There is a common misconception within the conventional medical arena that we should just ignore symptoms until they become unbearable or even life threatening.
When it comes to women’s health and fertility this approach is especially prevalent. Women are always telling me stories of doctors who have told them their symptoms are all in their heads or their blood tests are completely fine even though they are clearly in the throes of hormonal imbalance.
Regardless of whether you actually want to have children or not, if you are of child-bearing age, being fertile and having optimal hormonal function is a vital sign that you are healthy.
Yup, if you’re fertile it means your body is working the way it’s supposed to – this goes for women AND men.
So, with that said, I want to share some top tips and practices I’ve learned along the way for optimizing your fertility and upgrading your hormones during your reproductive years.
How to test your fertility:
Lets Get Checked is my go-to provider for at-home hormone testing kits for myself and clients. You just order them online, have the kit shipped to you, then do the tests at home and send the kit back in the mail.
One and done.
And after processing, their team of physicians will review your results and a member of their nursing team will call you to deliver the results and discuss treatment options.
These are the fertility tests I recommend:
(use discount code Hormones20 to get 20% off the price of all tests)
1. Female Hormone Test which will provide you with a broad picture of your hormonal health.
Biomarkers covered in the test:
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
2. Progesterone Test which will give you clear picture of whether or not ovulation is occurring.
- Progesterone Hormone
3. Ovarian Reserve Test, At home AMH test to indicate the number of eggs a woman has left.
- Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
The best foods for fertility:
“Good” and “bad” oils. Only cook with saturated fats like coconut oil, butter or lard (from healthy animals) and avoid cooking with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which oxidize easily. These fats include olive oil, corn, canola and any other vegetable-based oil. Oxidization over time is linked to inflammation, cancer and degenerative disease. Inflammation is especially harmful to our reproductive organ function.
Eat raw veggies. You want to have raw veggies every day along with cooked veggies but you want to make sure that you kill any lingering bacteria or parasites. This is especially important for women who are trying to conceive or are already pregnant because these can be harmful to the baby. All you have to do is add about 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract to a quart of water and soak your veggies for a couple minutes to kill off any harmful bugs that might be hanging out.
Avoid sugar, especially fructose. Focus on low-sugar fruit like grapefruit, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and strawberries. Do you know that regular sugar consumption makes it more difficult for a woman to conceive because the ovaries are very sensitive to insulin. There are actual insulin receptors on the ovaries that are mean’t to make estrogen but in the presence of too high insulin they make androgens (male sex hormones). This completely disrupts your menstrual cycle!
Avoid peanuts. These little legumes are most often contaminated with mold, which can produce mycotoxins – very harmful chemical compounds. Opt for almonds, walnuts and almond butter instead. Added bonus, almonds’ unique nutrient profile helps to reduce blood sugar surges after meals and walnuts have the highest omega-3 content of all nuts.
EAT FAT. Your brain and hormones are composed mostly of fat and as far as I’m concerned it is the basis of a healthy diet! According to Lana, “the best fats are saturated and monounsaturated.” These include free-range egg yolks, grass-fed butter, avocados, coconut, grass-fed meat, olives and nuts. You also wanna focus on sardines and wild-caught sockeye salmon to maximize your omega-3’s!
Interesting observation: Lana recommends eating egg yolks soft-cooked or raw but not hard cooked because the cholesterol in eggs can only harm you if it is overcooked.
The best fertility supplements:
A number of factors may interfere with fertility, including nutrient deficiencies, psychological stress, and inflammation, just to name a few. In women, this may lead to hormonal imbalances, which can cause irregular and anovulatory menstrual cycles, as well as increased risk for miscarriage and poor egg quality. For men, this can cause inadequate sperm production, poor quality sperm, decreased sperm lifespan, and poor sperm motility.
While I am not a fan of taking a ton of supplements, I do think there are some really good ones that support both female and male fertility and they should be considered as part of a preconception nutrition plan. Please keep in mind that I only recommend high quality supplements from a few specific brands, because you get what you pay for! These companies source the best ingredients and ensure high quality final products with third party certification. At the end of the day, 99% of the supplements on the market are poor quality, and they won’t help you in the long run.
