I don’t know why but we are always grossed out by discharges and sometimes we fail to see the importance of them, especially when it comes to fertility. As part of my consultation with patients who are trying to conceive I always ask if they are aware of their fertile period? Do they notice any discharge and if so how much and when?
This ‘discharge’ (such a horrid word for such an important fertility fluid!) is vital for conception as it shows that the body is getting ready to release an egg and to aid sperm on their long journey to reach the egg for the magic conception to happen. In chinese medicine this is the time that yin turns into yang, the cooling phase of the run up to ovulation turns in the incubation phase for implantation.
As an acupuncturist and naturopath I am looking to help increase/promote cervical fluids with acupuncture, diet, lifestyle and correct supplements. And obviously to include the couple having sex in the fertile period!
There are lots of misconceptions about cervical mucus, here is some info to help you decipher your discharges…!
Fertile mucus means you are ‘potentially’ fertile.
It’s not the day we see the most amount of fertile mucus (characteristically clear/egg white consistency), it’s the last day we recognise this mucus. If the mucus lasts for 4-5 days this can be key for timing intercourse.
Cervical fluid changes with fertility and goes through a predictable pattern each and every cycle. After you have finished menstruating you should have a period of no discharge at all.
It should then be:
1. Sticky – In a 28 day cycle, this will be around day 7 or so. Your cervix will start producing a sticky or pasty kind of cervical fluid. This is the beginning of the fertile period.
2. Creamy – As your cycle progresses, your estrogen level is rising daily and the water content of your cervical fluid will increase.
3. Egg white – It is called this as it resembles raw egg white. It’s clear and slippery and can usually stretch an inch or more between a finger and thumb. This is the really fertile stuff!! It’s alkaline and keep sperm alive for up to 5 days inside your body.
4. Watery – Sometimes the water content inside a woman’s cervical fluid will be so high that the eggwhite cervical fluid is more like water, it’s clear, slippery and does not hold any shape. You will know it’s there by a very wet sensation in your vagina. This is very fertile cervical mucus is the last stage of the fertile period and suggests that the egg is about to be released.
5. Dry – this happens quickly after the wet period/egg release, the fertile window has finished for this cycle. Some women do experience a water cervical fluid the day before thee period, this is the endometrial lining starting to break up.
Cervical fluid is an incredibly valuable substance that is produced by your cervix. It’s made up of water, sugars, electrolytes and proteins. Fertile cervical fluid keeps sperm alive once it is inside the vagina. It provides nutrients, a hospitable alkaline environment and aids in transportation. Cervical fluid helps the sperm survive, sometimes for up to 5 days while waiting for the egg to be released. It also tells a lot about the state of a woman’s hormones.
Cervical fluid helps the sperm in 3 ways:
1. It provides an alkaline environment for the sperm. A woman’s vagina is slightly acidic and hostile to sperm. Fertile cervical mucus is alkaline, like a mans semen, and provides a safe harbour for the sperm.
2. It provides sustenance for the sperm while they swim on the way on up through the cervix, to reach the egg in the fallopian tube. The sperm need food along the way and fertile cervical fluid provides the needed nutrition.
3. It provides an easy pathway for the sperm to swim through. It also helps filter out irregular sperm so only the most suitable arrive at the egg.
There are many foods and supplements that can improve your cervical mucus such as royal jelly, evening primrose oil, increase your omega 3’s, avocados, olives etc…
I look at each women/couple individually and recommended foods and supplements to go with the acupuncture fertility program.
6 Week Detox Program finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle program that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.
Week 2 – Caffeine Detox
Well done, hopefully you have survived week one of my detox. Well, how was it? Did you manage to keep away from the white wine?
Even if you slipped up you should carry on with the detox program, as each week is accumulative you will continue to stay clear of alcohol.
This week the item to eliminate is caffeine. This is going to be tougher as caffeine is an everyday item, the main culprits being coffee & tea.
