How to Increase Your Egg Health for optimum fertility
Age is not the only factor that determines ovarian and egg health. Studies show that there are other vital factors that can have an impact on the health of the ovaries including hormone balance, stress, and environmental xenoestrogens.
Healthy fertility is based on other aspects including: Balanced hormones, a healthy fertility cycle and healthy eggs (ovum)
Egg Health: What does it mean for you and how can you achieve it?
Egg health is vital to healthy fertility. It can affect whether or not fertilization and implantation will occur as well as whether your pregnancy will remain intact (viable) viability of a pregnancy. In the past, it has been thought that a woman is born with all of the eggs cells she will have for the rest of her life. That is the reason age was considered to be the primary factor of egg health. Egg cells do not regenerate, like other cells in the body…Or do they? New research has introduced the premise that women actually produce NEW eggs throughout their reproductive years. Scientists have actually found stem cells within the ovaries that can produce these new egg cells.
Regardless, age still has an impact on even the new eggs, since the ovaries continue to age which causes the “resting place” of the eggs to become less optimal.
You need to protect the eggs you currently have and encourage ovarian health via diet and supplements.See the Fertility Diet following the Supplements section.
Infertility Help: Inositol, PCOS, and Fertility
Two research groups conducted studies with the dietary supplement myoinositol and PCOS. The studies concluded that myoinositol provided significant benefits for women suffering from PCOS, and gave them an alternative to the diabetes drugs that doctors usually prescribe for PCOS.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is on the leading causes of infertility, and can also cause unwanted hair growth, acne, and difficult menstrual cycles. Most doctors prescribe diabetes drugs to help regulate insulin levels as a treatment for PCOS, but these drugs have many side effects and don’t address the underlying issue.
Myo-inositol, a form of inositol, is a member if the B-complex family of vitamins. It is usually deficient in women with PCOS.
Another study published in the Gynecological Endocrinology journal put 25 women on a combination of folic acid and inositol for 6 months. The results, 22 out of the 25 patients restored at least one spontaneous menstrual cycle during treatment, and 18 maintained normal ovulatory activity during the follow up period. 10 pregnancies (40% of patients) were obtained.
Based on these two studies, Inositol seems to be an effective treatment for PCOS, and for restoring fertility. It has no side effects, and is relatively inexpensive. For women who are trying to get pregnant, it’s ideal to combine this treatment with improved diet and exercise, so that insulin problems aren’t carried into pregnancy.
Natural Progesterone Cream
The role of progesterone is key
After ovulation, progesterone production is triggered by Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which stimulates the corpus leteum (the remnant egg sac) in the ovary to produce progesterone. One of the main actions of progesterone with fertility is to help support a developing embryo.
If pregnancy occurs, the production of progesterone from the corpus luteum continues for about 7 weeks (it is then produced by the placenta for the duration of the pregnancy). If pregnancy did not occur, the period begins 14 days after ovulation. When fertilization does not occur, the corpus leteum disintegrates, which causes the level of progesterone to fall and the endometrial tissue to break down and shed as menstruation.
Progesterone supports regular ovulation, hormone balance, and can prevent miscarriage. For women trying to get pregnant, an adequate amount of natural progesterone is crucial because it prepares the uterine wall for the implantation of the fertilized egg. Progesterone support in pregnancy has been in use for nearly 60 years. Its initial use was in patients who had habitual spontaneous abortion caused by luteal phase deficiency.
Luteal phase deficiency is due to a failure of the function of the corpus luteum in the production of progesterone. It is known that progesterone from the corpus luteum is indispensable during the first seven weeks of pregnancy. The study showed a significant reduction in preterm delivery rates with the supplementation of progesterone. The use of progesterone to prevent preterm labor has been documented in medical literature for over 30 years.
Progesterone has the following important functions:
- It maintains the lining of the uterus which makes it possible for a fertilized egg to attach and survive
- Makes cervical mucous accessible by sperm
- Supports the developing embryo
- Keeps the uterine lining from deteriorating
- Prevents immune rejection of the developing baby & allows for full development of the fetus through pregnancy
- It causes “maturation” of the endometrium, converting it to a secretory type
- It stimulates the decidualization of the endometrium required for implantation
- Inhibits myometrial contractions so your body does not reject the embryo
On another note, it increases libido around the time of ovulation so you are “ready to go”.
How do I know if I’m low in progesterone?
There are many signs that may show up in the body if you do not have enough progesterone in your system during the correct times of your cycle.
- Recurrent early miscarriage
- No period
- Not ovulating
- Cramps during menses
- Blood clotting
- Swollen breasts
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Loss of libido
- Water retention
- Low thyroid
- Facial hair
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Foggy thinking
- Memory lapse
- Sleep disturbances
- Heart palpitation
- Bone loss
How to Use Natural Progesterone
Transdermal application (through the skin) has been found to be one of the most effective ways to use natural progesterone. It is absorbed through the skin into the underlying fat, which helps to slowly allow progesterone into the blood. This way of application helps the progesterone to be “time released” into the blood stream. To closely mimic the body’s progesterone cycle, it is best to use progesterone cream twice a day.
