Fertility The Natural Way
Fertility problems for men
have dramatically increased not only in the US but in many countries as well. If you look
it up you may be shocked to learn that many scientists are calling this decline a
"crises"! Some scientists believe that at the current rate of decline in
fertility the human race is headed toward extinction! More and more couples planning to
have a baby will have trouble conceiving, many are turning to natural fertility treatments
to help them have a family.
Natural fertility treatment plans can be extensive and really should to be adjusted to
suit your individual needs. The natural approach to fertility has been enormously
successful, largely because natural treatments encompass the many, many elements that can
be at the root of your fertility problems. A study conducted by the University of Surrey
showed that couples with a previous history of infertility who made changes in their
lifestyle and diet and took nutritional supplements had an 80 percent success rate. Given
that the success rate for assisted conception (invitro-fertilization) is around 20
percent, it's worth considering these options.
Pre-conception a four month plan
Why a four month plan? Because it takes about four months for immature eggs (oocytes) to
mature enough to be released during ovulation. It also takes at least three months for
sperm cells to develop, ready to be ejaculated. This means that when you are trying to
improve your fertility, you and your partner need to have a four-month period to get
ready. This is called 'pre-conception care' and it's very important to take as much care
during this period as it is during a pregnancy itself.
Although it goes without saying that a healthy diet is crucial to a successful pregnancy
and a healthy baby, many people are unaware of the fact that diet can help to correct
hormone imbalances that may affect your ability to conceive.
The most common cause of infertility is 'unexplained', which means that doctors can find
no specific or identifiable medical explanation. But if a couple fails to become pregnant,
there is obviously something causing the problem. It's no good labeling infertility
'unexplained'. The answer is to look deeper, at lifestyle factors, nutritional
deficiencies and even environmental elements.
Xenoestrogens are essentially environmental oestrogens, coming from pesticides and the
plastic industry. They are known to cause miscarriages.
When you are trying to conceive, one of the most important things you need to do is to
balance your hormones. It is extremely important to avoid anything that might cause an
imbalance, and one of the main culprits is the xenoestrogens. One of the best ways to
eliminate an excess intake of xenoestrogens is to buy organic produce and don't eat or
drink anything in plastic plates and cups for the pre-conceptual period.
Alcohol will affect both you and your partner. In fact, drinking any alcohol at all can
reduce your fertility by half and the more you drink, the less likely you are to conceive.
One study showed that women who drank less than 5 units of alcohol a week (equal to five
glasses of wine) were twice as likely to get pregnant within six-months compared with
those who drank more.
Research has also shown that drinking alcohol causes a decrease in sperm count, an
increase in abnormal sperm and a lower proportion of motile sperm. Alcohol also inhibits
the body's absorption of nutrients such as zinc, which is one of the most important
minerals for male fertility.
As difficult as it may seem, you should eliminate alcohol from your diets for at least
four months in order to give yourself the best possible chance of conceiving.
There is plenty of evidence to show that caffeine, particularly in the form of coffee,
decreases fertility in women. Drinking as little as one cup of coffee a day can halve your
chances of conceiving. However one study showed that coffee may increase sperm motility in
men if drank before making love, so make yours decaf and his espresso.
Smoking has definitely been linked with infertility in women. It can even bring on an
early menopause, which is a particularly important consideration for older women who may
be trying to beat the clock. Smoking can decrease sperm count in men, making the sperm
more sluggish, and it can increase the number of abnormal sperm.
There is now a great deal of scientific knowledge about the use of nutritional supplements
and their beneficial effects on both male and female fertility. These supplements can be
very effective in re-balancing your hormones, as well as improving you and your partner's
overall health, which are so vital for successful conception.
Supplements are necessary because even the best diet in the world will not contain all the
nutrients you need to give you the best chance of conceiving.
It is now known that folic acid can prevent spina bifida in your baby, and it is essential
that you get plenty both before and during pregnancy. And that's not all: folic acid is
undoubtedly important, but it is just part of the very important B-complex
family of vitamins that are necessary to produce the genetic materials DNA and RNA.