Below is a chart that shows the caffeine content in everyday items:
Item Caffeine (mg)
Coffee, brewed (240ml/8oz) 60-120
Coffee, instant (240ml/8oz) 70
Coffee, decaf (240ml/8oz) 2-5
Tea, black, 5-min steep (240ml/8oz) 60-100
Tea, green (240ml/8oz) 20
Coca-Cola (355ml/12oz) 34
Milk Choc (30g/1oz) 1-15
Dark Choc (30g/1oz) 20
As you can see from this, it’s not just tea & coffee that you have to eliminate from your diet. Sorry the chocolate has to go…! As you may know, green tea has many health benefits but I will come back to these at a later date, for now all you need to know is that it contains caffeine so it’s a no, no.
What you can drink:
It’s all about the herbal tea’s, these days the shops are filled with so many flavours and you will be surprised at how good they taste. I recommend that you get yourself a ‘Tower of Tea’, below is mine, I’ve been an herbal tea addict for a long time and I’m always finding new flavours. My new favourite is from a brand called Clipper and is an Orange & Coconut flavour – tasty.
Side effects from detoxing from Caffeine:
Caffeine is a drug. It’s addictive, gives you a sudden rush of energy and offers you a bit of a high, which is usually followed by a bit of a crash. Once you start to feel the crash, more caffeine is needed to maintain stimulation. But the biggest sign that caffeine is a drug is that when you have a go at detoxing from it, you will experience crazy withdrawal symptoms.
Headaches, nausea and moods so bad…this is what prolonged periods of abstinence can do to the caffeine addicted. Drinking coffee is a ritual and symbol of important, busy people. The more responsibilities we have, the bigger the cup of coffee we need to carry around with us. I never drank Coffee until I started studying to be an Acupuncturist & Naturopath, I think that it was the working full-time and studying that did it. I managed to give up coffee and black tea this time last year whilst doing this detox, I’m still partial to a bit of dark chocolate now and again.
The more stress we have in our life, the more caffeine we drink. It’s a vicious cycle. We need caffeine to keep up with the pace of modern life, but if coffee is your choice, itself actually helps to create nervous energy. Coffee wakes us up and gets us going, but over time this unnatural stimulation of our nerves creates stress levels that wreak havoc on our immune systems, hormones and our adrenals.
It is widely known that caffeine enhances alertness and concentration, but the negative effects are pretty well downplayed. The health risks include inhibiting the absorption of essential minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc as well as B vitamins. Many studies have also linked heavy coffee consumption with higher risks for miscarriages, osteoporosis and heart disease.
Drinking caffeine is a habit that should be gradually given up – especially if you rely on more than one cup each day. Caffeine withdrawal is not fun – for you or for those around you. Here are a few things you can do to help you kick the habit:
1. Drink more water – you can help to flush out the caffeine in your system by drinking a lot more water throughout the day.
2. Try Dandelion and Chicory root blend tea – this tea is a great coffee substitute as it looks like coffee and it still has a rich flavor. You can also add oat milk or almond milk if you prefer it creamy. This stuff is rich in minerals, provides energy and is also known for its detoxifying properties.
3. Get plenty of rest – when you take caffeine away, your body won’t know what’s hit it. Without that false energy, you will most likely feel tired and more lethargic than usual. Be gentle with yourself and honor your body with more sleep and rest.
In traditional Chinese Medicine dampness comes from a failure to burn off or transform moisture in the body. It is nearly always associated with a weak Spleen, often with a weak Kidney and sometimes a weak Lung – all from a Chinese Medicine perspective.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the Spleen is expressed as the digestive system, the Spleen is responsible for adapting food to nourish and support our system. This process is called ‘transportation and transformation’. The stronger or Spleen function is the better we are able to extract nourishment from any food to support our body’s needs.
Dampness can lodge in a specific part of the body or affect us more generally, dampness can make us feel heavy and tired and it can make us swell up and it can obstruct our body’s functions.
