of IVF. These are namely Vitamin C and E, which enriches the fluid which surrounds and nourishes your eggs. Zinc, which is essential for hormone production. Magnesium and vitamin A, which aid egg production. Selenium and magnesium to improve fertilisation rates. Iron and Co-enzyme Q10, to enrich the womb lining. Vitamins C, E and zinc also help you to repair quickly after the egg retrieval, ready to receive the incoming embryos and B complex will help your body cope with stress"

As well as the protein in milk, which is essential for hormone production (and subsequently healthy eggs !)....it also contains zinc, magnesium, vitamins A, C, E plus B vitamins....all vital in some way or another for egg and hormone production. 

Vitamin A in form of betacarotene is fine but avoid too much vit A in form of retinol may cause problems to unborn foetus when pg.


Another reason why milk can be good when having IVF is because of the calcium, especially if you're on long protocol and downregging.  The process of downregging (putting body into temporary menopause) may decrease levels of calcium in your bones (which is why osteoporosis is something menopausal women should be aware of).  By ensuring you get a good intake of calcium, this can help alleviate this (obviously you can get calcium from other sources if can't stand milk).  As well as good if downregging, if you're prescribed an anticoagulents such as Clexane or Heparin, this may also contribute to decrease in calcium levels.

Other protein sources:

cheese (including cottage cheese, dairylea, philadelphia)
chickpeas (hummous)
baked beans
baked potatoes
kidney beans
nuts (including cashew, peanuts, brazils, almonds, pistachio, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan...peanut butter)
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds
flaxseed (linseed) - put on top of cereal

Zinc is also good for healthy eggs and is found in milk and eggs amongst other things

Vitamin E is another thing which helps promote healthy eggs and is found in wheatgerm, nuts, seeds

Coenzyme Q10 can help bloodflow to womb and also fertilisation.

Selenium is a good mineral because it's an antioxident it helps promote a healthy womb lining - brazil nuts have the highest level of this, so a handful (about 5 or so) a day is good but there are lots of other food sources for selenium.   

Pineapple juice contains a certain amount of selenium which is why it's thought to help with implantation ie helps encourage healthy womb lining.  Fresh or pressed pineapple juice is best but "from concentrate" and "not from concentrate" are still fine.  It's eating fresh pineapple that should be avoided as it contains an enzyme called Bromelain (contraindicated during pregnancy) which may cause uterine contractions but during processing (canning/juicing) this enzyme is destroyed.  Pineapple does contain manganese though which is very beneficial when ttc.


The main thing is to have a healthy balanced diet.

Avoid certain herbal teas such as green tea (as can effect the absorption of folic acid) and any that contain hibiscus (may cause uterine contractions)...as well as caffeine and diet/"sugar free" drinks which contain aspartame.

Avoid certain essential oils/aromatherapy as there are several that should be avoided when ttc and pregnant.

Keep your belly and back covered & warm at all times as this can help encourage follie growth & blood flow to the womb (and hence womb lining).  Could try using heated wheatbag or hot water bottle during stimms. 

Progesterone is the warming hormone and it's this that makes our temperatures rise following ovulation & it does this to make the womb a warm & hospitable environment....so explains why good to keep warm but not hot.

In Chinese medicine (and acupuncture) they often see fertility problems as relating to bad circulation and "stagnation" (especially the liver) and having what they call a "cold womb" (not literally cold!).....so advise keeping belly, back and feet covered and warm at all times (but no hot water bottle/heated wheatbag etc during 2ww) to aid bloodflow and implantation.  You could also try eating "warming" foods...like ginger, beans, grains and vegetables such as mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage and kale. Avoid ice cold drinks, ice cream and foods that are very cold.  Foods that nourish blood include fruits such as blackberries, raspberries and grapes, organic meats and poultry and vegetables such as turnips, spinach and dark, leafy greens.


After ET you don't want to overheat or raise your temp too much above the bodys "core temp" but you do want to keep belly, back & feet warm & covered....just NOT HOT

It is also a point of view that is supported by fertility specialist Zita West and this is believed in both Eastern European and Chinese cultures...."you can't grow a baby in a cold womb...." 

You may start to feel tired and bloated towards the end of stimming...peppermint tea is good for bloatedness but unforunately most of this will be caused by the fluid in the follicles so not an awful lot you can do about it whilst stimming...and if you feel tired then rest/sleep...don't overdo it as your body is using energy in other areas ie womb and ovaries.

Other things you could try are acupuncture, reflexology, hypnotherapy cds, Bachs Rescue Remedy (good for relieving stres)....ssupplements like spirulina and wheatgrass (as high in protein) and also bee products (I always take Apimist during IVF which is a honey with royal jelly, bee pollen and bee propolis ).


Coenzyme, zinc, selenium etc are all good for healthy sperm too so make sure your DP has plenty of these in his diet

This post contains an unconfirmed link/information and readers are reminded that FertilityFriends.co.uk or its owners are not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Offline Cassie 76

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Re: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« Reply #2 on: 1/04/10, 18:46 »
Hi Sunny and Natasha  :)

I use pregnacare all through tx and this can be continued after conception.

I never knew diet was that important!  Maybe this'll bring us all a bit of luck ^reiki^ for our next goes.

