We are excited to have a guest blog post this week from Iva Keene, Natural Fertility Specialist, Naturopathic Physician and Founder of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. Iva has given us some great tips to naturally maximize fertility by making changes in our daily lives. Her NFP program is a proven approach that is helping couples around the world conceive naturally. Endorsed by numerous doctors including Dr. Mercola, the founder of Mercola.com and many happy and pregnant clients, the NFP program is a perfect complement to our Mind+Body Fertility Program.
The natural approach to treating infertility aims to address its root causes, by addressing all of the body systems, rather than just focusing solely on the reproductive system. Many couples who can’t fall pregnant suffer from a combination of sub-clinical conditions. These conditions can’t cause infertility on their own but – in combination – they can substantially reduce a couple’s probability of conceiving.
10 Strategies you can Immediately Implement to Treat Infertility and Boost Fertility Naturally
1. Minimize your exposure to toxic chemicals
Exposure to environmental toxins (in the form of industrial chemicals) both in utero and neonatally may dramatically affect adult fertility. Most chemicals used in everyday life do not go through the same checks medicines do. Consequently; poisonous chemicals end up circulating in our environment, food supply, air and water.
Occasional exposure to one of these chemical is not of concern. What is of concern is accumulation of these chemicals over a long period. From Planet Green, a Discovery Channel company, here is a very thorough article regarding the dangers of chemicals and how to avoid them.
2. Try to drink filtered water whenever possible
Unfortunately, our waterways are constantly being polluted by industrial waste and byproducts, pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides and herbicides and commercial cleaning products. Heavy metals are the most common of the reprotoxins reaching our water supply through industrial waste, jet fuel exhaust residue and a variety of other sources. And increasingly pharmaceutical drugs are increasingly being detected in tap water.
From the Denver Post, here is an article about the various filtering options that you can consider.
3. Aim to eat an optimal fertility diet
An optimal fertility diet is about what to avoid as much as it is about what to include. A fertility diet should be as fresh and organic wherever possible. Key elements include: (i) good quality protein sources (favor vegetable sources of protein) and; (ii) good fats. Here is a suggested list of types of foods to consider:
- Organic meat in small quantities, game, small deep sea fish like sardines and red snapper, organic legumes home cooked (not canned).
- Whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit in season, organic where possible.
- Increase your consumption of good fats and avoid dangerous fats. Good fats include; monounsaturated fats in olive oil, polyunsaturated fats in oily fish and nuts and midchain fatty acids found in coconut oil.
- For cooking use clarified butter (ghee) or coconut butter (without flavor) as they do not become unstable when heated.
- For non heated oil requirements (salads etc) use cold pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil and nut oils.
4. Avoid trans fats
Did you know that consuming trans fats hidden in foods, such as doughnuts, biscuits, lollies, candy, chocolate, chips, pies, fries, and thousands of other foods may increase your risk of infertility by as much as 70%? Scientists from the Harvard University School of Public Health advise women wanting to get pregnant to avoid all trans fats. Trans fats are mostly listed as ‘hydrogenated fat’ or ‘hardened vegetable fat’ or simply ‘vegetable fat’.
5. Minimize animal derived estrogens
Dairy products account on average for 60-70% of estrogens consumed. Humans consume milk from cows in the second half of pregnancy when cows estrogen levels are high. We usually associate dairy and drinking milk with calcium, and never think about what else we may be consuming along with it (and dairy, by the way is not the best source of calcium). Hormones that have been found in cows milk include prolactin, somatostatin, melatonin, oxytocin, growth hormone, lutenizing releasing hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, estrogens, progesterone, insulin, corticosteroids and many more. Do you think an excess consumption of all these hormones could disrupt your own hormonal balance? You bet! Consumption of milk has been linked to certain cases of male infertility.
6. Avoid the two most common allergens
The link between food intolerances and anti-sperm antibodies is now well established. Studies have found that women with multiple allergies and food intolerances were more likely to miscarry. An overactive immune system is more likely to attack its own body cells. From an immunological point of view an embryo and sperm cell are foreign bodies. But Mother Nature was clever; she programmed our immune systems to distinguish between an everyday invader and a sperm cell or embryo.
The two most widely spread food intolerances are gluten and dairy. I recommend all my patients have an IgG immunoglobulin test done to check if you are dairy and gluten intolerant. But since most people have some level of allergy to gluten and/or dairy, it’s advisable to avoid gluten and dairy altogether during the preconception and pregnancy period.
7. Have an STD check
Most people believe both they and their partner are STD free. However there are some STDs which can be asymptomatic, meaning that you may not be aware you have them, as there are no obvious symptoms. One such STD is a Chlamydia infection. In men, a Chlamydia infection can lead to sperm abnormalities including sperm antibodies. In women, it can lead to scarring, blocked tubes and miscarriage. Most STD’s are easy to treat, so it pays for both partners to have an STD check.
9. Implement stress reduction exercises into your daily wellness routine.
It is has been confirmed that stress has an enormous negative influence on our reproductive health. In addition, difficulties with trying to conceive produce as much stress as someone facing a life-threatening health problem or situation. It’s imperative to implement strategies to reduce stress on a daily basis. There are plenty of ways to do this, and include such things as regular exercise, deep breathing techniques, yoga or other slow-stretching exercises, and meditation. The folks at Circle+Bloom specialize in daily relaxation and mind-body exercises to implement to help reduce stress and unlock the powers of the mind’s healing power. They have a free MP3 fertility relaxation program to begin immediately.
9. Minimize intake of coffee and alcohol. Stop smoking immediately.
The studies and research findings of the effects of coffee on your fertility are mixed. But one study showed an alarming result. It found as little as 1 cup of coffee per day increases the risk of not conceiving by 55%. Try switching your daily caffeine with a healthy alternative like green tea. Alcohol has also been shown to be harmful to women’s eggs and men’s sperm. And although it’s been known for a long time that drinking while pregnant is a no-no, drinking before pregnancy has been largely ignored.
Smoking and recreational drugs can also reduce your odds of conception. A study tested the effects of cigarette smoking on semen quality in men and found that sperm motility (ability to propel forward) decreased in light smokers while heavy smoking produced abnormal sperm shape. Scientists have discovered that quitting smoking may increase sperm count in men who quit smoking for 5-15 months by 50% – 800% respectively.
10. Take a good quality preconception and pregnancy supplement
Regardless of whether you are eating organic produce and a healthy diet, you are unlikely to be getting all the nutrients your body needs for optimal fertility from your diet. This is why supplementation is important. Getting pregnant and growing a new human being with your own reserves, requires a surplus of nutrients and energy. In your body’s accounting terms, pregnancy is a luxury, a splurge of energy and nutrients.
For more detailed information on treating infertility naturally including specific information on all fertility nutrients, the right dosages, fertility diet, what to avoid, and the influence of stress and sleep on fertility, please refer to my fertility program The Natural Fertility Prescription which goes into much more detail on this topic. If you want to undertake a preconception program or address a specific fertility condition naturally, I highly suggest you buy the actual eBook – see my website Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com for more info.
Written by © 2009 Iva Keene and Natural Fertility Prescription, www.natural-fertility-prescription.com