Some people are more prone to damp than others, a tendency towards dampness can be aggravated by living in damp conditions and places (ex. Ireland) or by a sedentary lifestyle. It needs the transformative power of the body’s Yang Qi (energy) to stop it accumulating. Eating in ways which inhibit our Spleen function or which injure the Yang Qi will increase our tendency towards damp.
Dampness may also be caused by pathogens lodged in the body which have not been properly expelled or by the use of suppressant drugs.
Foods which promote dampness are:
Dairy – milk, cheese, yogurts, ice cream – Sheep & Goats products are less dampening
Wheat – breads, pastry’s, biscuits, all yeast products
Pork & rich meat
Processed foods, sugar & sweeteners
Concentrated juice’s especially Orange & Tomato
Bananas – these are a big NO in TCM
In particular foods that need to be avoided are too much raw, cold, sweet & rich foods and the overconsumption of fluid, especially cold water.
Dampness can be divided into three kinds:
This is the generalised condition of dampness associated with weakness of the Spleen, in may manifest in such ways as tiredness/aches in the limbs, digestive weakness or muzzy head. How it manifests depends on our individual constitution.
This describes a condition of edema where dampness is retained as water; this may be specific or general in location. It causes us to swell, be become waterlogged.
This describes a more sticky manifestation of dampness. It often lodges in particular organs and combines easily with heat or cold. Phlegm or mucus congeals and obstructs our functioning.
Resolving Dampness though food and Acupuncture:
All dampness is treated by strengthening the Spleen and may also need tonification of the Kidneys, Lung and Yang. Phlegm demands the reduction of Phlegm-forming foods and the use of Phlegm- resolving foods. Water is helped by Water-removing (diuretic) foods. Acupuncture in conjunction with the correct foods can help eliminate damp, water and phlegm.
Dampness is often the result of overeating or over-nutrition. It is important to support the Spleen to avoid the over accumulation of Dampness.
Here are some tips on how to assist the Spleen with its digestive function:
Joy – enjoy your food, have a good relationship with food
Positive attitude – welcome food as wholeheartedly as you can
Relaxation – the Chinese believe not to mix food with work, watching TV or reading, also important to relax your posture as not to hinder the passage of food through your body.
Chew well – well chewed food lessens the work for your digestive organs and increases the efficient extraction of nutrients, it also warms chilled foods.
Stop just before you are full – if you overeat at any one meal, you create stagnation, a temporary queue of food waiting to be processed. This results in feeling tired.
Don’t flood the Spleen – the Spleen does not like too much fluid with a meal. A little warm fluid with a meal is helpful; nut too much dilutes the Spleen’s action and weakens digestion.
Don’t chill the Spleen – too much raw or chilled food or fluid will also weaken the Spleen, the digestive process needs warmth.
Eat your main meal early – when your main meal is eaten late at night, your system is naturally slowing down and the food will sit around longer and creates stagnation.
A question on the minds of many women trying to get pregnant is whether the caffeine in their morning cup of coffee affects their fertility.
A large study carried out by the Yale Medical School found that the risk of infertility (which they defined as not being able to conceive after 12 months) was 55% higher for women drinking just 1 cup of coffee per day, this was then 100% higher for women drinking 1.5 – 3 cups per day and 176% higher for more than 3 cups per day (1) and this was then backed up 5 years later by a study in Europe which found that a high caffeine intake in women slowed rates of conception. (2)
Additionally there is evidence that coffee drinking in men and women increases miscarriage rates and that caffeine intake during pregnancy has a negative influence of fetal growth. (3) Most studies indicate that it is the consumption of 300mg or more of caffeine daily that can lead to fertility problems, it is estimated that most Americans drink more that 350mg per day, as we are not far behind America in the obesity epidemic I assume that the figure for the UK & Ireland is similar to this.
