Are you less fertile than your ancestors? And, is it really infertility, or could it possibly be a dietary insufficiency? Read on to find out my take on the nutritional factors (not medical) for infertility.
With an abundance of “healthy” food, medicine, and healthcare available, shouldn’t fertility be on the rise? There are a lot of things you can do to support fertility with nutrition, however, they are NOT happening in the standard American diet…
1) Less saturated fat is eaten and this equates to less fat soluble vitamins in the diet (A, D, E, K2).
That egg white omelet, fat free milk and margarine in your diet is what I am talking about! These “healthy” foods are at the center of this problem. You see– the fat soluble vitamins are found in the FAT, when you eat low fat, you lose vital fertility nutrients! These vitamins are imperative for hormone production and reproduction. When you don’t get enough of them, your body can’t made adequate amounts of sex hormones! You also need these fat soluble vitamins to keep tooth decay away, but that is another article…
2) More toxins in the diet, which increases the body’s toxic burden, especially if not met by an abundance of nutrients to help detoxify toxins from the body and neutralize free radicals.
With added colors, flavors, thickeners, chemicals, antibiotics, and GMOs in the food supply, who is making sure you’re keeping your liver healthy enough do to all the “dirty work” of detoxification? As a result you may suffer from increased inflammation, simply because your body doesn’t have the nutrients it needs to do the job RIGHT.
3) Less efficient liver function and detoxification.
This is usually due to a protein deficiency, particularly of anti-inflammatory proteins like the amino acid glycine that fuels phase 2 detoxification in the liver (found in gelatin).
4) Increased use of synthetic hormones like the birth control pill and estrogen replacement
YIKES! Who is telling your body what to do? Is it a hormone made in a lab?
5) Increased intake of polyunsaturated fats (think vegetable oils) that slow hormone synthesis and result in low progesterone.
Polyunsaturated fats (also known as PUFA fats) are consumed in mass quantities instead of traditional fats (lard, butter, animal fats). These vegetable oils are VERY detrimental to your health (they actually hurt hormone production and increase the signs of aging)! Definitely not fertility’s best friend.
“Unsaturated fats cause aging, clotting, inflammation, cancer, & weight gain.” Dr. Ray Peat, PhD (PMS to Menopause: Female Hormones in Context).
6) Increased intake of processed food in the diet with very little nutrient value, which doesn’t allow women with sufficient nutrient stores to support a growing fetus.
Your body is very smart. If there is not enough nutrition to support both the mother and the fetus, pregnancy will not happen. It’s a part of your body’s innate intelligence for your own survival.
An excess of estrogen and low progesterone levels set the stage for cyclic female issues that decrease fertility. You can read more about this here.
8) Deficiencies, particularly those vital for hormone production, namely:
- Cholesterol (butter, eggs, and animal foods): You’ve probably heard the cholesterol fearing messages from the media, urging Americans to lower their intake of cholesterol rich foods. But in reality that message is very SILLY, as cholesterol is a RAW MATERIAL for making hormones!
- Animal sourced vitamin A (liver, eggs, butter, whole milk). Vitamin A deficiency is one of the biggest nutrition deficiencies I see with my clients, and this is happening because of #1 on the list (re-read if needed).
- T3 thyroid hormone: thyroid hormone controls the speed at which your body converts raw materials into sex hormones (see info-graphic below).
9) Last but not least– STRESS!
Did you know that when you’re under stress, your body instinctively makes less progesterone (the pro-gestation hormone to support pregnancy) and makes more cortisol (the stress hormone) instead? This low progesterone is why you might skip your monthly cycle when under a lot of stress! Chronic stress is a growing trend, and it definitely plays an important role in sex and reproduction.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! The time is NOW to transform the generation of infertility into a powerful world of fertility. Being fertile is a sign of health, and a lack of it is a key clue your body is trying to tell you something! It’s also important to remember that infertility is not just about women! Men’s reproductive health/nutrition is equally important (so share this with the men in your life too)!
If you’re ready to take your nutrition to the next level to support fertility, so you can feel confident about your nutrition plan, subscribe to get tips in your inbox every week!
Estrogen Dominance: The hormonal imbalance that causes a nightmarish myriad of symptoms
The Nutrient Deficiency that causes hypothyroidism and weight gain
Low Thyroid: How to thyroid proof your diet
So tell me, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Please share in the comments!
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. NCHS Data Brief: Recent Decline in Births in the United States, 2007–2009. Retrieved on January 6, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db60.htm.
Peat, Ray. Nutrition for Women. 1993.
Peat, Ray, PhD. PMS to Menopause: Female Hormones in Context. 1997.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.com/jovannig