Together with vitamin B12, folic acid works to ensure that your baby's genetic codes are
intact. Remember: it's not enough to take folic acid alone when you are trying to become
pregnant. All of the B vitamins are essential during the pre-conceptual period. Research
has shown that giving B6
to women who have trouble conceiving increases fertility and vitamin B12 has been found to
improve low sperm counts.
Zinc is the most widely studied nutrient in terms of fertility for both men and women. It
is an essential component of genetic material and a zinc deficiency can cause chromosome
changes in either you or our partner, leading to reduced fertility and an increased risk
of miscarriage. Zinc is necessary for your body to 'attract and hold' (utilize
efficiently) the reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone.
Zinc is found in high concentrations in the sperm. Zinc is needed to make the outer layer
and tail of the sperm and is, therefore, essential for the health of sperm and,
subsequently, your baby. Interestingly, several studies have also shown that reducing zinc
in a man's diet will also reduce his sperm count.
Selenium is an antioxidant that helps to protect your body from highly reactive chemical
fragments called free radicals. For this reason, selenium can prevent chromosome breakage,
which is known to be a cause of birth
defects and miscarriages. Good levels of selenium are also essential to maximize sperm
formation. Blood selenium levels have been found to be lower in men with low sperm counts.
Fatty Acids (EFAs)
These essential fats have a profound effect on every system of the body, including the
reproductive system and they are crucial for healthy hormone functioning. In women EFAs
are necessary for higher egg production. For men essential fatty acid supplementation is
crucial because the semen is rich in prostaglandins which are produced from these fats.
Men with poor sperm quality, abnormal sperm, poor motility or low count, have inadequate
levels of these beneficial prostaglandins.
This vitamin needs to be mentioned because there is a lot of confusion about its use
before and after pregnancy. Many health practitioners now advise that no vitamin A is
taken during pregnancy. This advice is incorrect, and it can be dangerous to assume that
any vitamin or other nutrient should be avoided during the gestational period. Vitamin A
has important antioxidant properties, and the consequences of Vitamin A deficiency during
pregnancy can be devastating. For one thing, vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes.
Animals studies show that vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy has produced new-born
animals with no eyes and eye defects.
It is only when the vitamin A is in the form of retinol (in other words, the animal form
of vitamin A) that there is a problem. It has been found that retinol can cause birth
defects if taken in excess of 10,000iu a day. Beta-carotene, which is one of the vegetable
forms of vitamin A, does not carry any risks.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and studies show that vitamin C enhances sperm quality,
protecting sperm and the DNA within it from damage. Some research has indicated that
certain types of DNA damage in the sperm can make it difficult to conceive in the first
place, or it can cause an increased risk of miscarriage if conception does take place. If
DNA is damaged, there may be a chromosomal problem in the baby, should the pregnancy
proceed. Whether or not DNA damage does have these effects has not been conclusively
proven, but it's worth taking vitamin C and the other antioxidants as a precautionary
measure. Vitamin C also appears to keep the sperm from clumping together, making them more
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant and has been shown to increase fertility when
given to both men and women. Men going for IVF treatment with their partners have been
given vitamin E, and fertilization rates have, as a result, increased from 19 to 29
percent. It has been suggested that the antioxidant activity of vitamin E might make the
sperm more fertile.
This is an amino acid found in many foods and the head of the sperm contains an
exceptional amount of this nutrient, which is essential for sperm production.
Supplementing with L-arginine can help to increase both the sperm count and quality.
Note: People who have herpes attacks (either cold sores or genital herpes) should not
supplement with arginine because it stimulates the virus.
This amino acid is essential for normal functioning of sperm cells. According to research,
it appears that the higher the levels of L-Carnitine in the sperm cells, the better the
sperm count and motility.
