INFERTILITY AND NATURAL MEDICINE
In assessing infertility, natural medicine physicians evaluate a patient’s overall well-being: the effect of stress on hormone levels; diet and exercise habits; exposure to environmental toxins; the function of the endocrine, digestive, and immune systems; and the unique design of a person’s reproductive anatomy and physiology. They evaluate the man’s sperm and test for hormone imbalances in men and women, as well as thyroid function, vitamin levels, and metabolic function. They then work with patients to correct imbalances and create an optimal environment for conception and pregnancy.
FIVE WAYS TO ENHANCE FERTILITY
Nourish your endocrine system. Support the ovaries or testes, thyroid, and adrenal glands by eating organic, whole foods including nuts, seeds, fish, and avocados, as well as foods high in vitamin C. Oysters, rich in zinc, enhance male fertility and bolster a woman’s immune system, however, be careful of parasites.
Avoid GMO containing foods, as well as soy, which may have a negative effect on reproductive function in certain individuals. “It is important to avoid foods that are stressful to the body,” says Dr. Thompson. “One of the biggest culprits is coffee. It dehydrates and depletes vital nutrients from the body. It puts the body into a higher alert mode, which decreases the body’s ability to become pregnant.”
Make wise lifestyle choices. Forego high intensity exercises like hot yoga, Crossfit, marathon running, and triathlons. “Intense exercise puts the body into high stress mode. It sends the body the message that there is a lot of demand for resources and it is not a desirable time for pregnancy,” says Dr. Thompson. Opt for slow yoga, walking, swimming, and bicycling. If you are a HIIT junkie, cut back a little bit if you desire to get pregnant.
Don’t smoke, as it decreases oxygen to tissues and affects the placenta. Avoid alcohol. Make time to meditate because it relaxes all nerve signals and allows the body to function better.
Use quality nutritional supplements. The herb Aletris farinosa (aka True Unicorn) supports a toned uterus and minimizes possibility of miscarriage. Calcium-d-glucarate helps maintain a healthy estrogen and progesterone balance, increasing chances of pregnancy. Other supplements, including pre-natal vitamins, may be recommended by your health practitioner.
Establish strong emotional supports. Stress. Anxiety. Fluctuating emotions: they increase cortisol production, which can affect the ability to become pregnant and also interfere with a baby’s development. Seek out a counselor who specializes in fertility issues, a fertility support group, or a faith-based group to help you manage difficult emotions.
Support your spirituality. Whatever form your spirituality takes – attending church, participating with a nondenominational group, exploring nature, meditating, or being artistic – do something that takes you away from the daily to-do list and allows you to be fully engaged in the experience. “When this kind of heart-centered energy and awareness is present,” says Dr. Thompson, “it opens doors for new creative energies to come through, and creative energy is a big part of fertility.” As you create outside of you and enjoy doing it, you are able to create inside of you.
“Working with fertility is about getting to know yourself and your needs – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, while healing the things that need healing and nurturing the parts that need nurturing.”
One of our favorite books that we recently read is Spirit Babies, How to Communicate with the Child You’re Meant to Have by Walter Makichen. It’s wonderful. Other books we love around fertility and pregnancy are: Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method by Marie Mongan, and Robin Lim’s book, Placenta, the Forgotten Chakra.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT. . .
“Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.” – Dalai Lama
By supplementing with Calcium-D-Glucarate, the ratio of progesterone and estrogen can be brought into balance through optimal detoxification. There are no known contraindications, but CDG can affect how the liver metabolizes other medications. Therefore, it should be used under the careful supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
RECIPE: CRISPY BRUSSELS SPROUTS, 7 WAYS TO LOVE THEM!
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved, outer leaves removed (6 cups prepped)
- 2 tablespoons organic avocado oil (or coconut oil)
- 1 tablespoon organic olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dry Harissa spice blend (paprika, caraway, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, garlic, peppermint, sea salt)
- 3/4 teaspoon fine himalayan sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. With a paring or ceramic knife, trim off the ends of the sprouts and slice in half lengthwise. Remove any loose outer leaves. Place the prepped sprouts into a large bowl. Add the avocado oil onto the sprouts in the bowl and stir or toss with hands until thoroughly coated. Add the Harissa spice and salt. Stir until combined. Spread the Brussels sprouts onto the prepared baking sheet in a uniform layer. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper. Roast the sprouts for 20 minutes, flip with spatula, and continue roasting for another 5-15 minutes until browned to your liking. If you prefer very crisp sprouts, you can “overcook” these until very brown, but not blackened. Smaller sprouts will brown faster than larger ones. Drizzle with olive oil and quickly toss to coat. This infuses with flavor and moistens them a bit after roasting. Sprinkle on toasted sesame seeds if you have some on hand. Taste and add another tiny pinch of salt, if desired, and serve immediately – the hotter the better.
Seasoning and Dipping Alternatives for Crispy Sprouts
- Drizzle with pomegranate molasses or balsamic reduction with pomegranate arils (very festive!) – you can skip the Harissa seasoning here.
- Garlic infused – try minced garlic cloves, garlic-infused oil, garlic salt
- Organic Teriyaki sauce – pairs well with sesame seeds
- Organic Barbecue sauce (sprinkled on or used for dipping)
- Coconut curry sauce or your favorite curry powder
- Sriracha or other hot sauce
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (or flavor of your choice)
- Ground toasted nuts or seeds like pecans or sesame seeds.