Necessary fertility supplements
First up…a prenatal – I consider a prenatal vitamin before and during pregnancy, as well as postpartum to be a non-negotiable. There are a million prenatals on the market, but very few have the right amounts and right types of nutrients. These prenatals are the ones I trust and recommend the most. Follow dosage instructions on the label. Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal, Thorne Research Basic Prenatal or Designs for Health Prenatal Pro
Omega-3 fatty acids are super important for both women and men’s overall health and fertility. They help men to produce more of the cone-shaped sperm that are the healthiest, most fertile shape. They are also beneficial in helping to regulate menstrual cycles and improve PMS symptoms. After conception, the omega-3’s EPA and DHA are used extensively in fetal development, particularly in the brain and nervous system so they should be a non-negotiable in your diet and supplement regimen.
There’s no standardized dose, but the recommendations are to try to get about 450mg of DHA and 650mg of EPA daily. Sources for this include Cod Liver oil, Fish oil and Algae oil. While it is possible to get alpha linolenic acid from flax, walnuts, chia and other plant sources, this is not converted by the body to DHA and EPA very well.
Cod Liver Oil – this supplement holds a special place in my heart and I consider it to be a perfect fertility food because of it’s high content of preformed vitamin A which is crucial for promoting full-term pregnancy along with proper development of the fetus, particularly with regard to the facial structure. There is evidence that suggests our jaw bones have narrowed with each generation because of the lack of vitamin A in our modern diets. Rosita Real Food liquid or Rosita Real Food capsules is the best brand.
Buy either the cod liver oil or one of the fish oil brands but not both. I prefer the cod liver oil for preconception and pregnancy personally, and then you can switch to a fish oil postpartum.
Basic Hormonal Health and Fertility Supplements
Everything below is optional and I suggest working with a practitioner to determine what might be helpful for you and your partner.
The B complex of vitamins, particularly folate, are critical for producing healthy DNA for both men and women in order to produce the best quality sperm and eggs. They also help regulate the menstrual cycle. Vitamin B-12 deficiency may be a cause for early pregnancy loss, so adequate levels of B12 are important for a healthy pregnancy. In addition, folate is important to support the mother during pregnancy and for fetal development, particularly to prevent defects in the nervous system.I suggest Seeking Health B Complex Plus. Follow dosage instructions on label.
Magnesium If there was one mineral that I would recommend to women, magnesium would be it. It has such a profound effect on our periods because it plays a part in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. It’s the calming mineral – I refer to it as natural valium because it supports the nervous system and helps prevent feelings of nervousness, anxiety, restlessness, irritability and fear.I suggest Magnesium glycinate – the most easily absorbed form of magnesium, which will prevent diarrhea. I recommend 400-800mg a day. Start with 400mg and increase the dose by 100mg each week if you aren’t feeling the good effects of it at a lower dosage.
Vitamin D has been shown to be helpful for supporting in vitro fertilization and is still being studied for its role in helping with fertility. It has been shown to have a positive impact on both PCOS and endometriosis, which can interfere with a woman’s fertility. In men, vitamin D aids in the healthy development of the DNA in the sperm cell, and also helps maintain semen count and motility. It also increases testosterone, which may boost libido.I suggest Seeking Health Vitamin D3 + K2 Liquid or Seeking Health Vitamin D3 + K2 capsules. It’s important to get vitamin D tested before taking it. There is no need to supplement unless it is low – below 50. If you are low, the standard dose is 5000IU a day for 60-90 days and then retest to see where your levels are.
Zinc is an essential mineral for the DNA process and adequate amounts are required to produce healthy eggs and sperm. It supports follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH production, which will support healthy ovulation. Additionally, zinc has been shown to improve sperm count, health, and motility. It helps maintain adequate testosterone levels in both men and women as well, which will support a healthy sex drive.The best way to get enough zinc is through diet. Foods rich in zinc include raw oysters, beef, lamb, and pumpkin and sesame seeds. However, when it isn’t possible to get enough of these in the diet, the recommended dosage for zinc is 15-30 mg a day of Zinc Picolinate right after eating. Brands include Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate, Pure Encapsulations Zinc Picolinate. Caution: zinc should not be taken on an empty stomach because it can cause nausea.
