GUEST POST BY: ALI MILLER, RD, LD, CDE OWNER OF NATURALLY NOURISHED
This year alone, more than 9 million Americans will experience infertility. Infertility is big business – it’s a 3 Billion dollar a year industry that includes synthetic hormones, harmful interventions, and often extended emotional timeframes for families. The expense and stress of infertility along with side-effects of treatments are driving health trends to discover natural alternatives.
Using functional integrative medicine, I always start with assessing the root cause of chronic conditions. I work with my patients to screen for inflammatory and autoimmune conditions as well as hormonal imbalance and micronutrient deficiencies. I immediately remove the primary inflammatory foods from the diet including gluten, soy, refined sugar, corn, and emphasize a diet that is low-glycemic focused whole single ingredient foods. I also emphasize organic sourced ingredients as the role of glycophosphate residue from pesticides and chemical fertilizers has a strong correlation to infertility.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE FERTILITY:
- Being over or underweight, especially when combined with insulin resistance
- Exposure to toxins, which can be helped by a medically-supported detox program
- Stress, including elevated levels of androgens and cortisol
- Hormonal imbalance – PCOS, Endometriosis, low progesterone, estrogen dominance
- Micronutrient deficiency – leading to insufficient hormonal response, cellular development, and DNA expression
- Dysbiosis or imbalanced gut bacteria, this can often be seen by bloating, IBS, recurring UTIs, yeast infections
FOCUS ON THESE 5 FOODS TO BOOST YOUR FERTILITY:
1. Folate: avocado, leafy greens
This essential B vitamin plays a role in DNA and RNA production while supporting healthy fetal brain development, preventing neural tube defect, and preventing miscarriage.
2. B-vitamins: liver, nuts/seeds
Birth control and synthetic estrogen depletes B vitamins. Another primary contributor to leaching B’s out of your system is a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar! Getting foods rich in B-vitamins can support healthy estrogen metabolism, cellular health and energy production, as well as supporting a healthy weight and optimal response with insulin levels.
3. EPA/DHA: egg yolks from pasture-raised eggs, quality fish oil
These omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation making the uterus a more welcoming environment while aiding in hormonal expression. Flax seeds also can help to detoxify excess estrogen through their lignans, which can aid in removal of excess estrogen, allowing healthy hormonal balance.
4. Zinc: red meat, pumpkin seeds, cacao
This mineral plays a role in PCOS-driving elevated insulin, and imbalanced testosterone expression. It also plays a role with fat metabolism and ultimately vitamin A status, which can drive low antioxidant status leading to inflammation and unsuccessful fertilization or birth defects.
5. Stress supporters: Maca root
Maca stimulates the pituitary gland, which stimulates human growth hormone, oxytocin, and progesterone production. Progesterone aids in healthy implantation of the fertilized egg and provides support for healthy placental production to prevent miscarriage. Maca also aids in healthy libido which can make the fertility process a lot more fun and remove the forced mechanical role that can often dampen the process!
Want to learn more about the role of your hormones and your health? Consider an individual assessment and neurohormone assessment to look at your estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, stress hormones: cortisol, DHEA, and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and more! This gives a comprehensive picture on how your body is responding to stress, the role of estrogen dominance or progesterone deficiency, PCOS, and more!
About the Author: Ali Miller, RD, LD, CDE
Ali Miller is an integrative functional medicine practitioner with a background in naturopathic medicine. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietician, Certified Diabetes Educator, certified weight management specialist, recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in her field. Learn more about Ali and Naturally Nourished >>