Infertility is sadly becoming more and more common, in both men and women. There are many lifestyle, nutritional and environmental factors that could be contributing to the problem too. Below is a chart that shows the percentage of cases where different problems cause infertility.
Percentage of cases
Some other contributing factors for women:
Infection Ovulatory issues
Endometriosis Immune system
Bad vaginal environment
Some other contributing factors for men:
Age Sperm motility
Sperm count Varicocele
Infection Anti-sperm antibodies
Unfortunately, one of the most common causes is ‘unexplained’, which makes remedying the problem of fertility among men and women much more difficult. However this is where natural solutions can be useful.
There are many, many different roots through fertility that present with a problem, whether it’s through the male or female, and when the result is ‘unexplained’ it’s worth further investigation.
As infertility can be multi-factorial, a holistic approach can generally be successful. A study conducted by the university of surrey found that taking nutritional supplements and demonstrating a change in lifestyle and diet had an 80% success rate having previously not been able to conceive.
Natural solutions should always be given a minimum of 3 months to work as that is at least how long it takes to create a healthy egg and sperm cells. Even when opting for IVF or other conventional treatments, it’s wise to do some pre-conception care to increase chances of a pregnancy.
Fruit and vegetables – The typical recommendation of 5 a day may not be enough. Ideally we should be having more vegetables than fruit. Try and aim for at least 5 portions of fruit a day and 7+ portions of vegetables a day. Fruit and vegetables contain a spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients. By gaining these nutrients you are proving the body with what it needs to function and heal itself. Having a high amount of fibre is important to help regulate the excretion of old oestrogen in the gut and avoid re uptake and therefore a hormonal imbalance.
Organic foods – Non organic foods that contain pesticides and herbicides can disrupt and block hormones needed for a healthy natural production of an egg and sperm. Same with animal products as you want to avoid added hormones and antibiotics that are given. Otherwise the antibiotics can transfer over and deplete your healthy gut bacteria.
Complex carbohydrates – The body requires energy to function right down to the cellular level. Complex carbohydrates provide longer lasting energy. Simple carbohydrates are stripped of their nutrients whereas complex carbohydrates can balance mood, stabilise blood sugar and lower excessive bad cholesterol.
Essential Fatty Acids – Consuming regular amounts of fish, nuts (if not intolerant), seeds and oils is important .There are many different types of fat, saturated fat for example is not so favourable, but some fats are essential to health. Unsaturated fats especially polyunsaturated are good as they contain omega 3 and 6 which are needed to regulate inflammation, increase immune function, support our cells and more. DHA specifically is recognised to support pre-natal care in the development of the baby.
Drink more water! – We are 70% water, and it is needed to help the body in lots of different ways. Water helps to wash out toxin, deliver nutrients to tissue, regulate digestion, encourage circulation. Replace fizzy drinks and concentrated with pure clean water.
Lower saturated fats – It is somewhat controversial how needed saturated fats are. There are some extremely healthy foods which contain saturated fats such as avocados, coconuts and eggs, but consumed in large amounts can contribute to weight gain as they are hard to break down. Some saturated fats are easier to metabolise such as coconut and butter but fats from beef, lamb and pork are harder to break down. Fat tissue can hold excess hormones and toxins and so being overweight can cause many health conditions including the reduce ability to conceive.
Avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives – removing these aggravating ingredients from the diet is important to encourage overall natural health and well being and also hormonal imbalances. Anything that claims, a lower calorie intake, or fat just means they are adding in more sweeteners which will only cause weight gain by slowing down digestion and increase appetite.
Reduce caffeine – Caffeine is a diuretic which deplete the body of hydration, vitamins, minerals and stimulates a fast rise in blood sugar creating blood sugar imbalance. A gradual exclusion is better advised to insure an easier transition.
Avoid Alcohol & smoking – This should hopefully be an obvious one! Smoking causes oxidative damage throughout the body and depletes the body of important nutrients such as vitamin C needed for conception. Aside from alcohol having damaging effects on the liver where hormones are produced and toxins are broken down, it is essentially a harmful poison for the body.
Avoid plastics & aluminium – Plastics contain BPA and PCBs which are endocrine disputers which block hormones from connecting with the hormone receptors. Aluminium can have the same effect, causing toxic overload in the body. Replace foil and clingfilm with beeswax paper or paper bags. Try using glass containers instead of plastic.