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  Good Morning,  Nutrition and Hormonal Balance As an acupuncturist in the area of fertility, I realize tha...

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Monday, April 18, 2016

[AlternativeAnswers] National Infertility Awareness Week


National Infertility Awareness Week

April 18 - 22, 2016  A diagnosis of Infertility is often defined when a couple has 1 year of regular intercourse without contraception and has been unable to conceive. If you are having trouble conceiving, The first thing to do is create a fertility plan. 

The magic of conception is really an amazing and precise process of proper timing and precious essence, brought together in one heightened moment! Each month the pituitary gland in a woman's brain sends a signal to her ovaries to prepare an egg for ovulation. The pituitary hormones - follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) - stimulate the ovaries to release an egg. This is called ovulation. It is during this time a woman is fertile (usually about day 14 of her menstrual cycle).  The egg travels through the fallopian tube and can be fertilized about 24-72 hours after it is released. Conception is more likely to occur when intercourse takes place 1 to 2 days prior to ovulation or 1 to 2 days after.

I have worked in the area of fertility with acupuncture, hormone balancing for over 18 years. Infertility can be the result of many issues. Issues that effect fertility include:

1. Hormonal imbalances

2. Ovary disorders such as tumors, cysts and stress

3. Age: early 30's has a 22% chance to conceive, early 40's - an 8% chance and early 50's - a 1% chance.

4. Blockage: such as in the fallopian tubes (egg and sperm cannot meet), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and STD's (HPV and Chlamydia)

5. Uterus disorders: such as fibroids and endometriosis 

When there is an issue of fertility, it is a good idea to look at your lifestyle. These problems can complicate infertility:

1. Finding Balance: in a modern society we tend to "burn the candle at both ends". There MUST be a proper balance in the amount of work that we do, in the amount of sleep we have in the foods that we enjoy and in the amount of "down time" we give ourselves.

2. Excessive Work: can drain the very core of our energy. Today, if you are not working for a company who is placing high demands on your time, health and relationships, then you have your own business, which often has no boundaries when it comes to building and maintaining your dream.

3. Improper Diet: can be a nutrition zapper that robs the body of proper vitamins, mineral and sufficient amino acids that are important for energy product. Improper use of caffeine, alcohol and saturated fats have been shown to decrease fertility and increase the chance of miscarriage. A balance of fresh vegetables, complexed carbs, whole grain, as well as, fruits, nuts, seeds and protein are very important for maintaining proper energy levels.

4. Lack of Exercise: decreases blood circulation. Regular exercise builds stamina that can help anyone battle stress. But even something as casual as a walk around the block can help you burn off some of the tension that you carrying around. Stretching is a great tension reducer.

5. Poor Sleep Habits: can drain you of a good day full of vital energy. Overthinking, anxiety and a racing mind are all issues that cause difficulty in falling asleep and/or difficulty staying asleep. Lack of sleep has long been recognized as influencing fertility. It leads to physiological disruptions including the inhibition of growth hormones.

6. Stress: is a hidden issue that is seldom addressed. Stress has been linked to irregularities in ovulation and abnormal sperm development. When you can lower your levels of physiological stress, you have increased your chances of conception.

7. Weight: Being too thin or too heavy can have an impact on how quickly you conceive. Excessive thinness is known to interfere with menstrual periods. Now, it is also believed that if both partners are overweight or obese, conception will take longer.

8. Smoking: Smokers have an increased rate of repeated miscarriage. Women smokers have been shown to have lower levels of estrogen which, may delay conception. Smoking is also thought to influence tubal factor infertility, and can cause early menopause. In men, smoking may damage sperm. When men stop smoking, their sperm count increases quickly. 

Top 7 Supplements Every Woman Should Take (for fertility)

1. The Pre-Natal Vitamin - the most important, because it has a host of minerals (selenium, zinc), vitamins (A, B, C, E and Beta-carotene) and Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which is a B vitamin known as B9. It's a critical supplement for women who want to get pregnant because folic acid helps the baby's neural tube close properly. That happens as early as two or three weeks after conception, when some women may not even know they're expecting. You must be taking 800 - 1000 mcg (micrograms) daily (1 gram). If your pre-natal does not have this amount...choose a better pre-natal!

