You are what you drink

Anyone who has met me in clinic or has read this blog knows that I firmly believe that our diet and environment impact our health. The old saying of “You are what you eat” couldn’t be more true- what you eat absolutely impacts how we feel and our overall health.

New research is adding to this old saying- what you drink may be just as important as what you eat, when it comes to fertility.

This study looked at what couples drank during an IVF cycle and monitored their outcomes. They found that couples that drank more sugary drinks like soda did worse in IVF: fewer eggs and fewer good quality embryos.

The good news is that no associations were found between consumption of coffee or caffeine and IVF outcome. As we have posted before, caffeine gets a bad reputation without cause when it comes to fertility. Similarly, some of the decaffeinated beverages may actually be more dangerous than the caffeine itself. If you are interested in reading more about the risks associated with decaf, please check this link out.

 

Take home points:

  • What you drink matters in terms of fertility, especially during an IVF cycle
  • Avoid sugary drinks, especially during an IVF cycle
  • It’s ok to keep drinking moderate amounts of caffeine during an IVF cycle

Could unexplained infertility be explained by your diet?

unexplained-infertility

Unexplained infertility is a frustrating diagnosis and 15% of couples are affected by unexplained infertility. It means that despite undergoing all the costly evaluations, we don’t know why you are having trouble getting pregnant. Many cases of unexplained infertility are probably caused by the presence of multiple subtle factors, each of which on their own do not significantly reduce fertility, but reduce the pregnancy rate when combined.

 

Research is now suggesting that your nutrition could be a potential reason for unexplained infertility. A recent study compared women who had the diagnosis of unexplained infertility to women who conceived naturally. They found that women with unexplained infertility had significant abnormalities in their dietary habits. These differences ranged from minor imbalances in micronutrients to severe combined macronutrient and micronutrient imbalances. This study suggests that paying attention to your diet could potentially cure cases of unexplained infertility, improve IVF treatment, and even restore natural fertility.

 

What you can do:

  • Take a daily prenatal vitamin to help your micronutrient balance
  • Eat a well-balanced meal when trying to conceive
    • Consider talking to a nutritionist for formal recommendations about your diet if you are concerned you may have an imbalance in your macronutrients

Prenatal vitamin resource

Good morning! I wanted to start of the week with a great resource.

There are hundreds of prenatal vitamins available. As we have previously discussed in the blog, it’s important to know exactly what is in your prenatal vitamin. For those of you who are still on the hunt for the best fit, consider checking out this website for detailed comparisons of the commercially available prenatal vitamins.

Wishing you a great week!

Probiotics can boost sperm function

Probiotics have been all over the news recently and many of my patients ask me about them in our visit. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that may be beneficial to our health, especially our gut health. We are learning that our gut health can impact our overall health including health conditions like diabetes and autoimmune conditions. Emerging studies are demonstrating that what we eat can alters our gut health can impact our natural fertility.

 

A recent study provided the probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, to obese mice and found that the mice lost weight and had improved sperm function. This could mean that adding more probiotics to your diet, could help you boost your naturally fertility and help you lose weight, too.
I’m cautiously optimistic with this study. Improving obesity and sperm function in mice is not the same as improving sperm function in humans so more studies are needed to prove that this actually works. In the meantime, consider adding probiotics and pre-biotics to your diet. You will probably feel better, but it may help you get pregnant sooner, too.

 

For more information about probiotics, consider checking out this.

The hard work is worth it

Changing your habits is HARD– it’s hard to change what you eat, to make time for regular exercise, and to prioritize your well-being. But it’s absolutely worth it!

So many patients with infertility tell me they feel powerless and hopeless.  I want to empower you to believe that there are some things that you can do to boost your fertility. And it starts with taking care of yourself.

Your weight is very important for your health and your fertility. So important that we have discussed it here, here, here, and even here. It’s a recurring topic on the blog because it’s important and it is, unlikely your age, something that you can change.

A study was recently published that the hard work that is needed to lose weight is worth it. Women who consumed fewer calories and started exercising were much more likely to lose weight, ovulate on their own, and get pregnant compared to people who didn’t make these changes.  A combination of fewer calories by reducing fat and refined carbohydrate intake, and increased aerobic exercise is the cornerstone of healthy weight loss.

 

What you can do

  • Do something, ANYTHING for exercise 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
    • Consider using a fitness tracker or pedometer like FitBit
    • Schedule your workouts when nothing will interrupt your session. Make your fitness a priority.
  • Take a closer look at your diet and what you can cut out easily. Consider an app like MyFitnessPal.
    • Start by eliminating refined carbohydrates found in juices, sodas, and sweets
  • Don’t get discouraged. Any step is a step in the right direction.
  • Talk to your doctor for more information about local support groups and fitness programs in your area.

Vitamin D: why you need more of it

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We are learning more and more about the important role that Vitamin D plays in terms of our fertility. We have previously discussed the role of vitamin D and your sleep/wake cycle in terms of optimizing your health. Recent studies have added to this to demonstrate just how important Vitamin D is when trying to conceive.

Vitamin D may improve your ovarian reserve, a marker of how many eggs women have compared to others their age. Vitamin D may help support your ovarian function.

Similarly, women with higher vitamin D levels, are more likely to conceive than women with low vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D may also be important for treating hormone imbalances, particularly if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). If you are undergoing fertility treatments like IVF, Vitamin D may even help decrease your risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and prevent dangerous complications from OHSS.

Why not consider taking a vitamin D supplement to boost your fertility naturally?

 

What you can do:

  • Ask for your vitamin D level to be checked annually when you are trying to conceive
  • Consider starting a supplement of at least 2000 IU of vitamin D to help support ovarian function
  • Target a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of >50 nmol/L to enhance your fertility

Keeping plastics out of your kitchen

plastics

We have previously reviewed the negative impact that chemicals in plastics may be having on our health and fertility. One of the best ways that we can reduce this exposure is in our kitchen. When food is stored or heated up in plastic, the dangerous chemicals can leach into the food that we ingest. These chemicals can then interact with our endocrine system and cause disease.

When I first started considering my exposure to plastics, it felt like an impossible uphill battle. By starting in my kitchen, the task of reducing plastic exposure felt more manageable. I started by removing all plastic storage containers and making sure that we do not heat up food in plastic.

Here is a quick article that I thought I would share to help reduce your plastic exposures at home in the kitchen. I hope this helps you find reasonable solutions for limiting your plastic exposure in your home.