Research published this past year in Fertility and Sterility revealed that nearly one out of every six couples doesn’t get pregnant—even after a year of trying. (1)
In a Reuters Health report, Dr. Sacha Krieg from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City agrees that infertility rates are on the rise.
She speculates that this may be because women are waiting longer to have children. Or, it may be because of the possible effects of environmental toxins—which includes food toxins and stress. (2) Research shows that women with chronic, low-grade vaginal infections are more likely to be infertile.
Women are not the only ones affected by infertility. Studies show that men also deal with infertility. As it turns out, oxidative stress affects both sperm count and sperm motility. (3)(4)
5 Must-Read Tips to Fight Infertility
While the statistics are daunting, here are some helpful tips to enhance fertility:
1. Eat More Meats, Beans, and Greens.
These three foods groups are uniquely rich in B vitamins. I emphasize the importance of vitamin B6, B12, and folate when trying to conceive.
“B6 is one of the most important nutrients for optimal fertility.”
This is because it increases progesterone. Progesterone is very critical in the second half of our cycle, when we’ve hopefully ovulated and conceived. Progesterone needs to be in good amounts for the next steps of fertilization, implantation, and the continuation of the early pregnancy. B6 naturally increases progesterone.
If you decide to supplement, choose a whole food full spectrum B-vitamin complex or P5P, the natural and bioactive form of vitamin B6. Food sources include poultry, egg yolks, nuts, seeds, and avocado.
When taking folate (sometimes confused with folic acid), opt for methylfolate for greater absorption. Food sources are beans, lentils, and leafy greens. Fermented Spirulina is an excellent whole food source of B vitamins.
2. Add Zinc to Your Diet.
Zinc is a mineral and a micronutrient that supports the immune system, mental development, and fertility. (5)(6)(7) Zinc is equally important for both men and women.
While you can find zinc in grain-like seeds—millet, quinoa, and amaranth—the most abundant source of zinc is meat. This means that those who are at risk for low levels of zinc are vegetarians and vegans.
The chelated form of zinc is best absorbed.
3. Try Fermented Foods Daily.
Fermented foods like cultured vegetables and probiotic beverages promote the growth of healthy bacteria. Not just in the gut—but also along other mucosal surfaces, like the vagina.
When we have a good pH vaginally and it’s inhibiting bad bacteria, we have optimal cervical mucus. When you’re harboring bad bacteria vaginally, it can reduce the cervical mucus so much, you’re not going to have a good chance of conceiving.
And in fact, research shows that women with chronic, low-grade vaginal infections (like bacterial vaginosis or chlamydia) are more likely to be infertile. (8)
4. Improve the Quality of Your Eggs.
Detoxification is incredibly important to balance hormones, boost fertility, and improve egg health. Naturally detoxify the body while rebalancing the inner ecosystem.
What you eat, what you focus on, and what you clear out of your system can dramatically improve the quality of your eggs. The better quality those eggs, the better chance that a pregnancy will occur.
Specific foods that may influence egg health are:
- Leafy greens
- Wild halibut and wild salmon
- Pumpkin seeds
Herbs that influence egg health are ginger and turmeric.
5. Avoid Soy, Coffee, and Alcohol.
I also recommend avoiding soy. Soy favors estrogen. Estrogen can oppose or inhibit progesterone. And progesterone is kind of the name of the game in terms of conceiving and preventing miscarriage.
Small amounts of fermented soy may be okay, but if you are struggling with fertility—it may not be worth it.
If you want to conceive, I also recommend cutting out caffeine and alcohol. “When you look at the research, it’s mind-boggling. It can reduce chances of conceiving or affect miscarriage anywhere from 20%–90%.” For example, one study reports that, “Two cups of coffee a week could increase miscarriage by 50%. And that also means an early miscarriage.”
What To Remember Most About This Article:
A staggering number of couples aren’t able to conceive—one in six couples can’t get pregnant, even after a year of trying. Both men and women can be affected by infertility, which may be related to environmental toxins, advanced maternal age, or countless other factors.
You can use these 5 essential tips to fight infertility and increase your chances of healthy conception:
- Eat more meats, beans, and greens. These foods are rich in B vitamins; vitamin B6 is one of the most important nutrients for optimal fertility since it increases progesterone. Fermented Spirulina is a recommended source of whole food B vitamins.
- Add zinc to your diet. Zinc will support mental development, immune health, and fertility for both men and women. The chelated form of zinc is recommended for the best absorption.
- Try fermented foods daily. Enjoying cultured vegetables and probiotic beverages on a daily basis will support healthy bacterial growth in the gut, as well as the vagina. A good vaginal pH encourages optimal cervical mucus for conception.
- Improve the quality of your eggs. Detoxification can balance hormones, improve fertility, and enhance egg health. Consider guidance to naturally detoxify and boost egg quality as an added bonus.
- Avoid soy, coffee, and alcohol. Soy favors estrogen, which can inhibit progesterone necessary for conception. It’s also recommended to cut out caffeine and alcohol when trying to conceive to improve chances of conception and reduce the risk of miscarriage.
- Thoma, M. E., McLain, A. C., Louis, J. F., King, R. B., Trumble, A. C., Sundaram, R., & Buck Louis, G. M. (2013). Prevalence of infertility in the United States as estimated by the current duration approach and a traditional constructed approach. Fertility and sterility.
- Pittman, Genevra. (2013, Jan 11). Almost one in six couples face infertility: study. Reuters Health. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/11/us-couples-infertility. Retrieved 08-04-13.
- Tremellen, K. (2012). Oxidative Stress and Male Infertility: A Clinical Perspective. In Studies on Men’s Health and Fertility (pp. 325-353). Humana Press.
- Naher, Z. U., Biswas, S. K., Mollah, F. H., Ali, M., & Arslan, M. I. (2013). Role of Glutathione in Male Infertility. Bangladesh Journal of Medical Biochemistry, 4(2), 20-25.
- Ibs, K. H., & Rink, L. (2003). Zinc-altered immune function. The Journal of nutrition, 133(5), 1452S-1456S.
- Bhatnagar, S., & Taneja, S. (2001). Zinc and cognitive development. British journal of nutrition, 85(2), S139.
- Netter, A., Nahoul, K., & Hartoma, R. (1981). Effect of zinc administration on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and sperm count. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine, 7(1), 69-73.