2. Iron - Many of the patients I see tend to be anemic or borderline anemic.  Low levels prior to conception, can actually contribute to a lack of ovulation. Proper iron levels will assist both in ovulation issues and pregnancy-related anemia. Iron can often cause constipation, so start at a very small dose and work up.  If you do not want to take iron ferrite as a supplement, you can find it in foods such as eggs, fish, meat, beans, tomatoes, whole-grain cereals, beets, spinach, pumpkin, and broccoli. 

3. Vitamin D - The second most deficiency found in woman is Vitamin D. This fat-soluble vitamin, is crucial for the production of sex hormones. Research has shown that woman with ovulatory dysfunction had a tendency for low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps with bone health, reduces inflammation, possibly preventing early miscarriage and improves overall fertility.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids - are the great hormone regulators. Found in flax seeds, flaxseed oil, salmon, mackerel, cod, sardines, anchovies, herring, walnuts, and eggs, it has great benefits for fertility. Research has shown that it increases blood flow to the uterus and also helps ovarian follicles release eggs.  It is also believed that it can assist with fetal brain development and IQ. It is important to look for two numbers when buying Omega 3s. EPA and DHA. The total sum of these two numbers should equal as close to 1,000 mg as possible.  This is an indicator as to the quality of the ingredients and the two most important components; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA has anti-inflammatory properties and is most beneficial when trying to conceive. 
DHA is beneficial for neurological health and optical development of a fetus. DHA is beneficial not only for the health of a growing baby but also for the health of a mother, and is a critical supplement to take while pregnant and breastfeeding. I always recommend to my patient to take 1,000 mg, twice a day.  Remember, 1,000 or 1200 mg does not equal 1000 or 1200 mg of omega-3s. It is the EPA/DHA ratio that should be as close to 1,000 mg total. 

5. Bromelain - is a group of digestive enzymes from pineapple. Bromelain is used for pain relief, as a blood thinner and anti-coagulant, as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. Research has shown that bromelain can assist implantation of the fertilized egg. It is especially important to take right after ovulation. With this supplement, it is all about timing, as consuming too much bromelain at the wrong time in the cycle may work against conception. The acidity can actually cause your cervical mucus to become thinner and unaccepting of incoming sperm. That is why it is especially important to take right after ovulation and then stop, once you have a positive pregnancy test.  
6. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) - is a vitamin-like compound also called "ubiquinone". It is an essential component of cells and is utilized by the mitochondria in the normal process of energy production. It helps convert food into energy at a cellular level. Coenzyme Q10 acts as an antioxidant, much like vitamins C and E, helping to neutralize the cell-damaging molecules known as free radicals. CoQ10 is one in a series of ubiquinones, naturally occurring compounds produced in nearly every cell of the body, and was discovered as recently as 1957. This supplement helps to improve age-related decline in egg and sperm quality.

7. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)- is a natural steroid hormone, one of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. After being secreted by the adrenal glands, it circulates in the bloodstream as DHEA-sulfate (DHEAS) and is converted as needed into other hormones. DHEA is chemically similar to testosterone and estrogen and is easily converted into those hormones. DHEA production peaks in early adulthood and declines in production with age in both men and women. Therefore, many diseases which correlate with age also correlate with low levels of DHEA production.  DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands. A synthetic form of this hormone is also available as a supplement in tablet, capsule, liquid, and sublingual form. In a study published in the Human Reproduction taking 80 milligrams of DHEA for two months, helped improve the response to ovarian stimulation. These women who took DHEA in the study responded better to the gonadotropic drugs given during IVF. It has been shown to be helpful in women with Decreased Ovarian Reserve (DOR) and Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) as it is a precursor to hormones such as testosterone and estrogens and may help increase follicular stimulation. Some research also suggests DHEA can possibly reduce aneuploidy chromosomal abnormalities in embryos and therefore, decrease miscarriage rates. Before beginning DHEA I suggest you get DHEA-S levels tested to make sure they are within range before supplementation. DHEA should be discontinued as soon as a positive pregnancy test is achieved. Warning: woman with elevated levels of excess male androgens as seen in acne, ovarian cysts, excess body hair, unstable blood sugar levels, thinning hair, mid-cycle pain or PCOS, should NOT TAKE DHEA.

Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit 


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