Using progesterone cream for fertility:
Natural progesterone cream is easily and quickly absorbed into the body through th skin within seconds. So you can apply it essentially anywhere as long as you rotate locations of application. The best areas for application are places that have capillary blood flow such as:
- Upper chest
- Inner arms
- Palms of hands and feet
Suggested dosage is 40 mg daily, divided into one 20 mg application in the morning and one 20 mg application in the evening, during the two weeks before your period. Progesterone use should begin directly after ovulation, which is usually day 14 in the cycle (day 1 is the start of your period), and ending usage once menstruation begins. If you want to know when you ovulate, you can use an Ovulation Test Kit. Once ovulation is detected, progesterone cream would be started the following day.
Safety of Progesterone During Pregnancy
Progesterone is very safe for both mother and baby as evidenced by the fact that your body makes 300-400 mg per day during late pregnancy….in other words, your baby is surrounded by progesterone.
Progesterone Cream: 20 mg/ twice daily. Alternate sites of application.
If you become pregnant, continue using cream at least through the end of the 1st trimester. It’s actually preferable to use it continuously throughout your pregnancy. Let your provider know.
A loading dose is useful for women who have had many months or years of anovulatory (no ovulation) cycles, which can create extreme progesterone deficiency. Each cycle that passes without ovulation can increase estrogen dominance very easily, as there is no fat to store extra progesterone. In either of these situations, Dr. John Lee recommends a higher dose of progesterone during the first and second months of progesterone cream use. This helps to replenish the progesterone stored in the fat of the body. After 2-3 months, the dose can be lowered to the usual ‘regular’ dosage. Note: Some progesterone creams come in a squeeze tube, like Emerita Pro-Gest, which uses exactly 20mg of progesterone cream.
Loading dose: 40 mg twice a day, one 40 mg application in the morning and one 40 mg application at night, for a total of 80 mg of natural progesterone a day. Apply for two weeks before your period (about day 14 in the cycle), up until menstruation begins.
Maca: 450 mg 3x per day
In women, maca works by controlling estrogen in the body. Estrogen levels that are high or low at the wrong time can keep a woman from becoming pregnant or keep her from carrying to term. Excess estrogen levels also cause progesterone levels to become too low. Taking maca may help to increase the progesterone levels which are essential to carrying a healthy pregnancy.
In men, too much estrogen can cause erectile dysfunction or lack of libido, low sperm count, and lowered production of seminal fluid. Studies have shown that men who use maca may experience an increased libido, an increase in sperm count & mobility of sperm.
Folic Acid: 800 mcg per day
Extremely important for a pregnancy. Folic Acid helps prevent neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, cleft lips, and other fetal abnormalities. If you are deficient, you have a higher risk of going into early delivery which jeopardizes the health of your baby. Deficiency also contributes to the low birth rate in infants and fetal abnormalities. Deficiency can increase the risk of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) and complications such as pre-eclampsia and placental abruption.
Vitamin B6: 100-200 mg per day
A hormone regulator. It has been shown to help with Luteal Phase Defect. If you have a luteal phase defect, the lining of your uterus does not grow properly each month. This can make it difficult to become or remain pregnant. It is also effective in relieving symptoms of morning sickness when pregnancy occurs.
Vitamin D: 100-200 mg per day
Necessary for the body to create sex hormones which affect ovulation. A Yale University study discovered that infertile women had a 93% incidence of abnormal Vitamin D levels.
Vitamin B-12: 100-500 mg per day
L-Arginine: 500-2000 mg per day
1) Increases blood circulation to the uterus, ovaries, and genitals to improve reproductive health. - increased blood flow can improve reproductive health. L-arginine allows for better blood circulation to the ovaries, allowing for optimum egg production. The increased blood flow to the uterus also creates a better environment to allow the implantation of a fertilized egg.
2) Increases Nitric Oxide levels - Increased NO levels support healthy inflammation levels. Inflammation is a contributing factor to a number of fertility issues shown to negatively impact conception and implantation.
3) Supports normal sperm production - research has found that taking a l-arginine supplement daily can increase sperm production in men. In the study, the effects were noticeable 6-8 weeks from the start of supplementation. L-arginine may also improve the motility of sperm, thus increasing the chance of conception in couples suffering from low sperm motility. Where IVF is used, l-arginine can be used to improve the quality of sperm, increasing the the chance of achieving a fertilized egg.
4) Improves the production of cervical mucous -. Some women do not produce enough cervical mucous, and others produce a mucous that is too thick for sperm to travel through. L-arginine can encourage better production of cervical mucous through improved blood flow.
5) Supports a healthy libido – L-arginine increases blood flow to the genitals in both men and women, leading to an increased libido. In men, increased blood flow to the penis can result in more frequent and sustained erections. L-arginine is often suggested for men suffering from erectile dysfunction. In women, increased blood flow to the genitals can lead to increased sexual arousal and orgasm. A healthy libido plays an important role in conception.
