Vitamin C is vital in all stages of preconception, pregnancy and childbirth. Interestingly the concentration of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is reported to be much higher in human follicular fluid than in blood serum. This suggests that vitamin C may play a role as an antioxidant vitamin during follicular maturation.
According to a study done in Japan on women with luteal phase defects, serum progesterone levels were significantly elevated in the treatment group after one cycle of Vitamin C (750 mg/day until positive pregnancy test) treatment, but not in the control group (1). What is statistically significant was nineteen patients (25%) in the ascorbic acid supplementation group and 5 patients (11%) in the control group became clinically
pregnant. All pregnancies occurred in patients in whom the luteal phase defect resolved, whether spontaneously or as a result of vitamin C supplementation.
In the same study it was also found that vitamin C supplementation significantly improved progesterone levels in 53% of luteal phase defect cases. It is important to highlight that ascorbic acid's principal functions, namely its promotion of collagen synthesis, its role in hormone production, and its ability to protect cells from free radicals, which may explain its reproductive actions (2).
1: Henmi H, Endo T, Kitajima Y, Manase K, Hata H, Kudo R. Effects of ascorbic acid supplementation on serum progesterone levels in patients with a luteal phase defect. Fertil Steril. 2003 Aug;80(2):459-61. PubMed PMID: 12909517.
2. Luck MR, Jeyaseelan I, Scholes RA. Ascorbic acid and fertility. Biol Reprod. 1995 Feb;52(2):262-6. Review. PubMed PMID: 7711198.2.
Dr Nicole Ng (MBBS) is a medical doctor with a passion in women's health and medical research