This information has been very helpful thank-you. :)

Good luck  ^reiki^ and take care. ^hugme^

Cassie X

Offline Sunnypal

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Re: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« Reply #3 on: 1/04/10, 21:24 »
Natasha - WOW, Thanks!!

That is a really usueful post, lots of info!  Luckily most of those things are in my diet and one of my favourite foods is cereal with milk (boring I know but I have a bland palate!!).  I didn't realise half of the stuff about caffine and fizzy drinks, will need to cut out my all important cups of tea (*sob*).  Hopefully camomile tea is ok as I drink a lot of that!

Cassie - I've seen a few people taking pregnacare, think I'll have a look for it. I wonder if it contains folic acid, don't want to double up on it!!

Thanks for your advice and help!
Take care and good luck xxx ^reiki^ ^hugme^ ^hugme^ :)

Offline Cassie 76

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Re: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« Reply #4 on: 1/04/10, 22:18 »
Hi Sunny  :)

Yes it does contain folic acid and plenty of other vitamins and minerals.
If you have a boots advantage card you may sometimes get offers on it, I can't remember  ^idiot^ if you have to be in the health club too. (which I am).

I hope this has helped. ^hugme^ and good luck. ^reiki^ ^reiki^

Cassie X

Offline ☼♥ Minxy ♥☼

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Re: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« Reply #5 on: 2/04/10, 16:30 »
Hi Cassie and Sunny

Glad you've found some of my info helpful :)

Yes Pregnacare and Sanatogen Pronatal both contain folic acid.  They're specifically designed for when ttc and for during pregnancy.  They contain the right amount of vitamins and minerals needed.

Good luck to both of you. ^reiki^

Offline meadsylou

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Re: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« Reply #6 on: 7/04/10, 12:25 »
Hi ladies

Me and DH have been taking Zita West vitamins, i would recommend them as they are packed full of all the vits and minerals that you need.

Good luck for you cycles xx

Offline TGA22

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Re: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« Reply #7 on: 10/04/10, 13:39 »
Hi guys

What a great post!   :)   I have saved this one down as it covers everything I have been wanting to ask.  I am a bit gutted though about the mention of herbal teas & green teas as I thought I was being healthy by drinking these instead of coffee....ekkkk  ^idiot^ Might be safer just to stick to hot water I think, hopefully that will keep everything warm that needs to be,  I will confess though, I do have one proper small coffee every morning which I am trying to wean myself off.   Would peppermint tea be ok to drink though out a cycle as I just love my hot drinks.

I read somewhere that Evening Primrose was good to take in the first 2 weeks to help with fertile cervical mucus, does anyone know if that is the case? 

Thanks again for the advice


Offline ☼♥ Minxy ♥☼

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Re: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« Reply #8 on: 12/04/10, 11:22 »
Hi TGA22

Glad you've found some of the info helpful :)

Having the odd cup of green tea isn't going to do you any harm and most herbal/fruit teas should be fine, it's just to avoid those that contain hibiscus but also tea, like coffee, contains caffeine.  Green tea has a high amount of caffeine and depending on how long you infuse it, it may also have a higher amount than some coffees !! 

That doesn't mean you have to cut it out completely but everything in moderation.  There is still some controversy over it but there has been research into links between high intake of caffeine and miscarriage...


and this shows the quantity of caffeine in various drinks...


So having the odd cup of coffee or other food/drink containing caffeine is fine but probably best to avoid drinking too much on a daily basis.

Green tea can also interfere with the absorption of folic acid (as can some other teas) so avoid drinking too much, especially at same time during day that you're taking any folic acid supplement (or eating foods rich in folic acid).


and here's some other info...


"The work also shows why other studies have linked high levels of green tea consumption by women around the time of conception and in pregnancy to an increased incidence of spina bifida and anencephaly. These are neural tube defects linked to folic acid deficiency. In green tea drinkers, EGCG's antifolate activity would be expected to lessen the activity of the enzyme that uses folic acid, minimising the good effects of folic acid supplements."

I love Earl Grey but buy Twinnings decaf now and limit myself to one cup a day (if that) and drink more herbal and fruit teas instead.

Other drinks to avoid or at least cut down on are Coca Cola, Red Bull etc as they are also high in caffeine....plus many contain high levels of sugar and/or Aspartame.

Peppermint tea is also fine to drink...it can also help ease bloatedness that many women (like myself) experience around ovulation and AF.

EPO (evening primrose oil) can help ease PMS symptoms, it can also be beneficial when ttc and can help improve cervical mucus...however, it should be avoided from ovulation (or EC if having treatment) onwards as it may cause uterine contractions...the same applies to Starflower (Borage).

Hope that helps :)

Good luck
Natasha x

This post contains an unconfirmed link/information and readers are reminded that FertilityFriends.co.uk or its owners are not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Offline TGA22

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Re: Diet and Supplements during ICSI??
« Reply #9 on: 18/04/10, 19:07 »
Thanks Natasha, sorry I did not reply back, I have only realised I had replies to my posts...I'ms still getting the hang of FF.

I will take a good look at your links this week, DH is on his way home so must start (he has been working all day on this lovely sunny day the poor boy).

Thanks again :)



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