Do you need to boost your fertility? Would you prefer to do so naturally? Is your fertility affected by suspected Low Ovarian Reserve, Low Antral Follicle count or advanced age? If yes, then these tips are for you.
Of course, specific professional advice tailored to your unique situation is the best way. Seeing an experienced Chinese Medicine practitioner, Naturopath or Function Medicine practitioner is the best way to obtain guidance to optimise your health and Natural Fertility. The health tips below can complement your care and is based on the science of minimising factors which can result in the premature recruitment or destruction of your ovarian follicles and ageing.
- Eat well. Avoid genetically modified food, plastics (which we eat & drink from), alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners and refined sugar. Eat whole, recognizable food with least amount of processing and heat application possible. Raw food is generally not well digested, steaming is best in this regard.
- Improve your digestive function. Poor nutrient absorption and/or availability can result in many problems specific to fertility. Some examples include DNA transcription errors, high levels of oxidative stress, poor mitochondrial function (this all basically has to do with how well your cells function), poor circulation, poor metabolism of toxins, weakened immune system and poor hormone synthesis. Chinese Medicine, whether it be herbs, qi gong or acupuncture can greatly benefit your digestion.
- Eat Organic. Including any animal products and their feed. Yes it’s worth it. Decreasing your exposure to environmental toxins where possible can help your fertility:
– HCB is one such toxin which is sprayed on grains as an antifungal. HCB can reduce ovulatory estradiol levels (basically your estrogen levels when you’re ovulating), causes degenerative changes in primordial follicles (your eggs at the start of their lifespan) and may induce premature ovarian failure¹
– Cadmium is another environmental toxin found in food and fertilisers which decreases the number of growing follicles (your young eggs), alters mitochondrial structure, disrupts progesterone synthesis², increases miscarriages and reduces gonadotropin binding³. This all basically means that Cadmium affects you negatively on a cellular and hormonal level in terms of getting pregnant.
– Arsenic is also found in insecticides, fungicides, chicken, pork, wine, tobacco and seafood. Arsenic causes oxidative damage to ovaries.4
- Eat a wide variety of organic fruits, vegetables and naturally fed lean meats, seeds and nuts. In particular, eat carrots, sweet potato, tomato, liver, beets, apples, avocados, purslane, kiwi fruit, parsnips, dill, celery, coriander & parsley. These foods aid the recruitment of your follicles (to become an egg to ovulate), and improve cellular function related to energy production and anti-ageing processes. Here are some handy juice recipes to boost your fertility.
Spinach, whole eggs, poultry and lamb help improve egg maturation, follicular recruitment. Note: Spinach bio- accumulates lead so know your sources, spinach should be used only in moderation during the follicular phase of your cycle (Usually day 1-14, from when your period starts until you ovulate).
Blueberries, bilberries, black berries and raspberries are also helpful. Minimising intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage is a good idea as they contain aflatoxins, which can work against getting pregnant.
- Don’t use bleached products, especially those used to wipe or insert into your vagina. Bleached products contain dioxins which are an industrial pollutant. Dioxin exposure can promote endometriosis, reduces FSH receptors (our cells ability to respond to this hormone which stimulates our follicles), can cause no ovulation and ovarian dysfunction.5
- Chew your food thoroughly. The extra saliva will help to break down some of the toxins that may be in your food. Yep, simple saliva can help. Try counting to 20 whilst chewing before you swallow each mouthful.
- Reduce your radiation exposure. Yes radiation can affect your ovaries and DNA. You can reduce your radiation exposure by not putting your mobile phone near your pelvis, ie. in your pocket. You can also turn your mobile phone, ipad or tablet off at night.
- Drink filtered water and shower in filtered water if possible. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are found in plastics, adhesive and flame retardants. We are exposed to them through eating fish, duck and tap water. PCBs cause complete reproductive failure in mink. PCBs reduce ovarian follicles, may cause premature ovarian failure and reduces fertilised eggs.6
- Remove toxic chemicals from your home, including what you wash in and put on your face. Mercury is found in some personal care products such as preparation H, spermicides, contact lens solutions and makeup. See upcoming Tip 15 for what Mercury can do for your fertility or should I say, infertility.
- Avoid green tea. Yes green tea has many health benefits, but not when we want to optimise ovarian reserve. Green tea reduces VEGF production and inhibits granulosa cell proliferation,7 which basically means that it doesn’t help your ovaries.
Enough to think about & implement for now? I understand that can be a lot to take in. Try introducing one change per week or even a month so the habit sticks. Please like our Facebook page or subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and resourceful information about health.
Also be aware that the lifespan of your eggs, from what we call a primordial follicle to ovulation is 150 days. Yes, 5 months. So boosting your fertility in this way can be gradual process but it needs to be sustainable and consistent over months to really make a difference. The added bonus of following this advice for pregnancy is that it can improve your health overall.
Dr. Elaine Hickman
B.H.Sc. TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac (Beijing)
Registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Freedom Chinese Medicine
261 Waterdale Road
Ivanhoe, VIC 3079
Ph. 03) 9486 5966
- Environ Health Perspec. 1995 December; 103(suppl 9) 63:69.
- Toxicology, 2007 Oct 8:239(3):204-12. Epub 2007 Jul 13.
- Reproductive Toxicology Volume 21, Issue 2, February 2006, Pages 179-185
- Food ChemToxicol. 2008 Mar; 46(3):1138-42.
- Environ Health Perspect. 1997 July; 105(7): 750:755.
- Environ Health Perspec. 1995 December; 103(suppl 9) 63:69
- Biofactors, 2005;23(1):25-33).