Women are born with a set of immature eggs that they will have for their lifetime, which is approximately one million eggs. When a woman starts her menstrual cycle in adolescence, this number will decrease to approximately 400,000 eggs. These eggs will lay dormant in the ovary and every month one is chosen to finish its maturation process by becoming the dominant egg.
As we age, these eggs can be impacted by a decline in energy production, as well as cellular defects that can affect their DNA. The mitochondria is known as the powerhouse of the cell where energy is produced. The mitochondria is susceptible to oxidative stress that can cause damage to the cell. Since lots of energy is required to bring an egg to maturation, supporting the mitochondria is key!
It takes approximately 100 days for an egg to mature and ovulate. During this time it’s key to provide the body with support to help build a healthy, mature egg. Let’s look at four supplements that can help the mitochondria and DNA of the developing egg:
CoQ10 is one of the well-known supplements for assisting with egg quality. It’s a powerful antioxidant that supports the function of the mitochondria. Supporting the body with this antioxidant can help with egg quality.
Myo-inositol is a type of inositol. Inositol is known as an essential B vitamin that comes from our diet or it can be synthesized in our bodies. Myo-inositol is known for its use in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) for its ability to improve insulin resistance. However, myo-inositol has also been shown to improve egg quality. Research shows that inositol is required to enhance the quality of the maturing oocyte (a.k.a. the egg). The research also shows that myo-inositol plus folic acid results in a higher number of good quality oocytes versus folic acid alone in women with previously failed ICSI, PCOS or diagnosis of “poor responders.”
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in our brain. It’s typically known for its ability to regulate circadian rhythm in the body. However, it also has antioxidant properties. In Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) the use of melatonin resulted in 54% fertilized eggs vs. 29% when melatonin was not used in mouse cultures.
4) N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)
NAC works to increase glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is produced naturally in the liver and is also a powerful antioxidant and has detoxification properties. NAC can help to prevent damage to the end of the egg’s DNA. NAC can also help women with ovulation disorders commonly seen in PCOS.
By Dr Samina Mitha, www.saminamitha.com
L., J., Y., X., K., H., . . . L. (2012, February 21). Delay in oocyte aging in mice by the antioxidant N -acetyl- l -cysteine (NAC) | Human Reproduction | Oxford Academic. Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/27/5/1411/694535
V., Giovanni, S., R., P., C., F., . . . Sapia. (2016, August 29). How to Achieve High-Quality Oocytes? The Key Role of Myo-Inositol and Melatonin. Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ije/2016/4987436/
Vitale, S. G., Rossetti, P., Corrado, F., Rapisarda, A. M., Vignera, S. L., Condorelli, R. A., . . . Buscema, M. (2016). How to Achieve High-Quality Oocytes? The Key Role of Myo-Inositol and Melatonin. International Journal of Endocrinology,2016, 1-9. doi:10.1155/2016/4987436