Please note: You should not take l-arginine if you have herpes as it can trigger an outbreak.
Essential Fatty Acids
Deficiency can cause reproductive failure. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to help regulate hormones in the body, increase cervical mucous, promote ovulation and improve the overall quality of the uterus by increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs. During pregnancy, a lack of DHA may be associated with premature birth & low birth weight.
Zinc: 15-45 mg per day
Help keep estrogen and progesterone levels balanced. Low levels are directly linked to early miscarriage. MEN: Increases sperm levels and improves the quality and function of sperm.
Zinc: 50-66 mg / day
Increases sperm levels and improves the quality and function of sperm.
L-Arginine: 500-2000 mg / day
See previous section
Vitamin B-12: 1000-5000 mg / day
Shown to improve sperm quality and production
Maca: 450 mg 3 x day
Can increase libido, an increase in sperm count & mobility of sperm.
Vitamin C: 1,000 mg/day
Increases sperm count, motility & structure
Vitamin E: 300 – 400 mg per day
Enhances sperm binding to egg
Your Best Fertility Diet Plan
You want to concentrate on food sources of: Protein, B-12, B-6, Vitamin D, Zinc, Folic Acid, Vitamins E & C, Omega 3’s, and Antioxidants.
Diet is vitally important for getting pregnant & reducing pregnancy complications. If you are trying to become pregnant, I urge you to follow this eating plan!
Research at Harvard University published in “Obstetrics & Gynecology” showed an 80% DECREASE in infertility when the women in the study switched to a fertility diet. The women with the highest fertility scores ate less trans fats and sugar from carbohydrates, consumed more protein, ate more fiber and iron, and, surprisingly, consumed more high-fat dairy products and less low-fat dairy products. The relationship between a higher “fertility diet” score and lesser risk for infertility was similar for different subgroups of women regardless of age and whether or not they had been pregnant in the past.
Eat for Fertility
1 Serving Dark Leafy Green Vegetable: Kale, Broccoli, Spinach
1 Fresh Vegetable Juice (12+ oz) or 2 Servings of Vegetables (choose colorfully) or 1 serving vegetable soup or stir-fry of veggies
1 Serving essential fatty acid (EFA) Rich Food: avocado, Flax, walnuts, almonds, olive oil
1-2 Eggs daily. Make a frittata. Any leftovers, eat them tomorrow!
1 Serving of Nuts: preferably raw, or nut butter, or even flax seeds or chia seeds
Best Nuts: Walnuts, Almonds, Flax Seed, Chia Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds
1-3 Servings of Fruits
1 Serving of Coconut Oil or Butter daily
Whole Grains – Brown Rice, Quinoa (1 cup)
Potato Lover? A baked yam with butter is excellent either with a meal or for a snack.
Fiber: helps your body eliminate excess estrogen and xeno-estrogens. Very important!
Best Sources of fiber:
- Whole grains! Nuts & seeds
- Lentils or beans twice a week
- Grass-fed or organic red meat, free-range or organic chicken or turkey three times a week
- Liver – if you can tolerate it…..maybe pâté
- High Omega 3 Fish two or three times a week. Best: salmon, halibut, snapper, sardines, albacore tuna, rainbow trout
+High nutrition smoothies like spinach or kale, apple, ginger, and cucumber
+Any combo of veggies & dark leafy greens
+Any combo of fruits
Sugar, Soda & Pasteurized Juices
Eating a lot of sugar will negatively affect hormone balance. Try stevia or honey. Some great alternatives are stevia and honey.
Studies have shown that excess caffeine can affect your hormonal balance, increase your chances of a miscarriage and prevent you from ovulating. Love your coffee? Try my pregnancy coffee tip: I mixed ¾ decaf and 1/4 “leaded.” It was great.
Soy foods have been shown to contain estrogen mimicking properties which impact hormone balance & fertility. Avoid all processed soy. Tempeh, tofu & miso are fine.
All GMO Foods
Genetically Modified foods need to be off your list entirely when it comes to fertility. They are believed to have caused an influx in worldwide infertility rates. Since the 1970’s, sperm counts among the world’s male population have declined as much as 40%. Oh My!
No, no, no. Foods which are altered to be reduced in fat or fat-free are highly processed and high in sugar. Full-fat dairy is one example that was shown in a study by Harvard to increase fertility over the fat-reduced options. Remember, fat is what our bodies need to produce hormones.
Those that contain Hydrogenated Oils
- Cake mixes, biscuit, pancake and cornbread mixes
- Cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, donuts
- Peanut butter (except fresh-ground)
- Frozen bakery products, toaster pastries, waffles, pancakes
- French fries – maybe once in a while, but just enjoy a few and then stop!
- Instant mashed potatoes
- Taco shells
- Microwave popcorn
- Most breakfast cereals
- Corn chips, potato chips
- Frozen Pizza
- Low Fat Ice Cream
There you go, ladies! Give your body and your eggs the best chance they can have.
Thank the Lord daily for the baby he is going to send you!
I wish you all the best. Please email me with any exciting news!