Fertility In Women Over 35: Nutrients For Your Mitochondria
Infertility affects many women, particularly over the age of 35. Doctors blame poor egg quality and quantity, and researchers feel that the mitochondria (the energy generators) of eggs are largely responsible. While women can’t change the age of their mitochondria, they may be able to maximize mitochondrial health by providing the right nutrients. Several supplements have been studied in animals, but most have not yet shown efficacy in human fertility studies. Two, however, really stand out: CoQ10 and L-Carnitine.
Infertility and age:
According to the CDC, infertility impacts up to 12% of women in the United States aged 15–44; 7.3 million women will seek out infertility services at some point in their lifetime.
Fertility rates in women begin to decline at age 32, and rates of miscarriage start to rise. At age 37, things take a dramatic turn for the worst. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women 35 and older receive particular attention. Women who do manage to get pregnant over 35 have the distinct pleasure of being labeled with “geriatric pregnancy” or “advanced maternal age,” due to the added risk of complications and pregnancy loss.
A primary cause of this phenomenon is that egg quality and quantity decline in older women. Unlike men, who produce sperm on a daily basis, women are born with all of their eggs. A woman who is 35-years-old has eggs that are 35-years-old.
One of the key factors in egg quality — and consequently, embryo quality once the egg is fertilized — is the health of the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerplants in our cells. They house the machinery that provides energy to cells and make cell function possible. Without healthy mitochondria, cells cannot grow or multiply normally.
Mitochondria are transferred to the embryo by the mother alone. A mature egg contains more mitochondria than any other cell in the human body. Sperm are compact and only bring enough mitochondria to make it to the egg and fertilize it. After that, their mitochondria disappear. Once an egg is fertilized, the mother’s mitochondria power everything else, and are the blueprint for the baby’s mitochondria for life.