I’ve been getting quite a few calls lately about fertility nutrition. Usually, I refer folks to the guest blog post I wrote on pregnancy nutrition, but I thought it was time to address some of the questions right here on my blog.
For optimal fertility, you want all of your hormones in balance and sufficient nutrition for your body to produce healthy eggs. The same is true for men and healthy sperm production. As in pregnancy, if we provide the right environment and nutrition, our bodies will do the rest, most of the time!
For Optimum Fertility:
Provide the optimal environment
Provide optimal nutrition
Fertility requires that both the internal and external environment be conducive to reproduction. I will address the external environment in this post and nutrition next week.
Many people ignore the impact that the environment plays on their health. For optimum fertility, we must pay attention to our environment. The biggest impact on fertility is caused by hormone disruptors. What can we do to reduce them?
Reducing hormone disruptors
The main hormone disruptor for many couples is STRESS. Stress increases cortisol, which will down-regulate testosterone & estrogen, both of which are needed for reproduction. Trying to conceive can be stressful, especially if you are in your late thirties or forties, like many of my clients. Meditation, relaxation CDs, yoga, gentle exercise, counseling–all can be helpful to your fertility.
Get enough SLEEP. Sleep deprivation affects your inflammation levels and blood glucose, thereby affecting your hormonal balance.
Xenoestrogens are another potent hormone disruptor. We are designed to have a progesterone-dominant hormonal balance. Pro-gest = pro-gestation! Xenoestrogens can upset this balance. These estrogen look-alikes bond to your estrogen receptors and create an estrogen-dominant environment that can contribute to PCOS, hypothyroidism, endometriosis, reduced sperm count & motility and other reproductive ailments.
Eliminating xenoestrogens is not possible, but we can reduce our exposure. Here are some suggestions:
- Eat organic, free-range, hormone-free meat & dairy products. Eat organic vegetables to avoid pesticide exposure.
- Replace all cleaning supplies with organic/natural ingredients/paraben-free/chlorine-free. Avoid commercial dryer sheets.
- Make sure all hair & body products are paraben-free. Use henna instead of hair dyes, use low-toxicity nail products. Avoid most commercial sunscreens.
- Reduce your exposure to BPA & phthalates by using glass containers for food storage, metal or glass water bottles and choosing BPA-free canned & packaged goods.
- Use a water filter designed to filter out chlorine & other chemicals.
- Sleep on a mattress/futon that is free of commercial fire retardants.
What other environmental concerns would you address to optimize fertility?