Recipe Adapted from: Oh! She Glows.
Natural medicine practitioners have long been using D-mannose to treat UTI in men and women. Recent studies comparing D-Mannose to both antibiotic and placebo have shown women taking D-Mannose had a significantly lower frequency of UTI and a lower incidence of side effects compared to those taking the antibiotic.
Talk with your holistic physician before taking D-Mannose as dose differs based on frequency and duration of infection, age, and other health factors.
WOMEN’S FERTILITY HERB: TRUE UNICORN (Aletris farinosa)
True Unicorn is most commonly used with women who have a “weak uterus,” meaning they have very light menstrual flows or have anemia. This herb helps to tone and strengthen the uterus before pregnancy and is good for balancing hormones. It has been used to help women get pregnant and to help maintain healthy pregnancy. However, it has estrogenic properties and is not used during the course of pregnancy.
When used by qualified practitioners, only very small doses are prescribed. Since there have not been any published human clinical trials on Aletris farinosa, clinicians base their recommendations on case studies and the long history of use in traditional medicine.
PELVIC MUSCLE TRAINING
KEGEL EXERCISES MAY…
- Increase blood flow to the pelvic region which can nourish the tissue with hormones
- Increase blood flow to ovaries and uterus, enhancing likelihood of release of an egg
- Support healthy development of the uterine lining/ placenta should pregnancy occur
- Bring nutrient rich blood to the prostate and promote healthy sperm production
- Enhance sexual pleasure
Typical causes of weak pelvic muscles include being overweight, certain surgical procedures, the aging process, excessive strain during exercise pregnancy and vaginal delivery.
COMMON SIGNS OF PELVIC WEAKNESS
- Leaking a few drops of urine when you laugh, sneeze, or cough.
- Continuing to “dribble” after you’ve left the toilet (men).
- Never feel like you can “hold it” and often rush to the bathroom.
HOW TO PERFORM KEGEL EXERCISES
Find the right muscles: Women can do this by stopping urination in midstream.
Men need to tense the muscles that prevent passing gas or stopping the flow of urine. Once you’ve identified the muscles, you can do the exercises in any position, although it may be easiest to do them lying down at first.
- Contract the muscles slowly. Hold for five seconds; slowly release for a count of five. Repeat five times. Work up to ten times, five sets per day.
- Tighten only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Breathe freely during the exercises.
If you’re having trouble finding or contracting the pelvic floor muscles, make an appointment with your physician for evaluation and education.
INFERTILITY AND NATURAL MEDICINE
- CDC.com. “Infertility.” Key Statistics from the national Survey of Family Growth (date 2011-2013)
- Resolve: The National Infertility Association.
- Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ. Infertility in America: 2015 Survey and Report.
- Thompson, J. (N.D.) Personal Communication. June 5, 2017. Patisaul, Heather B., and Wendy Jefferson. “The Pros and Cons of Phytoestrogens.” Frontiers in neuroendocrinology 31.4 (2010): 400–419. PMC. Web. 9 July 2017.
- University of Maryland Medical Center. “Infertility in Men.”
- NIH. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “How common is male infertility and what are its causes.”
- Renter, E. “Three Winter Foods to Increase Fertility.” naturalsociety.com Accessed 3 June 2017.
- World’s Healthiest Foods: Brussels Sprouts. Accessed 3 June 2017.
- Wilson, D. R. et al., “Pre-conceptional Vitamin/Folic Acid Supplementation 2007: The Use of Folic Acid in Combination With a Multivitamin Supplement for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects and Other Congenital Anomalies.” J. Obstetrics & Gyn Canada, (2007) 29:12; 1003-1013.
- Twight, J.M., et al., “Preconception Folic Acid Use Modulates Estradiol and Follicular Responses to Ovarian Stimulation.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. (2011) Feb;96(2):E322-9. Accessed 3 June 2017.
- “Gut Metabolism of Glucaric Acid,” Alternative Med Review (Monograph, 2002) 7:4, 336-339.
- Dwivedi C, Heck WJ, Downie AA, et al. “Effect of calcium glucarate on beta-glucuronidase activity and glucarate content of certain vegetables and fruits.” Biochem Med Metab Biol 1990;43:83-92. Accessed 5 June 2017.
- Personal Correspondence. Judith Thompson, ND. via email 5 June 2017.
WOMEN’S FERTILITY HERB
- Natural Center for Homeopathy: Aletris farinosa. Accessed 4 June 2017.
- Butler, C. L. and Costello, C. H. (1944), Pharmacological Studies. I. Aletris farinos. J. Pharm. Sci., 33: 177–183. doi:10.1002/jps.3030330605 Accessed 15 June 2017.
- Drugs.com. Aletris. Accessed 4 June 2017.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Plant Database: Aletris farinosa. Accessed 4 June 2017.
- Personal Correspondence, Judith Thompson, N.D., June 5, 2017. Re: Notes from Debra Brammer, N.D., (class lecture 2002-2003)
PELVIC MUSCLE TRAINING
- MayoClinic Online. “Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women.” Accessed 5 June 2017.
- “Kegel exercises for men: Understand the benefits.” Accessed 5 June 2017.
- Healthline.com “Kegel Exercises.” Accessed 5 June 2017.
- Personal Communication, Judith Thompson, N.D., May/June 2017 via email.
First Do not Harm
Identify and Treat the cause
Healing Power of Nature
Doctor as Teachers
Treat the Whole
Prevention is best Medicine
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