Antioxidant supplements for fertility
Antioxidants help with lowering inflammation and improving both egg and sperm quality. These supplements help both women and men naturally boost their fertility, and support their chances of conceiving a healthy child. They are optional add-ons to your supplement regimen since most can be found in your prenatal. Please consult a healthcare professional or work with someone one on one to determine which of these supplements would be best for you and your partner to add into your regimen.
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that plays an essential role in fertility by helping the mitochondria produce energy that is used by our cells. Since egg cells are so large they require more energy to produce healthy eggs, making adequate amounts of Coq10 vital for this process. It’s safe to say this applies to sperm cells as well and has been shown to increase sperm motility and count.As we age the amount of Coq10 in our bodies decreases which can lead to a decrease in the quality of our eggs. This is why it’s believed that Coq10 supplementation has been shown to improve ovarian reserve and egg quality. It also supports healthy pregnancy because the placenta contains a lot of CoQ10 to protect the fetus from oxidative stress and it helps prevent pre-eclampsia.The recommended type of CoQ10 is ubiquinol and the dosage is 50-100mg a day. Follow directions on product label. Brands: Designs for Health CoQ10, Now Foods CoQ10
N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC is a precursor to glutathione, the mother of all antioxidants and has been shown to be a very powerful antioxidant. Glutathione protects the liver from damage and it plays a key role in preventing a host of conditions linked to inflammation. It is important for good egg quality and egg DNA, as well as sperm motility, count, morphology and reduction in DNA fragmentation.Two recommended brands are Integrative Therapeutics NAC and Pure Encapsulations NAC. The recommended dose is 600 milligrams, twice daily for 28 days, up to 12 weeks.S-Acetyl Glutathione with NAC by Designs for Health is another option for someone who just wants to take glutathione. Some people do better on NAC, whereas others do better on glutathione. It depends on the person and the budget, as glutathione is expensive. Start with NAC and gauge how you feel on it.
Vitamin C – The ovaries contain high amounts of vitamin C, where it probably helps to heal the ovary after the egg ruptures. Supplementing with vitamin C has also been shown to improve luteal phase defect, a common cause of infertility.For men, vitamin C contributes significantly to sperm health by keeping them from clumping together, and has been shown to increase sperm count, motility, and viability. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect both the egg and the sperm from DNA damage.The recommended dosage is 1000-2000mg of vitamin C a day. Start with 1000mg a day and work up to 2000mg a day – splitting the dose into two doses of 1000mg each. If you experience diarrhea at 1000mg, split into two doses of 500mg each. My favorite options are Seeking Health Vitamin C powder or Livon Labs Liposomal Vitamin C.
Vitamin E – is an antioxidant that helps the sperm bind to the egg better when fertilizing. It also helps to protect the DNA in the sperm. Dosage is 400IU of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols which is the full spectrum of vitamin E. Brands include Now Foods Gamma E Complex, Designs for Health Ultra Gamma E Complex
Selenium is a potent antioxidant, helping to protect the thyroid from heavy metal exposure. It is also involved in T4 to T3 conversion and helps to decrease the antibodies that are seen in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. A healthy thyroid is highly beneficial for fertility in both women and men. For women, selenium is seen in very high quantities in the follicles, where it appears to be required for healthy follicle development. For men, selenium helps to maintain the fertile shape of sperm, which is supposed to be slightly ovoid rather than round. It is also important in producing healthy DNA, which produces healthy, viable sperm.Selenium also lowers risk of postpartum thyroiditis, especially in women who are prone to thyroid problems or who have a diagnosed thyroid condition. Starting in preconception and through pregnancy, take 200mcg a day. Brands include Pure Encapsulations Selenium (Selenomethionine), Thorne Research Selenomethionine
Supplement Medical Disclaimer
This supplement information is a result of years of practice experience and research by me. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. Do not use the information on this webinar to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease.
Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly.
Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have learned in this program. Information provided in this program and the use of any products or services purchased from me by you DOES NOT create a healthcare provider-patient relationship between you and myself.
How to use food and supplements to boost your fertility:
As you can see I am super pumped about these “hacks” to support your fertility. I like to give people lots to work with, although I know too much info can be a tad overwhelming! Start with 1-2 food recommendations at a time, get comfortable with them over two weeks and then add in more recs.
Same goes for supplements. I don’t recommend trying more than 3 supplements at a time because it becomes hard to tell which ones are actually working.