Ensure Proper Nourishment

Posted by on Dec 1, 2013 in Conception | 0 comments

Ensuring a good balance of all your important nutrients is vital for a healthy conception. The first 4 weeks of pregnancy are also among the most important nutritionally, as this is when the neural tube develops and closes impacting the development of neural tube defects. As many women are unaware they are pregnant during these first 4 weeks, optimising your levels of these important nutrients prior to conception is extremely important.

Nutrients such as zinc, can affect hormone levels and ovulation. A good supply of antioxidants are important to reduce the impact of oxidative stress and help improve the quality of your eggs.

Adequate folate and choline vital prior to conception and in the first 4 weeks of pregnancy to help support proper neural tube development and prevent neural tube defects. Vitamin D can impact healthy bone development and iron, biotin, B6 and B12 are essential for the production of DNA for growth and development.


Healthy folate levels can help improve fertility and have been associated with a higher chance of conceiving naturally or through IVF. Folate is particularly important during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy, as this is when the neural tube, which connects the brain and spinal cord, develops and closes. This process relies heavily on adequate folate for proper development. Deficiency of this important nutrient at this stage of pregnancy results in a greatly increased risk of neural tube defects. As many women are unaware they are pregnant within the first 4 weeks, it’s vital to ensure healthy folate levels prior to conception. However, a recent Canadian study showed that 40% of women of reproductive age are still not achieving sufficient systemic levels of folate to prevent neural tube defects.

The terms folic acid and folate are often used interchangeably, however folate is the nutrient utilized by the body and folic acid is the synthetic supplemental form of folate.

New research shows that calcium folinate, quickly converts to ‘active’ folate in the body and therefore increases plasma folate more effectively.

Taking 500mcg of calcium folinate, as found in Zycia Natal Nutrients, one month prior to conception and during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects.


Choline works alongside folate for healthy neural tube closure, therefore it’s vital to ensure optimal levels prior to conception and during pregnancy. Higher dietary choline intake has been associated with a reduction in the risk of having a child with neural tube defects. Choline also plays a critical role in the development of the brain, especially the center influencing memory, and may enhance lifelong learning, attention, concentration and memory function. Australian Guidelines recommend a minimum adequate intake of 440mg for pregnant women.


Zinc supports the health and function of the female reproductive system. It plays an essential role in healthy ovulation and is necessary for fertilisation.  As the egg reaches maturation and prepares to be released during ovulation, major biochemical changes take place to prepare the egg for potential fertilisation.  This process is critically dependent on zinc.  Zinc levels within the egg have been shown to increase by 30 – 50% during this time and overall zinc levels within the body have a significant affect on the egg maturation process impacting fertilisation and embryo development.  Therefore maintaining optimal Zinc levels can help support chances of a healthy conception.  Zinc also supports the absorption of folate.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is required, alongside folate, in the production of our DNA and is therefore essential to support growth and development during pregnancy. Healthy Vitamin B12 levels can also support fertility and conception and low levels have been linked to subfertility. Low levels during pregnancy can also increase the risk of birth defects as well as increasing the risk of miscarriage and high blood pressure.


Iron works in combination with folate and B12 in the synthesis of DNA which is vital for growth and development. For this reason the RDI increases from 18mg/day for a non pregnant women to 27mg per day during pregnancy. With the mean intake of dietary iron in females 12-49 years being 15mg, iron supplementation during pregnancy is recommended.

However although it’s important to maintain adequate levels, it’s also just as important not to consume Iron in excess. Taking excess iron, especially prior to conception, can act as a pro oxidant. Iron is a fat soluble heavy metal. Unlike water soluble nutrients, iron cannot be actively excreted from the body, therefore excess consumption can build up and be detrimental. Iron can also be difficult for the body to absorb, leading to side effects such as constipation and digestive disturbance.

To optimize absorption, iron is best supplemented in the form of an amino acid chelate, which is already broken down and bound to amino acids to improve absorption, or in the form of ferrous fumarate. The addition of vitamin C, further enhances the uptake of Iron.


Iodine deficiency during pregnancy is the most common cause of preventable intellectual impairment worldwide. Studies have shown iodine deficiency to be prevalent in pregnant women across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for iodine during pregnancy and breastfeeding is 220-250mg. Data reveals that the average Iodine intake of pregnant women in Australia is only half this amount. As fetal brain development begins in the first 4 weeks of pregnancy, often before pregnancy is realized, ensuring adequate Iodine levels prior to conception is important.


Growing cells take up biotin at a rate five times faster than normal cells. Optimizing biotin intake prior to conception can help ensure adequate levels are immediately available to support healthy growth and development.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is vital for the development of healthy teeth and bones. Insufficient vitamin D levels have been linked to low birth weight and growth retardation as well as affecting immune function and fetal bone development through to adulthood. Low maternal vitamin D levels are also linked to an increased prevalence and severity of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and premature labour. Vitamin D deficiency is an increasingly common condition found in up to 80% of pregnant mothers and their infants, therefore supplementation prior to conception is strongly recommended.

Vital Nutrients for a Healthy Conception

When you’re planning to conceive, not only do you need to nurture your health, but you’re also preparing to nurture a new life. A healthy conception depends on adequate nutritional support.

Taking Zycia Natal Nutrients daily at least 4 weeks prior to conception helps ensure a balanced intake of essential nutrients to help prepare your body to conceive and carry a healthy new baby.  To further boost the nutrient content of your diet, be sure to check out our quick and easy, tasty recipes.

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