Zita West: Fertility supplement bundles aim to ease rising concern among couples

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

© Zita West
© Zita West

Related tags Fertility Pregnancy first 1000 days

Fertility support needs comprehensive nutrition solutions, says a midwife turned entrepreneur who sells supplement bundles to support couples on their conception journey.

Zita West developed her range of products focused on pregnancy, fertility, and postnatal care in 2001. The eponymous brand offers 17 different product kits, each designed to support different life stages and needs in a fertility journey. 

Zita West

After launching with a single multivitamin for pregnant women, West quickly understood that much more nutritional support was needed than could fit into one capsule.

“A lot of the time when people are taking vitamins, all it does is make expensive urine,” she told NutraIngredients. “My mission has been to educate people and offer real solutions with ingredients that have been shown to offer positive impact.”

The catalog of supplement bundles caters to couples aiming to conceive, those beginning IVF, and pregnant women. It is available Europe-wide and is launching in the US next month. 

Overcoming obstacles 

West noted her ‘biggest obstacle was always the medical profession’ as doctors were reluctant to engage with the idea that nutrition could impact pregnancy outcomes.

She therefore relied on the research of academics and professors in the space who saw the potential of nutrients. She was inspired by the teachings of the late physician Professor David Barker, who pioneered the ‘The Barker Hypothesis’ that proposed that the environment of the fetus determined by maternal nutrition subsequently ‘programmed’ the body's metabolism and growth.

“Now we know how important the first 1000 days are for the future child’s development, and it plays a massive role in our mission” West noted. 

The company offers bundles to support the mother in trimesters one, two and three, as each stage requires different nutrients. 

“From weeks one to 12, you've got all the foundations of all of the organs laying down, which requires folate and choline. In the second trimester, it's about bone health and muscle, so calcium. The third trimester is about omega-3, about essential fatty acids, for brain development,” West explained.  

IVF support

West has seen a significant increase in the number of women and couples seeking nutrition support when faced with obstacles getting pregnant.

“When I started my clinic 20 years ago, we didn’t have ‘Doctor Google’ and all of that then, and women were a lot less informed,” she noted. “But now many of them understand what nutrition could do for them.” 

According to a report​ from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA), egg freezing rose by 64% in 2021 compared to 2019, and according to West, the most popular bundles are those that appeal to consumers freezing eggs or looking for support with IVF treatment.  

“Egg quality is of the utmost importance when it comes to IVF success,” West explained. “While a woman is born with all the eggs she is ever going to possess and these are genetically determined, we believe that the environment in which those eggs are growing is affected by nutrition and that the right kind of supplement may help improve the chances of a successful outcome.”

The ‘Ultimate IVF Support Pack’ contains essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, probiotics, CoQ10, myo-inositol and Vitamin D.

Women’s fertility

The range also offers a bundle for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which can cause difficulties conceiving as hormonal imbalances can interfere with ovulation.

The kit includes a vitamin D supplement for a healthy inflammatory response, which is necessary for the fertilized egg to implant, and Psyllium Husk Capsules, to encourage gut bacteria to colonize. 

It also contains a multivitamin blend ‘Vitafem’, ‘Vital DHA’ which is an omega 3 and zinc supplement designed to protect both partners’ DNA from oxidative damage during preconception, and ‘Femceive’, a probiotic blend that has been formulated to support a balanced endometrial-vaginal microbiota. 

Finally, it contains the antioxidant blend 'Vitafem Boost’ to neutralize free radicals which have been linked to poor egg quality​, and Myo-inositol, a blend of inositol and folate, which has been linked to fetal development​.

The same product is included in the ‘Endometriosis Support Pack’, for people with the condition that causes tissue similar to the lining of the uterus to grow elsewhere causing inflammation, hormone imbalance and irregular cycles, which can impact fertility.

This bundle includes high-dose Vitamin D3 in spray form for increased absorption, an omega-3 supplement, and N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), a potent antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation, regulate hormones and support regular cycles. 

Zita West Men's Fertility Bundle

Men’s fertility ​ 

The conversation mustn’t exclude men, West noted, therefore the brand offers the ‘Male Foundation Fertility Support Pack’ which contains ‘Vitamen', a selenium and zinc product designed to support healthy spermatogenesis and sperm motility, as well as folate andvitamin B6.

West explained there is increasing research​ into the sperm microbiome and its effect on motility. The pack, therefore, contains ‘Menceive’, a probiotic supplement containing Bifidobacterium longum ​ES1 CECT 7347 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus ​BPL15 CECT 8361, designed to help reduce the gut bacteria that can trigger inflammation and impaired testicular function.

“Male fertility has come into its own in the last five or ten years because doctors didn't used to believe in supplements for men,” explained West.Now, she noted that increasingly this is a conversation couples enter into together. 

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