If you are planning on conceiving one day, you must also be prepared that it may not happen as easily as you would hope for it to be, especially if you have PCOS, Irregular period, ovarian cyst , thyroid disease or any other hormone imbalance, your Doctor may have shared the news that you may need assistance to conceive.
Dr Disha Sridhar
I am a Gynaecologist Obstetrician ( MD, DNB OBGYN )with an emphasis on INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE.
However, there’s IVF – which is popularly known to rescue many women’s conception-related worries! Celebrities do IVF, sounds glamorous right?Thanks to advancements in the reproductive technology space, you have a back up option in case you fail to conceive naturally. You must have also read about women in their 50s who also have made it to the trim! While you may be hoping to get pregnant the old fashioned way, technology is there to support you in case required. However, please do note that IVF isn’t always a guarantee.
The per-cycle success rate is only 20 to 35 percent — and that’s despite the enormous cost of the procedure. Now we have concerns about the long term exposure of so much synthetic hormones on women’s overall health and well being. Then there’s the toll that the IVF drugs, like Clomid, take on your health. This drug works like the Pill, but in reverse (forcing ovulation instead of suppressing it). And it can bring about a raft of deeply unpleasant short-term symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, abnormal bleeding, headache, bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness and blurred vision) and long-term consequences (potential for increased risk of certain cancers). In other words, Clomid can be a valuable tool in helping you conceive, but it can send your body into a state of hormonal cascade that lasts for months or years—whether or not you get pregnant.
One thing I know is this; the fertility journey can be tough for some of us. Extremely tough. That’s why I write here – to educate and help others make well-informed decisions. I’ve wanted to touch on the physical and emotional strain of IVF for a long while. My main motivation for it is this – to help couples understand IVF isn’t necessarily the easy route (although for some, the only route, granted). In fact, it is far from simple and straightforward as you are about to see. It makes for a very straining, painful and disconnected time. I want you to remember, IVF isn’t always a last resort either – I also see people with failed IVFs who are told they will never have children, fall pregnant. But they end up conceiving naturally after going through my protocols. Believe me, it happens. If you are considering IVF as the “easy alternative,” check your resume to see if you have these skills: self-injection experience, high pain tolerance, the ability to control hormonal upheaval, supportive partner willing to be trained as a needle aficionado, willing to give up the social scene/the work scene/the family scene … you get the idea, a desire to have the bits and pieces between your knees and waistline on display for a gallery of doctors. If you have all of these attributes in place and finely tuned, you’re all set. That’s all you need. Best of luck! Oh, one other thing, it’s highly unnatural and very expensive.
But don’t worry. If IVF is in your future, you can dramatically increase your chances of conceiving with a few simple lifestyle interventions. Here’s what you need to know.
How to Improve Egg Quality: Eat foods that support healthy hormone balance Increase dietary antioxidants Reduce environmental toxins Focus on stress reduction practices Consider supplements to support diet and lifestyle practices
Foods to Balance Hormones and Improve Fertility:
Why would you want to balance hormones before becoming pregnant? Well Hormone imbalance may be one of the reason why you need IVF in the first place . Low progesterone, high testosterone, low thyroid hormone, and insulin resistance are a few examples of imbalances that can make it more difficult to get pregnant and impact ovulation.
For you to strike a balance between how your hormones function and how that can impact fertility, make sure you focus on the below as a part of your diet:
Many women are often surprised to hear that some of the most ideal foods for women wishing to conceive – are eggs, organic ghee, wild caught cold water fish and avocado. Fats are how you build your hormones and without them, your body will have a difficult time creating the hormones you need. Hormones are stabilised in the fat matrix.
The importance of healthy fats cannot be understated! Of course you should also have a healthy liver to metabolize all that fat which we ensure in our protocols.
For one thing, we need fats, especially cholesterol to make the hormones. Your fertility and pregnancy require a particular balance of hormones and fats supply the body with the building blocks required for hormones.
However, the quality of fats is important. Healthy fats have an immeasurable impact on fertilisation.
A newly fertilized egg making its way down the fallopian tube begins to scan its environment for the available nutrients. It does this to determine how safe it would be to plant itself in the uterus and if there is adequate nutrition to thrive in that space. If these healthy fats and nutrients aren’t present, it could lead to altered implantation and the subsequent effect on the growth of the embryo.
