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Vitamin B12 for Fertility - Does It Work?

Thinking of using vitamin B12 for fertility? From animal studies, it is known that vitamin B levels can affect fertility rate and the quality of the egg.

Find out what researchers have discovered about the effects of low vitamin B12 on fertility in humans...


Research studies on using vitamin B12 for fertility improvements

Study #1

B-vitamin and homocysteine status determines ovarian response to gonadotropin treatment in sheep. Kanakkaparambil R, Singh R, Li D, Webb R, Sinclair KD.
Biol Reprod. 2009 Apr;80(4):743-52.

This study showed that depriving vitamin B12 from the sheep seems to affect how the eggs response to the follicle stimulating hormone. (Follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH, stimulates egg production.)

But how common is vitamin B12 deficiency in humans and is there any link to infertility?

The second study answers this all important question.


Study #2

Prevalence of low serum cobalamin in infertile couples. Pront R, Margalioth EJ, Green R, et al.
Andrologia. 2009 Feb;41(1):46-50.

One hundred and seventy one couples who experienced difficulties in getting pregnant were invited to participate in this study. Their cobalamin (vitamin B12) levels were measured.

Here is what they found out:

  • In 74 couples (43%), one couple had B12 deficiency and in 13 couples, both partners experienced B12 deficiency.
  • Moreover, in 39% of men who had poor sperm quality, they had a deficiency in vitamin B12.

This study supports the theory that low B12 levels is linked to infertility, although it doesn't say if taking B12 supplement would help improve fertility rates.

Nevertheless, the researchers recommend supplementation for both male and female trying to conceive a child. This will ensure that both partners are not deficient in this essential vitamin.


Study #3

Homocysteine concentrations in follicular fluid are associated with poor oocyte and embryo qualities in polycystic ovary syndrome patients undergoing assisted reproduction. Berker B, Kaya C, Aytac R, Satiroglu H.
Hum Reprod. 2009 Sep;24(9):2293-302.

Females suffering from PCOS often have poor quality eggs and a low fertility rate. Research studies have shown a link between high homocysteine levels and poor egg quality in animal studies.

Note: Homocysteine is an amino acid and its level can be increased with deficiencies in folic acid, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B12 (cobalamin).

In the 52 women with PCOS undergoing IVF, the researchers looked at the quality of the eggs and the homocysteine and vitamin B12 levels.

They found that higher homocysteine levels were related to low vitamin B12 levels and lower fertilization rates.

Although it is not possible to conclude with certainty if taking vitamin B12 would improve the quality of the egg, it is easy enough to avoid deficiency by taking a vitamin B12 supplement.


What is a suitable dose of vitamin B12 for fertility?

There are no clinical trials to show what is the best dose to use for improving fertility. All the research studies looked at the relationship between infertility and vitamin B12 levels.

The recommended dose is 1 to 25 mcg daily (which is a really conservative dose). Even high doses up to 1,000 mcg daily do not result in risk or toxicity.

Consult your doctor to discuss taking vitamin B12 for fertility.

Instead of just taking vitamin B12 for fertility enhancement, consider taking a B-complex vitamin instead. It will ensure that you get all the needed B vitamins.

Bottom line

There is good evidence that low vitamin B12 levels may contribute to lowered fertility in both men and women.

To avoid deficiency, both men and women planning to conceive should consider taking a 50 mg B-complex vitamin.

B-complex vitamin is regarded as safe to use even during pregnancy.


What are some other supplements to increase fertility?

As well, our must-read article Herbs to Increase Fertility reveals many useful natural remedies that can boost fertility and increase the chances of getting pregnant.

There are also many other supplements such as Coenzyme Q10, Maca & Melatonin that affect fertility levels in men and women.

You can access all these articles from our Remedies for Fertility Home Page.

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References for Vitamin B12 for Fertility

Created: June 9, 2011


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