Are you less fertile than your ancestors?
With an abundance of "healthy" food, medicine, and healthcare available, shouldn't fertility be on the rise? And, is it really infertility, or could it possibly be a dietary insufficiency? Read on to find out my take on the nutritional factors for infertility.
1) Nutrient Excess
There's a number of nutrients that are being over-consumed in modern day, leading to a state of nutrient excess.
Most notably, these are:
- Vitamin A (think multivitamins, eggs, butter, liver, dairy products, cod liver oil, colorful vegetables, etc.)
- Copper (think multivitamins, dark chocolate, shellfish, and nuts)
- Iron (think multivitamins and iron supplements)
These nutrients are extremely popular in wellness culture and can have serious consequences for your liver and biliary health when they are over consumed for decades (read: detoxification).
Find out more about nutrient excess here.
2) Increased Toxicity
There's no doubt that there's increased toxicity in the highly processed standard American diet. This is especially a problem if not met by an abundance of nutrients to help detoxify toxins from the body and neutralize free radicals.
A protein, mineral and/or fiber deficiency are big here.
3) Pharmaceutical Advacements
Pharmaceutical advancements have influenced female health across the board. Between the increased use of synthetic hormones like the birth control pill and estrogen replacement, vaccines, and Rx drugs, the female body is increasing being told what to do by synthetic hormones and drugs made in a lab. It's no longer exclusively running on its own innate operating system.
In a 2018 study titled: A lowered probability of pregnancy in females in the USA aged 25-29 who received a human papillomavirus vaccine injection concluded that "If 100% of females in this study had received the HPV vaccine, data suggest the number of women having ever conceived would have fallen by 2 million. Further study into the influence of HPV vaccine on fertility is thus warranted."
The study included 8 million women between the ages of 25-29, but somehow I'm going to take a wild guess that you haven't heard about it at your doctor visit.
4) 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)!
Estrogen Dominance: The hormonal imbalance that causes a nightmarish myriad of symptoms
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
J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2018;81(14):661-674. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2018.1477640. Epub 2018 Jun 11.
GREAT article! I just recently found your website and love it! I am also a nutritionist and am continuing to try to find new ways to infor m people that low fat/low cholesterol is a LIE that has done tremendous damage to our country as people and as a nation. And along with that is all the damage done from vegetable oils, hydrogenated and non-hydrogenated. My tagline is "Good Fat is Medicine". Keep up the great work and I'll do my best to spread your website around!
Nowhere on this article is any mention of the toxics in plastics that have been known since the 1950s or 60s to be hormone mimickers and disruptors. This fact was ignored even before we embraced the low fat flawed study of Ancel Keyes,
Plastics are mentioned in another article by this site provided by link under #7
Also, with the eating of processed foods, comes an increase in folic acid-more than half of the population can't process it and we don't eat enough folate from whole foods to get what we need. Look into MTHFR testing regarding infertility and get tested-or just stop eating enriched foods with folic acid and eat whole, organic, and seasonally. http://www.mthfr.net Dr. Ben Lynch is a good web site to start.
be esp vigilant if pregnant as folic acid deficiency in the pregnant mother's diet causes causes
spina bifida in the baby.
I found your article to be naive and narrow minded. There are many ways people are given the diagnosis of "infertile." And as it turns out it is not always the "women's fault" as your article insinuates. Many times men cannot produce sperm for a variety of non-dietary, non-stress related reasons. Have you heard of Micro-deletion as one of several reasons? Eating healthy is not going to change his DNA or cause him to produce sperm. Also, there are numerous studies that find stress does not in fact interfere with fertility.
Some of them are here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=stress%20and%20infertility&itool=QuerySuggestion
While it is true that stress can interfere with ovulation; ovulation is one of many parts that cause couples difficulty conceiving.
I could go on as this is a very personal issue, being someone who recently "earned" the title infertile. But I am at risk of telling you exactly what I think in no uncertain terms. I would like to educate you and not publicly shame you.
I do ask that in the future; you do a minimal amount of research before posting such an article.
Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I agree-- it is not a women's problem, however I write for an audience of women, so that is where my focus lies. I fully believe fertility is a 50/50 equation, and the magic happens when both partners focus on health/nutrition. I'm not trying to shame women who are infertile, only point out dietary factors that play a role.
It's interesting, I posted a comment a little bit ago, but it didn't show up. I wonder if that's because I thoughtfully disagreed with you or because of a computer glitch?
Sorry Rachel, I do not moderate comments in “real time.” Thus it takes a while for them to show up.
Thank you for your reply Catherine. I believe there are enough people, websites, etc. that are insensitive and even hurtful to couples struggling with infertility. Our society has not fully embraced this issue, thus many couples are left feeling embarrassed or ashamed for the inability to conceive. If you wanted to point out the role nutrition plays, it would have been prudent to also point out that there are some medical problems that cannot be solved with nutrition and less stress.