Also remember that there is not just caffeine in Coffee, it lurks in tea, carbonated drinks and chocolate. Below is a chart that shows the Caffeine content in everyday items:
Item Caffeine (mg)
Coffee, brewed (240ml/8oz) – 60-120mg
Coffee, instant (240ml/8oz) – 70mg
Coffee, decaf (240ml/8oz) – 2-5mg
Tea, black, 5-min steep (240ml/8oz) – 60-100mg
Tea, green (240ml/8oz) – 20mg
Coca-Cola (355ml/12oz) – 34mg
Milk Chocolate (30g/1oz) – 1-15mg
Dark Chocolate (30g/1oz) – 20mg
So, coffee drinkers having difficulty falling pregnant are advised to reduce their intake significantly and find alternatives to their morning and afternoon fix.
Dulgosz L, Brachs M B 1992 Coffee reduces fertility. Epidemiologic Reviews 14:83
Bolumar F. Olsen J. Rebagliato M, Bisanti L 1997 Caffeine intake and delayed conception: a European multicentre study on infertility and subfecundity. European Study Group on Infertility and Subfecundity. American Journal of Epidemiology 146(I):32-41
Ford J H, MacCormack L, Hiller J 1994 Pregnancy and lifestyle study. Mutation Research 313:153-164
Littleton J, Clavey S 2004 Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine. Churchill Livingstone
6 Week Detox Program finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle Naturopathic programme that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.
Well done, week 6 already, I don’t know about you but I feel great, my skin is clearer, I’ve lost a few pounds but the main thing is I feel alive. It has been tough but the good thing about this Detox is that it has been slow and hopefully some of the lifestyle changes you have made during this programme will become permanent. I know that is the case for me.
Anyway it’s not quiet over yet, this week we need to quit Sugar then this is followed by a 2 day juice detox. Sounds hard yes? But it should be easy, you have already eliminated from your diet a huge proportion of where sugars, mainly hidden sugars lie – up to now you have eliminated Alcohol (full of hidden Sugars), Caffeine (you will have not had any Chocolate), Meat (processed meats contain Sugars), Dairy (again full of hidden Sugars, especially Yogurts & Cheeses and ‘low-fat’ options) and Wheat/Gluten (full of Sugars especially processed sauces and pastries). So if you think about it this week should not be as hard as you think as you have eliminated all of the above & hopefully processed foods. You are a Vegetarian eating mainly veg, fruits, fish, eggs, beans & lentils – easy. Plus your sugar cravings should have of diminished some what as you have not been eating cakes, pastries, chocolate etc…
Now it’s time to ditch the fizzy drinks, any processed cereals and bars (the added sugars in some of the ‘healthy’ bars is phenomenal), sweets (these must go!), concentrated juices and squash, dried fruits and jams and many high sugar fruits such as Apples and Bananas.
Five Sugar traps to avoid
These foods are health-food shop favourites and are filled to the brim with sugar:
Low Fat Yogurt/Dairy – When manufacturers take the fat out of dairy they have to replace the taste and texture with something – that something is sugar. A ‘natural’ low-fat individual tub of yogurt can contain six teaspoons of sugar! ‘Low-fat’, ‘sugar free’ and ‘no added sugar’ labels are in fact full of sugar (fructose) and are highly fat creating; the ‘full-fat’ option is by far the healthiest!
Agave – This is a fashionable sugar-substitute and is made from a South American plant and marked as ‘low-GI’ and healthy. Beware; this is 70-90% fructose.
Muesli – Some muesli’s promoted at low-fat and healthy have recently been found to contain more sugar than Coco Pops – up to 44% sugar.
Dried Fruits, Dates & Goji Berries – Any product containing a lot of dried fruit is going to be full of fructose. When you take the water out of fruit your left with a lot of sugar – about 50-70%, Dates are the worst culprits.
