Source: Best Health magazine, May 2015
Infertility is a heartbreaking diagnosis for many couples and one of the most frustrating and challenging hurdles a relationship can face. But thanks to modern research, we know more about this condition than ever before, which means we also have options to treat it.
First things first, it’s important to understand why infertility occurs.
For men, it includes abnormal sperm production or function resulting from environmental or hormonal factors, testicular problems (failure to descend, trauma) and genetic defects. Certain issues can affect the delivery of sperm, including premature ejaculation and blockages or injuries to the epididymis.
For women, causes of infertility include ovulatory disorders from hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, and uterine or cervical abnormalities, Fallopian tube damage or blockages, endometriosis, ovarian insufficiency (early ovarian failure) and medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, celiac disease and diabetes.
Increasing age is a risk factor for both men and women, as is smoking. Being overweight or underweight and too much exercise or alcohol can alter hormone levels and increase inflammation, which can lead to miscarriage. However, the most significant contributing factor in both men and women is stress.
Chronic stress and fatigue raise cortisol, which inflames the lining of the uterus. This impairs implantation, causes spasms in the Fallopian tubes that crush the egg as it travels to the uterus and alters the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) production, which decreases the vitality and number of eggs produced per cycle. High cortisol also increases prolactin in the non-pregnant female, signalling to the body that she is already with child, thereby preventing pregnancy. For men, cortisol decreases sperm count and motility and reduces ejaculation strength.
The good news: There are many options for both men and women to support fertility. Remember, before starting any supplementation program, always check with your doctor to ensure that it’s right for you.
Amino acids L-lysine and L-arginine help increase sperm count and motility, as well as enhance the strength of ejaculation.
Coenzyme Q10 can improve fertility in both sexes. It helps prevent DNA damage of the egg and sperm and increases both the number and viability of the eggs and sperm.
Vitex agnus-castus is an herb that inhibits FSH and increases LH, stimulating the corpus luteum, which is responsible for the secretion of progesterone, needed to maintain pregnancy. It also moderates the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio, reducing the effect of endometriosis on the uterus.
Wild yam cream (a natural progesterone cream) can be applied topically to soft skin areas on the body, such as the breast, inner arms or tummy, to support progesterone levels.
Red raspberry leaf and nettle strengthen the uterus and reduce inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oils are needed to prevent inflammation in the uterus before and during pregnancy. Without sufficient intake, the uterus can quickly become inflamed. Fish oils have also been shown to reduce pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Lactium (like Sereniten Plus) is a milk peptide originally isolated from breast milk. It significantly reduces the production of cortisol and promotes calmness.