By purposefully excluding these other issues, you are invalidating their existence to your audience which is a disservice to everyone. I know I am not the only one infertile person who read this, 1 in 8 couples have difficulty conceiving. The title indicates our ancestors had no difficulty with infertility (which is not true) and that if only we ate better we would not have these problems. It seems your purpose might be more effectively achieved if you encouraged women empowerment and education rather than soft fluffy pieces about eating better food.
I am not purposely excluding "medical conditions," but rather knowing my role is a nutritional therapist and not a doctor. This is why I focus solely on the nutritional aspects. I know my limitations 🙂
Thanks for reading and commenting honestly!
Besides, the article is about the difference between our ancestors fertility and ours, so it's focused on the lifestyle changes between the two. There's always been fertility issues, but not as much as today and it's important to acknowledge that it's not just luck, we are eating stuff that resembles what we used to cook but it doesn't have the same nutrients, and it affects us.
If we just attribute the struggles to specific and personal issues we would be closing our eyes to how a sedentary life & unhealthy diet is changing us, especially the US (where industries' lobby have played a major factor). It's not that one person can change their diet and 3 months later... voilá!, this change has ocurred over time and though generations, and it will take time to overturn (if it ever does).
I agree; I wish you would have mentioned that medical problems play a significant role. You don't have to be a doctor to acknowledge that. I appreciate your desire to educate us about nutrition, but it really is a sensitive topic for all who have experienced infertility for you to not have a disclaimer saying that eating right will not necessarily solve everyone's infertility problems.
I hear you and agree there are numerous medical problems that impact fertility. As a nutritional therapist, this article is solely focusing on nutrition factors that impact hormone levels, metabolism, stress, liver function, and thyroid function. My apologies if it came off insensitive to medical problems affecting fertility in any way.
Thank you for reading and joining the conversation!
rachel im sorry but i dont find govt sites to be reliable sources on things like health...there r just too many things they try to hide. i dont think the article is saying its definitly ur fault if ur infertile..its just sayin that alot of our eating habits n lifestyles could be major factors. i know my diet wasnt good enough n probably was a major factor in my having preeclampsia with two pregnancies but i would rather be informed so i can di what i can to prevent the same problems next time, rather than get mad n stick my head in the sand
Health Bites Online
You should read the book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Dr. Weston A. Price. It has turned my life around.
You forgot GMO's that make animals including us infertile.
I'm curious your resources for the idea that we are less fertile than our ancestors. I had thought the same thing in the past but when I brought it up with a friend who is a fertility specialist, she informed me that the fertility rate is the same if not better than ever. Overall birth rates are down (which many would consider a good thing in light of global population), that is due to people choosing to not have more kids rather than not being able to.
Regardless, I still agree with all of your advice.
I agree that this article is far to focused on singular cause and effect. There are many factors regarding fertility and to imply that eating well will make you fertile eating poorly is the sole cause of infertility is irrational. In regards to #6 If the body would not allow you to become pregnant when there is not enough nutrition for mom and baby, there would be no cases of malnutrition in infants and a much lower maternal mortality rate in poor countries. This information seems entirely opinion, and therefor very dangerous.
Glad you included the point about stress. People don't realize how much stress can throw off your body chemistry. It then becomes a domino effect influencing your overall health.
Hi love all that, very informative, wish all prospective parents could have a read. Ive done a 5,000 word thesis on how nutrition affects the genetics of the unborn. Its a scientifically verifyable reality that we and the next generation are affected what we eat and how we live.Simple test-Google "Pottengers Cats" its all there. I personally did some wicked preconception care for 8 months prioir to conceiving with my husband also, We were pregnant after 4 months and my pregnancy was a dream, no stretch marks, morning sickness, swollen ankles, fatigue, skin problems etc. But my diet was unbelievable [and still is] all organic, juicing, all well researched supplements and excersize. I gave birth in 8 hours with no pain relief and went home after 4 hours to cook dinner! Ok I am blowing wind up my own skirt BUT-trying to demonstrate what the body is capable of when you give it the tools to do the job. I am now also a nutritionist who specialises in this practice and have seen many women turn their lives and circumstances around when they became proactive in their health and well being. Oh and my son...so healthy, a 13 year old now-tallest in his class and such incredibly robust health, it's been worth it, and then some. Good luck all future Mamas out there X
What are your views on vaccines and flu shots?
Daja at The Provision Room
AGREE 100%. I try to tell people this ALL THE TIME! It's such an uphill battle to combat the dietary guidelines of the food pyramid and all the misinformation that comes out of the FDA and USDA.
Will be sharing your post for sure!