Fruit Juice – A 375ml glass of Apple juice contains the same amount of sugar as the same glass of Coca-Cola – about 10 teaspoons. Some Vegetable juices such as Carrot and Beetroot are also high in Sugar. Eat your vegetables and fruits whole, Apples and Bananas are the worst culprits and Berries and Kiwis are the best.
Some Sugar facts…
Sugar comes in two halves – normal table sugar comprises of 50% glucose – which is safe (in moderation) and is easily metabolised by our bodies – and 50% fructose. Fructose is the issue. So when we say “sugar”, we are referring to the fructose component.
There is good sugar and bad sugar?
There’s safe and unsafe sugar. Glucose and lactose (in milk) are safe – they contain no fructose. They occur naturally in a lot of foods. Fructose, however, is, always bad. And fructose is fructose, whether it’s consumed in “healthy” forms or not – the body reads it the same way.
Honey is 40% fructose, agave is 70 – 90% fructose… these are often labelled as “good” or healthy sugars when they’re clearly not.
Fruit contains a lot of fructose too, but if consumed whole, the water and fibre content offsets things a little (although studies show we really should only be eating one to two pieces of low-fructose fruits each day).
What are some of the negative effects of too much sugar?
Weight gain is an immediate one. Fructose goes straight to the liver as fat. The issues spin off from there, primarily metabolic syndrome, which leads to diabetes, cholesterol issues and heart disease. Studies now link sugar to all these “modern” diseases, all of which have risen at the same rate as our sugar consumption.
My main aim of this detox programme is to quit sugar for good; there is an article in the Observer today titled ‘Is Sugar the new Tobacco?’ This is so true, look at the obesity epidemic that is apparent everywhere you look and especially with Children, re-education is needed to reduce our sugar intake and take charge of our health.
Eliminating Sugar will not only help you lose weight, lift your energy levels and get glowing skin it will have huge health benefits and help prevent against diseases such as Diabetes and Cancer’s.
I have discovered this woman in Australia called Sarah Wilson, she has an amazing book called ‘I Quit Sugar’, it really is amazing makes you realise the tasty things that you can create without sugar.
So good luck with this week, there will be updates throughout the week and on how to prepare for the 2 day juice detox.
6 Week Detox Program finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle Naturopathic programme that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.
So how are you getting on with the detox, are you starting to have more energy and your skin looking brighter? I hope so, I can defiantly feel a difference and it’s so good to not be relying on Caffeine for that pick me up, I feel great. Still a way to go though, this week the food group to eliminate is Dairy.
There are so many misconceptions with Dairy, we are lead to believe from a young age (thanks to the government funded Dairy Council) that Milk is good for us and will help protect us from diseases such as Osteoporosis and Heart Disease and that it’s full of vitamins and minerals (yeah right!). In fact is that dairy is responsible for so many health disorders especially allergies, eczema, asthma, arthritis, bloating and acne as well as being high in saturated fat, cholesterol and calories.
Think about it, we are the only mammal on the planet that drinks another mammal’s milk; this surely has to be wrong. Here are a few further facts on dairy:
After weaning, milk is not an essential part of an adult’s diet, after the age about two the enzyme rennin, responsible for milks proper digestion dries up. Milk can damage the small intestinal wall leading it to be permeated; this can lead to a lot of health problems.
Dairy attacks the lymphatic system – this is the first line of defence for the body, cow’s milk is high in acid and this causes congestion of the lymph as bacterial cultures can develop very quickly, this is a primary source of infection for the body especially in children – ear infections, eczema, asthma etc…
Cultures that don’t drink milk have the strongest bones.
We are all lead to believe that the Calcium in dairy is good for our bones, realistically the calcium that we ingest into our body’s from dairy products creates too much calcium, this cannot be absorbed without magnesium, most people are deficient in magnesium, therefore the calcium is ‘free’ and cannot be used.
The high acids in dairy products are a main factor in Osteoporosis, instead of going for the diary option you should switch to green leafy veg. Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50%, compared with about 32% for milk. Additionally since animal protein induces calcium excretion in the urine, the calcium retention from vegetables is higher plus you are also getting the Magnesium you require to absorb the Calcium, so it is of more benefit.
