Top Power Foods for Fertility
Almonds-Manganese, magnesium, iron, riboflavin, high in monosaturated fats (a good snack)
Black Beans-Fiber, folate, manganese, protein, magnesium, iron
Organic or Wild Blueberries-very high in anti-oxidants (help clear free radicals)
Broccoli-High in calcium, iron and magnesium, source of vitamins A, C, potassium, fiber
Citrus Fruits-Vitamin C, fiber, and phytonutrients
Wild Alaskan Salmon-High in Omega-3 fatty acids (aka: essential fatty acids, EFA's) (NO farmed or pacific salmon)
Spinach-High in Vitamin A, K, manganese and folate, magnesium, iron, Vitamin C
Sweet Potatoes-High in Vitamin A, fiber , Vitamin B6, C, potassium and iron
Tomatoes-High in Vitamins C, A, K, lycopene
Whole Grains-Barley, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, brown rice, whole grain sprouted breads are high in complex carbohydrates, Vitamin B, fiber, and iron. (Always best to minimize grains and maximize veggies and protein)
Blue-Green Algaes (spirulina, chlorella)-minerals, amino acids
Green Smoothies-greens with fruit, packed with nutrients, stay tuned for recipes
Mushrooms-help the immune system function properly
Foods high in folic acid:
Black eyed peas
Foods high in anti-oxidants-in order of highest to lowest
Green tea (organic and decaf is best for fertility)
Small red beans
Wild or organic blueberries
Red kidney beans
Cultivated organic blueberries
Organic red delicious apples
Organic granny Smith apples
Organic sweet cherries
Organic gala apples
Nutrients Needed for Female Fertility
Antioxidants: When the body breaks down old cells and toxins from the environment, it creates oxygen. Oxygen is good, right? Well, only in limited amounts and mostly in our lungs. When there is too much oxygen in our tissues and cells it breaks down into free radicals which actually causes damage to the cells! This is called "oxidative damage." Do not fear, our body has a natural way to keep that oxidative damage low while allowing oxygen to do it's job and it's called "antioxidants." The antioxidants (like pac man) are substances that clean up the extra free radicals from the cells thus protecting our precious bodies (and ovaries, folliciles/eggs, and sperm) from unnecessary oxidative damage. Where do the antioxidants come from? Our super healthy and yummy foods such as those listed above! So, in order to maximize your ovaries abilities to ovulate properly, to maximize the genetic health of your eggs, and to maximize the swimming ability and genetic health of your sperm, eat LOTS OF ANTIOXIDANTS!!!! You really can not get enough of these little helpers. They make the growing grounds for your sperm and eggs nourishing and safe instead of toxic and damaging. Whenever you eat these antioxidant rich foods, take a moment to picture (in your mind's eye) the antioxidants going straight to your reproductive organs and making them a rich, nourishing, safe, and supple ground for making sperm and growing eggs. (This visualization is helpful for all of the fertility foods!) Additionally, antioxidants are most easily absorbed by the body when the produce is either cooked or frozen before eating (this breaks the cell wall down releasing the antioxidants more easily), so add lots of frozen dark berries to your smoothies and ENJOY. Stay tuned for yummy antioxidant-packed recipes.
Folic Acid (aka folate) & B Vitamins: 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 also part of the very important B-complex family of vitamins that are necessary to produce the genetic materials of 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 preconception 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
What type of folic acid do I need? There is lots of recent research that 40% to 60% of the USA population has a genetic defect that reduces their ability to convert the folic acid they eat into the form of folic acid that the body needs for many processes including the baby's spinal cord formation.
Can I get tested to see if I have the genetic deficiency? There are tests available that range from $150 to $400 and are not well covered by insurance yet. So, we recommend that everyone just take the most usable and needed form of folic acid so that you don't have to worry about whether or not you have the genetic deficiency. This increases your chances of preventing spinal cord defects and miscarriages in addition to supporting many other necessary processes in the body.
What is the most usable and needed form of folic acid for our bodies? 5-MTHF (or 5 methyltetrahydrofolate). Check your prenatal vitamin to see if it says "folate," "folic acid," or "5-MTHF." If it says either of the first two then it is probably NOT the 5-MTHF form. Very few prenatal vitamins are including the 5-MTHF yet so the easiest route is to just take an additional 5-MTHF supplement. (Ask at your local supplement store or natural foods store for a good quality brand of this supplement). Ask you medical doctor or naturopathic doctor about an appropriate dosage for you. If someone is deficient, they may find that this supplementation helps with many other bothersome health symptoms as well.
Zinc: 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.
Men: 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 your partner's 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: 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.
Essential Fatty Acids (aka: EFAs, Omega 3's, Fish Oils): 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. They are also necessary for the healthy growth of babies' brains.
Men: 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.
Vitamin E: 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.
Vitamin C: 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. One study has shown that women taking the drug clomiphene to stimulate ovulation will have a better chance of ovulating if vitamin C is taken alongside the drug. Clomiphene does not always work in every woman, but the chances are often increased when vitamin C is supplemented.
Men: Vit C also appears to keep the sperm from clumping together, making them more motile.
Vitamin A: 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. Animal studies show that vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy has produced newborn animals with no eyes, eye defects, undescended testes and diaphragmatic hernias. 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 10,000 iu a day during pregnancy. Make sure to add together the Vitamin A in your multivitamin and in your fish oil supplement to assure that is beneath the 10,000iu threshold. Beta-carotene, which is one of the vegetable forms of vitamin A, does NOT carry any risks.
-http://www.marilynglenville.com/infertility.htm, The Natural Health Website for Women
-handouts by Roxane Geller, LAc, acupuncturist, fertility specialist in Seattle, WA
To Healthy Babies,
Dr. Teresa Evans ND,LM & Dr. Tamar Blau ND