Daja at The Provision Room
By the way, here are the foods that I encourage pregnant women to eat. Sometimes people do freak out a bit! LOL! http://theprovisionroom.com/2013/07/18/powerhouse-pregnancy-foods-your-doctor-probably-forgot-to-mention/
This was great as someone who hasnt been truly diagnosed but hasnt gotten pregnant the second time as easy as the first I've really been searching for a cause I mean I'm 25 my husband is 24, we are in the prime numbers right now. I recently have started eatting better and keeping the fat on and in our food after seeing nutrition videos by a dr. johnson who I also had the opertunity of attend a lucture by on nutrition. Ad totally excited to start a grparden with my mil and sils for our family's we are trying a new approach to gardening http://www.backtoedenfilm.com I also am really trying to be more active to lose the 50 lbs I gained while pregnant and shortly after the delivery of my son 4 years ago. I appreciated the chart on the bottom where it showed the good side and the bad side as it helped me understand the process better. So thanks! and for all the ladies upset that it didn't cover what they wanted to read...I'm sure there are many other articles for you to read or learn more about your specific condition. Not every thing has to have all the answers you personally where looking for.
Brittany @ Delights and Delectables
Love this! I totally agree with it all! So glad I found your blog!!
I can't agree with the unsaturated vegetable fats part . Mediterranean people have the highest intake of olive oil in the world and they are the ethnic group with the less hormonal problems linked to fat intake. Better coronary health and easier menopause are also their advantages. I do agree though that fatty intake is extremely relevant to bodily health.
Heal for Happiness
It seems like stress is a big factor in infertility but we can't really get rid of it. Are their herbs or some other supplements that can help?
Hi! Wanted to point out one important fact. This is a health food blog/site about eating healthy. I didnt' feel like she was trying to cover every reason in the book why couples might not be able to conceive. It makes sense for her to speak about the possibility of changing your diet. I hope couples are open to at least exploring this option to increase the chance of conceiving. Many spend thousands of dollars on other methods. At least by improving your diet, you are making a lifestyle change that can improve many potential health ailments in your future. This would be my incentive to at least give it a try.
On the other hand, I also recently read about how most women have an unalligned pelvis and a tilted uterus. You could also focus on specific exercises and massages that would correct these issues. If coupling improved nutrition and increased proper movement you could possibly increase your chance of conceiving. What do you have to lose. At worst, you will be in the best shape and health of your life, without biological children. Honestly, this is better than being an unhealthy parent.
I totally agree. Great Article. I work a lot with infertile patients. Pretty accurate information too. I would add minerals to the diet. Both Chelated and colloidal. And avoid gluten in all it's shapes and forms. I've "pinterested" your page on my Pinterest account. Blessings.
Fertility is improved now in comparison with our ancestors. And we have far better diets due to improved farming methods and availability of increased variety of foods as a result of transportation changes. We even live longer. This article has good points about fat and diet but is incorrect in terms of fertility.
Antonio Soto ND
I'm sure you mean Physician assisted fertility. There are 3-4 out 0f 10 couples aproximately with some type of fertility issues. Especially if they begin trying pregnancy after 30. Nonetheless I've produced thanks to diet, high dose supplementation and some lifestyle changes, 5 natural pregnancies in women between 39-46. Children born healthy, no congenital diseases, malformations, etc. - 100 years ago there was 1 childless couple per 600 people in a time with virtually no birth control. And no we do not have good food in the USA, a piece of cardboard has more nutrients.
Those who believe they can get all their nutrients from a balanced diet, well, I have some oceanfront property in Colorado to sell them.
Hi, I would like to point out that it isn't really essential to consume cholesterol because the body makes this on its own. So I don't understand how eating or not eating foods that contain cholesterol would impact fertility when you always receive adequate amounts of the stuff regardless...
Hello, while your article is full of interesting points and food for thought I don't think your study was broad enough to say any of it is factual.
As a child, teen and young adult I enjoyed food. Not like other people,girls or young ladys, my age at anyone of these times. I would choose fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks, I ate the farm raised meats or wild game my family harvested and preferred these to any fast foods or junk food that others did including my sister. And I was very active in sports, out doors, anything to be moving. However when I was 18 I had my first miscarriage. I convinced myself that there was nothing to worry about the timing was bad and I was to young and in time I would have my own children. I went on to graduate, go to college and marry. Only to have 8 more miscarriages, 1 and ectopic pregnancy. We, my husband then, ended up divorcing, but that hole time and after I still ate well and exercised regularly. After some time I met someone, the love of my life my Husband, partner and life friend. We have been married for almost 13 years now. Just us... we lost 2 babies and then he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Both of us eat well and are very active but one day after the 2nd baby and his fight we where laying in the yard talking. I was sad and confused and wanted to know why we could not and would not ever be able to have our own kids, what was wrong with me and why could my friends or the drug heads around, or the other people you see that clearly only have children to get more government assistance. While my hubs tried to comfort me I eventually just asked God. Of course he did not part the sky and answer me then but over time he did answer, and although at times it still stings and is bitter sweet I am fine with it and love our life everyday.
My point is all my ancestors and siblings haD and have kids some more then others, but I don't believe diet alone can lower or increase your fertility. Sometimes life is up to someone else as to its beginings as well as its end.
Thank you for sharing and thanks to all the others that shared as well...peace, love and blessings to all.
To don't have childeren is very sad!
Couldn't agree more, it's all about educating now to help women return to more traditional ways of eating. Fantastic article!