Green vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without problems associated with diary. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not need as much when you don’t consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine.
Milk and dairy are a huge factor in the production of Gall Stones
Because of the demand for dairy, cows need to produce 55 litres a day to be viable, this is not possible without the help of growth hormones and antibiotics, and we are also ingesting these nasty’s.
So as you can see there are many health benefits from eliminating dairy and maintaining a plant based diet. There are some really good dairy free options to look out for and most supermarkets and all health stores stock them.
Every dairy product has a non-dairy alternative. Milk from cows and other animals is used as a beverage and in recipes for both sweet and savoury foods. You can get non-dairy milk from Soya, Almond, Rice and Coconut milk – my personal preference is from a brand called Kara, have a Coconut milk and it is not as sweet as some of the alternatives and is great for cooking with. If a recipe calls for buttermilk, simply stir 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar into 1 cup of soy milk and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
With more people giving up dairy for health or dietary reasons, the selection of soy-based yogurts is growing. Peruse the supermarket yogurt section and you’ll find plain, vanilla and fruit flavoured soy yogurts. Soy yogurt seamlessly replaces dairy-based yogurt as a snack and in recipes.
Tofu and vegan cheeses are delicious non-dairy substitutes for nearly all types of cheese. You may have to visit a natural foods store to find vegan cheeses, but tofu is available at most grocery stores. You can use crumbled, seasoned tofu in place of cottage cheese or ricotta.
Replacing ice cream:
If ice cream is one of your favourite desserts, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the vast selection of non-dairy ice creams made from soy, rice and coconut.
Your morning toast habit and love of baking don’t have to end just because you’re eliminating butter from your diet. Dairy-free or vegan butter substitutes come in stick, spreadable and shortening forms and can be used in many recipes, in addition to adding moistness and flavour to your breakfast foods. If you opt for margarine, go with organic and trans fat-free varieties.
One more tip, remember to read labels, just because you eliminate the obvious dairy in your diet (i.e., milk, yogurt, cheese and butter) doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Dairy may lurk in other everyday foods. Read labels on all packaged foods before buying or consuming. Be on the lookout for — and avoid — these common dairy-derived ingredients: casein, whey, ghee, lactic acid, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin, lactose, milk sugar and recaldent (found in dental products).
This week may sound as if it’s going to be tough, but stick with it, the health benefits from eliminating dairy are immense. Good Luck as always and please get in touch if you have any further questions.
6 Week Detox Program finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle Naturopathic programme that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.
So, how are you surviving without that Caffeine hit? It’s hard and I’ll be the first to admit there have been points this week where I have just wanted to get a Cappuccino, but I’ve stuck with it :). If the latter half of the week has been easier, this is because Caffeine is leaving your system and if you are feeling a bit tired you have probably been relying on Caffeine for energy. If you have experienced any headaches, this is a sign that your body has been dependent on Caffeine. If you can over the weekend, sleep in for a while, relax and nap if needed to build your energy back up.
Here are a few more tips to help you stay off Caffeine:
Drink at least 1-1.5 liters of purified water throughout the day. Staying hydrated will help prevent that caffeine withdrawal headache as well as flush toxins from your system.
Enjoy unlimited amounts of herbal tea as I said before there are hundreds of delicious blends to choose from, tantalize your taste buds!
Get your body moving! Go for a walk, a jog or go to a Yoga class. Sweating will help to release the toxins from your system and exercise helps to release the endorphins that keep us upbeat and happy.
I spoke about these earlier in the week, there are several companies that make coffee alternatives made from barley, rye, malt and chicory. These taste very much like coffee and can be a fabulous alternative to coffee. However, if you are celiac or gluten sensitive, please avoid these.
Keep up the good work, you will feel great for it!
If you would like to ask me any questions please feel free to contact me.
