Pregnancy and miscarriage rates are influenced by low vitamin B12 levels or a vitamin B12 deficiency. Here’s how vitamin B12 affects male and female health and pregnancy rates.
BestVitality’s Natural Vitamin B12 Supplements are a good way to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin B12 in your diet – especially if you’re trying to get pregnant. Vitamin B12 is important for both male and female fertility.
“Research shows that B12 is needed to maintain fertility in men,” writes Michael Dooley in Fit for Fertility: Overcoming Infertility and Preparing for Pregnancy. “In one study, a group of infertile men were given vitamin B12 supplements for 2-13 months. Approximately 60% of those taking the supplement experienced improved sperm counts.”
How Vitamin B12 Affects Health and Pregnancy Rates
Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin, crucial to the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. It’s involved in the metabolism of every cell of the body, especially DNA synthesis and regulation.
Vitamin B12 deficiency may be linked to miscarriages
“Once recent study compared 36 women who suffered recurrent fetal loss to 40 women who carried healthy babies to term,” writes Sally Pacholok and Jeffrey Stuart in Could it Be B12? The researchers found that 31% of the women who had several miscarriages had elevated homocysteine levels, which is caused by low levels of folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin
Low levels of vitamin B12 may interfere with pregnancy rates
“…anovulation (a failure to release an egg during the monthly cycle) occurs in some women with B12 deficiency due to pernicious anemia, and that B12 deficiency also causes abnormalities of the cells of the reproductive tract,” writes Pacholok and Stuart. “This may extend to the lining of the uterus. In addition, B12 deficiency is associated with abnormal estrogen levels that interfere with the implantation of the fertilized egg.”
Vitamin B12 deficiency may increase the risk of neural tube defects in unborn babies
Women with the lowest B12 levels had 5 times the risk of having a child with a neural tube defect compared to women with the highest B12 levels, according to research from National Institutes of Health, Trinity College Dublin, and the Health Research Board of Ireland. Women who consume little or no meat or animal based foods are the most likely to have low B12 levels, along with women who have intestinal disorders that prevent them from absorbing sufficient amounts of B12.
Luckily, sufficient levels of vitamin B12 are found in most healthy, balanced diets – especially for meat-eaters. Vegetarians are more likely to struggle with B12 deficiencies.
For more info on how B12 affects fertility, read How Vitamin B12 Affects Fertility Rates – which includes a list of foods high in vitamin B12.
Risk factors for developing vitamin B12 deficiencies:
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Gastrointestinal surgery
- Radiation treatment
- Family history of pernicious anemia
- Specific medications (check with your doctor)
- Autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disorders, premature ovarian failure, Type 1 diabetes and Addison’s disease (check with your doctor)
If you’re a vegetarian or if you’re struggling with fertility issues, consider taking a vitamin B12 supplement.
How do you know if you have a deficiency in vitamin B12? Ask your doctor – either a fertility specialist or a family physical – for a blood test.
To learn more about vitamins, minerals, and pregnancy, read Before You Take Fertility Supplements to Get Pregnant. It’s important that you talk to your doctor before taking extra vitamins or minerals, especially if you’re taking prescription medications for other health conditions. Most vitamins and natural supplements aren’t harmful on their own, but if they’re combined with other medications – even natural ones – they may have negative effects on your health.
On a related note, you might want to read about How Much Folic Acid to Take During Pregnancy.
And if you have any thoughts or questions on how vitamin B12 affects health and pregnancy rates, please comment below.