A well balanced multivitamin/mineral
supplement will contain these (read your labels) and other nutrients for optimum
health. Women should consider taking prenatal
vitamins during this pre-conception period.
Herbal treatment is aimed at restoring hormone imbalances, and encouraging ovulation if it
is not occurring. It will also give you the best possible chance of maintaining a
pregnancy, should you conceive.
Castus (Vitex or Chaste tree berry) This is the herb of choice for helping to restore
hormone imbalance and increasing fertility. In one study 48 women diagnosed with
infertility took Chaste tree berry daily for three months, 7 of them became pregnant
during that time and 25 of them regained normal progesterone levels.
Agnus castus works to restore hormonal balance and can be used where there are hormone
deficits as well as excesses it:
- Regulates periods
- Restarts periods which have stopped
- Helps with heavy bleeding
- Increases the ratio of progesterone to estrogen by balancing excess estrogen.
leaves have high mineral and chlorophyll content, making it excellent for the hormonal
Raspberry Leaves are an effective uterine tonic and have great amounts of calcium. It
is most effective when combined with Red
Quai Root is helpful in normalizing menstrual cycles. It is also known as a fertility
enhancer. Best results occur during the days between ovulation and menstruation and
discontinuing from the beginning of menstrual flow to ovulation.
Unicorn Root is also a strong uterine tonic. It is known as "the" herb for
infertility. Take 5-15 drops of the tincture per day during this pre-conception period to
strengthen the uterine muscle.
Caution: You should not take any of the above herbs if you are taking, The Pill, Fertility
drugs, HRT or any other hormonal treatment or other medication unless they are recommended
by a registered, experienced practitioner.
Sometimes the answer is as simple as changing the pH or acid environment of the vagina. A
woman's vagina has a naturally high acid content. This is to prevent infection which is
good but this acid environment can also kill sperm and in cases where the sperm count is
low can lessen the chances of fertilization. Douching before intercourse with distilled
water lowers the pH level and can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
Ovarian cysts can prevent a pregnancy in women . And you may not even know you
have them. About 40% of women between 20 to 50 years of age have experienced
cysts/fibroids/endo symptoms in their lifetime. The sure diagnosis is to check with a
doctor, and the only sure cure for cysts/fibroids/endo problem may be a hysterectomy
surgery. Medications are also used to relieve symptoms or to shrink these benign tumors,
some with side effects not acceptable to many women. However, when no symptoms are
present, one could live with cysts/fibroids for life without serious problems, because
most likely, these tumors are benign and cause no real danger. Many women have used U
O Clear with great success.
It takes two is obvious but what some couples don't understand is that certain events must
take place before a woman's body is ready for the sperm to enter the cervical opening.
Many women do not secret enough vaginal fluid (mucus) to lubricate. During female orgasm
this natural fluid is released and the cervical opening is widened, all making for a safe
passage as the sperm makes it way to the egg. Natural lubrication is best and using a topical
stimulant can increase the mucus content of the vagina. If this fails to work, using
an egg white at room temperature has been successful. Separate the egg, (discarding the
yolk) let the egg white warm to room temperature, (sit about an hour) and insert into the
vagina, just before intercourse, using a small bulb syringe.
Relaxing after intercourse is very important. Try not to move too much, or get up for
awhile. Lay back put your feet up and read or listen to some calming music for 20 or 30
minutes. Give the magic time to work!
In the Book Store
Women Herbal for the Childbearing Years: This is a complete herbal pharmacopoeia for
dealing with every problem that might arise before, during and after pregnancy and
Bible for the 21st Century: America's #1 reference book for all aspects of vitamin and
mineral supplements. Includes more information on nutriceuticals, supplements, herbs and
of Natural Healing: This unique and reliable health reference takes off where other
sources end by offering a comprehensive listing of some of today's most common diseases
and their simple, natural, inexpensive cures.
see our section on pregnancy and prenatal care.
Copyright 2002 Herbal Remdies USA LLC & Deb Jackson
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