Fertility simply refers to a couple’s chances of becoming pregnant. If you are fertile, than there is a good chance that you will become pregnant at some point in time. Though pregnancy may not happen right away, if both a man and a woman are fertile, they will conceive a child eventually. Certain factors play a key role in determining fertility. In order for a woman to be fertile she must produce a viable egg during each monthly cycle. In order for a man to be fertile he must be able to produce strong and healthy sperm that can fertilize this egg. Numerous factors play a part in these roles including your diet, lifestyle and stress management. Keeping in mind the following guidelines, they will increase both your chances of conceiving and improve the health of your baby also.
Start a 3 month plan incorporating Diet, Exercise, Lifestyle and Stress management.
Why 3 months?
It takes 3 months for eggs to mature and be ready for ovulation
Men also take 3 months to produce a batch of sperm
The body requires 3 months to eliminate toxins and increase to optimum nutrient status
Optimize nutrient intake using following information. Eat a diet sufficient in Carbohydrates, Fibre, EFA (essential fatty acids) with a healthy amount of protein.Drink plenty of water 6-8 250 ml glasses per day.
Decrease Saturated Fats
Increased amounts of Saturated Fats are associated with increase in oestrogen causing an oestrogen imbalance. They also trigger body to produce inflammatory substances which can also increase period pains. They also block the body’s ability to absorb Essential Fatty Acids or “good” fats.
Food Sources: Reduce meat and dairy. Avoid all processed foods, such as biscuits, cakes, white bread, white pasta, and white rice. Aim for whole foods in their natural state.
Increase your Good Fats
Especially the omega 3 as they help decrease inflammation in the body, hormone balance and development of a baby brain, eyes and nervous system.
Food Sources: You will find good fats especially Omega 3 in oily fish e.g. salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring, fresh tuna. Also found in walnuts, flax and pumpkins. Vegetable sources include kale and cabbage.
Increase Fibre intake
Fibre helps control the levels of Oestrogen. Old oestrogen enters the gut where fibre binds and helps excrete it from the system thus preventing re-absorption of old oestrogen into circulatory system leading to oestrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance.
Soluble fibre: found in vegetables, fruit, oats and beans.
Vitamin C – can trigger ovulation, with Vitamin E it may keep you fertile longer and improve the quality of the eggs.
Food Sources: Fruit, vegetables, citrus fruits, berries, green vegetables such as brussel sprouts and cauliflower.
Vitamin E – plays an important role in egg production.
Food Sources: Seeds, nuts, egg yolk, oily fish and broccoli.
Folic Acid – critical to baby’s health and in lowering risk of low birth weight, premature birth, and/or neural tube defects, such as Spina Bifida and Anencephaly.
Vitamin A – Important for your baby’s embryonic growth – including the development of the heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes & bones and the circulatory , respiratory and central nervous system. It also helps with infection resistance and fat metabolism. It also helps to assure you that your cervical fluid will be sperm-nourishing, fertile consistency. It also increases the amount of fertile fluid.
Food Sources: Coloured fruit & vegetables.
Zinc – essential for conception. Important for men to ensure the head of the sperm is hard and can penetrate the egg to fertilise.
Magnesium: nuts, vegetables, brown rice, eggs & sunflower seeds.
Manganese: help boost sperm quality, improves health of baby.
Food Sources: Wholegrains, seeds, leafy green vegetables, green beans, sweet potatoes, onions, strawberries, bananas, apples & eggs.
Selenium: essential for sperm production.
Food Sources: Found in eggs, nuts (Brazil), broccoli & garlic.
Calcium: needed for babies bones, teeth & nervous system.
Food Sources: Organic dairy products, salmon, oranges, prunes, sesame seeds, almonds, pulses, wholegrains and green leafy vegetables.
