It Takes Two—How Women AND Men Can Boost Their Fertility
Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
Photography by Photo by MaaHoo Studio
While fertility is most often seen as a women’s issue—the truth has always been that it takes two to make a baby and a focus on men’s fertility is sorely overdue. Mother of three Joni Hanson Davis is trying to tackle this issue head-on by creating one of the first prenatals for men—Beli Vitality for Men—alongside the conception-to-postpartum prenatal Beli For Women. Below, Joni tells us about the importance of prenatals for men and women, including breaking down the key ingredients in Beli’s nutrient-packed pills. Plus, other tips on how both men and women can boost their fertility.
Beli started with male prenatals—why?
“In 2019, I was in the process of creating a new line of clean, bioavailable, science-aligned vitamins optimized for all stages of pregnancy. It had become clear to me during my own pregnancies that prenatal vitamin innovation hadn’t kept pace with nutritional science, particularly when it came to fertility, reproductive health, and pregnancy health. And that’s when I started thinking about what might benefit men in the same process.”
“Sperm health plays a huge role in everything from conception to the health of future generations, and men experience fertility issues just as women do. For so long, the idea of infertility has been really focused on women, and it’s long past time for that to change. A study from 2012 found that just one in four men had optimal sperm quality. Interestingly, nutrient shortages are one of the most common reasons behind sperm deficiencies, which is why a high-quality prenatal vitamin for men really makes sense.”
What are the key nutrients that aid in men’s fertility?
“There are quite a few research-based nutrients. CoQ10 is a doctor-approved antioxidant that increases sperm motility and has been shown to improve fertilization rates after just a few weeks. Interestingly, CoQ10 is one of those impressive compounds that supports both sperm and egg cells, so it’s useful for anyone who’s hoping to become a parent.”
“Folic acid, or folate, is practically synonymous with women’s prenatals, but it’s just as important in a men’s prenatal. Methylated folate, which is the active and most bioavailable form, has been linked to greater sperm count and health. Meanwhile, low folate levels in semen are associated with poor sperm DNA stability. During the preconception stage, folate is considered essential for cell division and DNA synthesis in sperm production.”
“L-Carnitine is associated with higher fertilization rates and improved sperm quality. Specifically, it helps improve sperm motility.”
“N-acetyl-L-Cysteine, or NAC, a semi-essential amino acid, is linked to the improvement of multiple sperm parameters, including count, motility, and morphology. It’s weirdly under the radar given its impressive fertility prowess—it can play a role in fertility for both men and women.”
“L-Arginine is a versatile amino acid necessary for sperm production and enhanced sperm quality.”
“Shilajit is an ancient Ayurvedic adaptogen. Studies show it can increase sperm count, motility, and serum testosterone in men who have been diagnosed with infertility. Beyond its virility benefits, it’s also been shown to increase energy and endurance, improve athletic performance, improve concentration and brain health, and more. Beli Vitality for Men is the only prenatal on the market to include Shilajit.”
There are a number of prenatals on the market for women—why choose Beli?
“A lot of people are surprised to learn that there is really limited oversight in the prenatal industry. They aren’t regulated by the FDA, and some of the most popular brands don’t meet current nutrient recommendations. In other words, they aren’t actually doing their one job. For better or for worse, it’s up to the consumer to screen a prenatal vitamin for safety, quality, ingredients, and dosing.”
“When we formulated Beli for Women, we based it on the most current scientific research for fertility, prenatal, and postnatal health and ensured it meets the latest recommendations for key vitamins and minerals in appropriate amounts. In fact, Beli for Women is one of just a handful of prenatal vitamins on the market meeting current recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association for choline, folate, iodine, magnesium, and vitamin D.”
“We use the highest-quality, most-absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals. Our prenatals are vegan, non-GMO, gluten- and allergen-free, and manufactured in a cGMP-registered facility. The bottom line is that all the things that matter to you—safety, purity, quality, and efficacy—matter to us.”
What are the most underestimated nutrients for women that a Beli prenatal can help with?
“Choline is a big one. Beli is one of the only prenatal vitamins with 400mg of choline, a nutrient that rivals folate in terms of importance for your growing baby’s development. It’s crucial for proper spinal cord and brain development. It also protects against neural tube defects.”
“Vitamin D is really important too, and many pregnant women don’t get nearly enough. According to the American Pregnancy Association, ‘it is unlikely your prenatal vitamin provides enough vitamin D. A recent study found women taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily had the greatest benefits in preventing preterm labor/births and infections.’ Beli for Women is one of the only prenatal vitamins meeting the APA’s recommendation of 4,000 IU of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm delivery, postpartum depression, and a higher risk of miscarriage. Insufficient vitamin D for your growing baby will negatively affect healthy bone development and long-term health after delivery.”
Why are prenatals so important for women?
“A prenatal vitamin delivers key nutrients that a baby needs to grow. But prenatal vitamins are actually a big part of preconception care, which means it’s important to start taking them before a pregnancy. Keep in mind, a baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs from the mom, and it’s important to ensure an adequate stock of nutrients to avoid deficiency once the baby is here and busy growing.”
“A good prenatal can also improve the odds of conceiving. Key micronutrients are linked to the same processes that drive conception in both men and women. From vitamins C, B6, B12, D, E, and K2 to folate, zinc, chromium, and choline, women can use these nutrients to reduce chances of miscarriage, trigger ovulation, improve egg quality, and generally boost their chances of conception.”
“Then there’s the timeline factor. While it’s true that a woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have, technically, those eggs are precursor cells. In order to be ready for fertilization, human eggs go through a dizzyingly complex growth process in an ovary follicle that takes around—you guessed it—three months. A steady stream of important nutrients during this growth period means better egg quality.”
Beyond prenatals—what do you suggest women and men do to maximize fertility?
“Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window—the three to six months before a baby is conceived—plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together:
*Make a point of eating a varied, nutritious diet.
*Get regular exercise.
*Do your best to get sufficient sleep.
*Minimize stress as much as possible.
*Be aware of environmental toxins and opt for clean vitamins, beauty, and cleaning products, etc.”
As a mother of three, how is Beli’s mission personal for you?
“Everyone has their own pregnancy journey, but our end goal is always the same: healthy babies. My journey ended with 3 loves of my life, but it was mired with my own stories of miscarriage and breastfeeding issues. I created Beli to help couples have the best chances of getting pregnant, having healthy babies, and raising healthy kids. That’s my entire focus. We have the science to solve many of today’s health issues around fertility. Beli’s mission to take that science and make it usable for couples around the world.”
Find out more about Beli and shop its prenatals for men and women at BeliBaby.com.
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