As promised, here's the follow up to last week's post on optimizing fertility. We can't change ovarian reserve (how many eggs a woman has remaining) however we can do a lot to support egg quality and increase our chances of both conception and carrying to term!
Moderate exercise: both too little and too much exercise can suppress ovulation. Aim for 30-60 minutes 5 days a week.
Diet: low glycemic index- watch the sugar! Eat plentiful protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains. For some women with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or PCOS I recommend following a limited grain diet. For most women a balanced whole foods diet similar to the Mediterranean diet is the best bet! Additionally I recommend stopping gluten if you have unexplained infertility (after thorough work up), as I've seen it make all the difference.
Environmental: avoid plastics as much as possible as they can interfere with estrogen in our body.
Mental/ Emotional: Stress management is key! Infertility puts so much stress on us as individuals and as couples. Working with a counselor can be fantastic. I encourage you to try out mindfulness based techniques with some of my favorite apps- headspace, aura, and calm. Insight timer is another great resource for guided relaxation. Locally Linda Thai's meditation class at Fairbanks Yoga is a fantastic resource! I could not recommend it more highly.
Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep. Melatonin is a powerful ovarian antioxidant. Support your melatonin production by sleeping in complete darkness, going to sleep before midnight, keeping a regular sleep schedule day to day, and avoiding electronics 2 hours before bed (including phone screens). If you need extra help sleeping you can try taking melatonin 1-3 mg before bed.
There are so many options that can be individualized based on your current health, genetic heritage, hormone levels, and age. Here are a few of my favorites:
Myo-inositol: especially important in PCOS, however myo-inositol can improve egg quality for all women. This nutrient supports ovulation, reduces insulin resistance, and reduces testosterone in women with PCOS. Average dose is 2 grams 1-2x/ day. Some people experience mild indigestion, if so reduce dose and work back up slowly.
NAC: NAC is a precursor to glutathione, our most potent anti-oxidant. NAC supports ovulation, high quality eggs, and supports a hospitable uterine lining.
CoQ10: An important energy source in our cells and an antioxidant, CoQ10 supports mitochondrial function in our ovaries, maintaining higher quality eggs. Dosages range from 200-800 mg/ day for fertility support.
I hope this overview was helpful! I would love to help you with an individualized assessment and plan to optimize your fertility, please reach out if you'd like to schedule a consult.