Royal Jelly: Royal Jelly is rich in amino acids (29 to be exact), lipids, sugars, some vitamins, fatty acids and most importantly, proteins. It contains high levels of vitamin D and E as well as ample levels of Iron & Calcium.
Evening primrose oil: This is an essential fatty acid that you can take from your period until ovulation to improve fertile mucus. It is not recommended to take this after ovulation as it can cause mild contractions in the uterus and prevent implantation.
Co Q 10: Improves ovulation and even rejuvenates eggs so that they act like younger eggs, can be linked to higher success rates in IVF. In men it is thought to have a protective action on sperm, improving the count and motility.
Exercising encourages hormonal balance which in turn increases your fertility, aim for 30 mins a day gentle exercise. Try incorporate Yoga or Pilates to de-stress.
Chronic stress leads to high levels of the hormone cortisol, however in order to continually make cortisol your body requires progesterone, decreasing the amount available for your fertility cycle. Stress can also affect the release of other hormones necessary for your cycle. It can also affect libido inevitably affecting chances of conceiving.
Detox your lifestyle
Avoid environmental toxins e.g. organic foods as much as possible, avoid plastic containers and bottles which contain xenoestrogens disrupting your hormone balance and instead use cast iron, steel or glass cookware.
Watch your weight
A certain amount of body fat is essential for conception however if too low you may stop ovulation. If it is too high, it can interfere with ovulation as excess fat causes imbalance in the ratios of reproductive hormones. Men being overweight can affect the quality and quantity of your sperm. Achieve optimal weight through healthy eating and exercise.
Coffee can delay conception for a year, its best to try to avoid completely if you can.
Alcohol may increase production of oestrogen. Alcohol may decrease fertility by half and increase risk of miscarriage. 1-2 glasses of wine ok if special occasion only, however if you experience any hormonal imbalances it is best to avoid completely.
Smoking may increase the risk of miscarriage; it may decrease oestrogen by interfering with ability of cells in the ovaries to make oestrogen. Smoking can increase the rate at which a woman loses eggs causing early onset of the menopause.
It is always best to try to get your daily Vitamins, Minerals and Essential fatty acid’s through food sources, but this is not always possible, this is when supplementation comes in.
Female Vitamins & Minerals to maximise Fertility
Pre-natal Multi Vitamin & Mineral – improves nutritional status
B complex – reduces stress and is a nervous system tonic
B6 – synthesis of RNA & DNA – will be in B complex
Folic Acid – 400mcg
EPA (essential fatty acids) – for healthy glandular function and hormone balancer
Selenium – deficiency is linked to infertility
Vitamin E – use D-alpha-topherol form, carries oxygen to sex glands
Zinc – for cell division
Vitamin C – improves hormone levels
Vitamin D – boost levels of progesterone and estrogen, which regulate the menstrual cycle & improve the likelihood of successful conception
Co-enzyme Q 10 – needed for basic functioning of cells and fertility benefit for women with low egg reserve
Royal Jelly – has been shown to help balance hormones, to increase libido and support egg health
Evening Primrose oil – improve fertile mucus
Male Vitamins & Minerals to maximise Fertility
Multi Vitamin & Mineral – to improve nutritional status
Vitamin E – increases sperm count and carries oxygen to sex organs – D-alpha-topherol form
Vitamin C – helps to manufacture healthy sperm, prevents sperm from sticking together and can improve their motility, can increase sperm up to 1/3 – 500mg twice a day
Vitamin D – essential for the healthy development of the nucleus of the sperm cell, and helps maintain semen quality and sperm count. Vitamin D also increases levels of testosterone, which may boost libido
Zinc – cell division and improves desire & ejaculation
Selenium – lack of selenium is linked with sterility
Vitamin B Complex – stress and nervous system tonic
L-Arginine & L-Carnitine – crucial for male fertility and sperm development
Coenzyme Q10 – energy for sperm
I treat fertility patients with Acupuncture and Naturopathy. For advice on recommended daily amounts, the best brands and where to get supplements please contact me.