Foods I recommend my patients, to increase fertility: Organic eggs Leafy green vegetables Nuts and seeds Organic, grass-fed meats fermented foods, homemade pickles, fermented veggies, kimchi Wild caught, cold water fish Organic berries Avocados Ghee, cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil and other health fats
Improve Egg Quality Support the Mitochondria:
When I am working with a woman on improving egg quality my treatments are heavily focused on supporting the mitochondria. Why support the mitochondria? Mitochondria are the only source of energy for the egg and the important factor to note is mitochondrial function is heavily dependant on age factor. As women age, their mitochondrial function diminishes and can greatly affect egg quality.
One of the main roles of mitochondria is the production of ATP, which is the main source of energy for all of our cells. It also controls intracellular pH, which improves fertilisation of the egg. And it is responsible for spindle formation. I won’t go into too much biology, but briefly, spindles are responsible for helping equally divide chromosomes in a parent cell. This is very important, as it is the main reason doctors are so worried about Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal disorders that can occur in the offspring of women over 35.
If chromosomes don’t separate correctly, these genetic disorders could be the result. Older women have less mitochondria per egg so it is more difficult to do all the tasks required of it, including proper chromosomal separation
Some of the most important nutrients for mitochondrial health are..
B vitamins Fish oil and other health fats L-Carnitine CoQ10 N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) Magnesium Alpha Lipoic Acid
The Role of Antioxidants
CoQ10 is one of the most effective nutrients in preconception because of its ability to protect the mitochondria from oxidative stress. The best way to take is ubiquinol and the recommended dosage is 300 mg daily. Higher doses should be taken with other forms of CoQ10. Glutathione is another antioxidant that provides protection to the mitochondria and therefore, protects your egg health. It is also an additional factor for many antioxidant and detoxification systems throughout the body, which helps eliminate toxins and provide the baby with a conducive environment to grow in.Glutathione can be synthesized from NAC and also requires selenium it’s a good idea to add some Brazil nuts to your diet or take appropriate Supplements. Taking its precursor N-Acetyl cysteine or NAC, as well as eating sulfur rich foods can boost glutathione as well. As a side, NAC can also improve insulin resistance and balance hormones. Preconception care, including diet, lifestyle and supplement changes should be started at minimum 6 months before trying to conceive, but again 1-2 years is much more ideal.
Reduce Toxin Exposure
In addition to taking supplements that improve mitochondrial function women and men should do their best to reduce exposure to mitochondrial toxins. Here are some of the mitochondrial toxins
Tobacco Alcohol Stress hormones like cortisol Pain relief and anti-inflammatories drugs Certain prescriptions such as metformin Cholesterol lowering medications Anti-anxiety medication Antibiotics
While all that is said, here’s the solution or a way forward towards a way to improve the egg quality in 90 days!
Your egg takes 3 months to mature, which means it will take at least 90 days of a focused pre conceptional protocol in order for you to make significant changes in your egg quality.
I create a custom lifestyle, nutrition and supplementation plan for each of my patients based on their body’s needs and metabolic typing. But universally, women need more antioxidant support, specific B vitamins, and many of my patients have required digestive and detoxification support prior to pregnancy – hence it differs from patient to patient.
As part of this protocol we ensure every woman is taking a quality prenatal vitamin.
Steps You Can Take Today:
Here are the 3 steps I have every patient take to improve their fertility and egg quality:
A daily dose of good quality prenatal vitamin
Whole foods diet with an emphasis on loading veggies, healthy fats, and protein (you can download our free food guide)
5 to 15 minutes of daily meditation + journaling every night
Using food based medicine, along with targeted nutritional supplementation and lifestyle medicine, I’ve helped many couples succeed in becoming pregnant and creating an amazing pregnancy experience with my integrative approach.
Wishing you the best on your fertility journey!
Always remember, your body knows the very best for you. If you are struggling to conceive, it’s a sign that your body is not ready for it. You can change that by doing the basic preparation as mentioned above. Once you start understanding the language of your hormones, you can start making better choices that finally start to work for you.
At Truhealing we believe that fertlity is your birthright and you should be able to choose if and when and how you want to have a baby. And we also know that it’s not always possible to get access to Integrative and holistic healthcare solutions — sometimes they’re too far away and most of the time they are way too expensive. That’s why we offer phone and Skype consultation sessions .
In your consultation session, we will go over your health history and symptoms, get feedback on any health changes you’ve implemented from our resource library, review your hormone test analysis if applicable, and help you develop a plan of action to solve your symptoms.