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Fertility and diet? Is there a connection? According to one study shared by Harvard Health, there is!
Based on research initially released in 2018 on fertility and food, they found that the following vitamins and nutrients helped to create a positive effect on fertility for women who are actively trying to conceive:
- Folic Acid (we always recommend a methylated folate prenatal)
- Diets like the Mediterranean Diet (we recommend digging deeper with the elimination diet and food sensitivity testing so that the diet is personalized for you).
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin B12
Also, trans fat and “unhealthy diets,” which they define as those “rich in red and processed meats, potatoes, sweets, and sweetened beverages,” were found to negatively impact one’s fertility health.
As for men, there have been studies showing semen quality can improve with healthy diets. Importantly, semen quality is not a perfect predictor of fertility, and most studies did not examine the impact of paternal diet on the rate of successful pregnancies.
What Does All Of This Mean?
We’re glad you asked! When you’re trying to conceive and not achieve a pregnancy, there are typical standard tests reproductive endocrinologists will perform to see the issue. This often entails blood work, looking at your hormone levels, an ultrasound semen analysis, and a look at your fertility and health history.
While these are all insightful tests, other areas often get missed. They include looking at your thyroid function if you have any long-term hormonal birth control use in your history, blood sugar imbalance, over-exercising, obesity, trauma, and diet.
The science behind our Fab Fertile Diet Challenge incorporates elements of these tests mentioned above and the research done by Harvard Health. The 18,000 nurses in this study followed five of the recommendations, reducing their risk of ovulatory infertility by more than 80-90%. That’s a substantial achievement with a set of simple, inexpensive, and tasty dietary changes!
The primary takeaways were:
- Choose slow carbs, not no carbs. (our recommendation is to opt for gluten free grains)
- Skim milk appears to promote infertility. (our recommendation is to do an elimination diet first to see if you have an intolerance to dairy)
- Take a multi-vitamin. (our recommendation is to opt for methylated folate)
- Drink lots of water. (our recommendation is to aim for 50-75% of your body weight in ounces of water per day)
- Be at a healthy weight. (weight loss may be difficult if there is inflammation – so an elimination diet may be helpful)
However, every patient is different, and what may be right for you eating-wise may not be suitable for another. While the above are helpful guidelines, it’s vital to discover what YOUR body needs to be at its healthiest. To best determine this, Functional Medicine can be fundamental. A functional approach can uncover healing opportunities that determine how and why infertility issues can occur. From there, we can collaboratively look at ways to restore your health by addressing your root cause.
In our Fab Fertile Fertility Preparation Program, we look at frequently missed health aspects that impact your fertility, and we develop a personalized diet and lifestyle protocol specifically for you. We take a very detailed health history and ask questions that your conventional doctor may not have considered. We also complete a full Blood Chemistry Review, food sensitivity, hormone (DUTCH), and DNA stool testing. Every detail can offer valuable insight into how best to move forward in your quest to be a parent.
Our program includes looking into whether you consume enough fat, ensuring blood sugar is balanced, eliminating processed food, getting enough protein, and consuming foods suitable for your body. We also look into how much rest you’re getting as interrupted sleep can lead to blood sugar imbalance. We’ll also discuss if you have an existing exercise routine.
Are You Ready to Take Action to Improve Your Fertility?
Are you ready to have a baby? Of course, you are. So, let’s start to balance your hormones and lay the foundation for a healthy pregnancy! You can sign up for the Fertility Diet Challenge here. Discover the functional approach on the Harvard Nurse’s study recommendations so that you can further optimize your chances of pregnancy success.
Sarah Clark empowers couples to discover how lifestyle and diet can dramatically impact their chances of conceiving. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at 28 and had both her kids with donor eggs. Not until years later did she discover that the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance and later a gut infection.
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