The Importance Of Digestion For Fertility

Most often than not when trying to get pregnant and not succeeding our attention goes straight to our womb and our ovaries, why aren’t they working? what’s wrong with me? why can’t I get pregnant?

If you are taking all the right supplements and you have been given the unexplained infertility diagnosis which is usually given if you have been trying for over a year without success then we need to look a bit deeper than the obvious places.

If you have a sluggish digestive system the chances are your body will be holding on to a lot of toxins in the liver which puts your digestive system under stress and can prevent you from absorbing vital nutrients.

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What can I do to nurture my digestive system?

Eat more foods containing fibre to enable your body to detox and release toxins and excess hormones, which we are exposed to every day such as xenoestrogens from plastics and pollution which actually mimic natural estrogen and can cause hormone imbalances, not something you want when trying to conceive.

Take a probiotic and a prebiotic which can help to build a healthy gut flora, and prevent leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to “leak” through the intestinal wall and this can prevent you from absorbing vital nutrients, which you will need for your baby to develop in the womb.

Drink lots of fresh filtered water to keep your cells hydrated and to help shift those toxins through your system so they don’t stick around too long in your digestive tract, you could also try adding a squeeze of lemon juice to your water which will help your liver detox.

Eat fresh vegetables, salads, and fruit, preferably organic to keep that digestive system healthy, remove processed foods and refined sugars from your diet and cut down on carbs such as white rice, white pasta, and potatoes and replace with a wholegrain variety which is better to keep your blood sugar levels balanced,

Check to see if you have a lactose or gluten intolerance as this can also affect gut permeability and could be causing inflammation in your body if you have an intolerance which can also raise your natural killer cells, so if you have been able to get pregnant but have had miscarriages, try giving up gluten and dairy for 3 months.

Get a blood test to make sure you are not low in any vitamins or minerals, vitamin D is very important for fertility and often gets over-looked, most of us in the northern hemisphere have some kind of vitamin d deficiency especially during the winter months. Check your thyroid function too as this is often a cause of imbalanced hormones and unexplained infertility and it could be solved very easily just by taking an iodine supplement. Check first to see if you need to.

Try adding lots of fresh herbs to your salads or smoothies, coriander is one of the best herbs to help your liver detox and actually you will be surprised by how good it tastes in a smoothie alongside apples, celery and ginger which are also great detox buddies.

 

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So don’t rush to the IVF clinic just yet, if you have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, the chances are it could be down to your digestion.

Stress can also affect digestion so try not to get anxious about not being able to conceive as soon as you would like, try nurturing your whole self and especially be kind to your stomach, eat things that are natural and full of goodness and if you have previously had a diet full of processed foods, refined sugars and carbs maybe try doing a detox for a few months, check yourself for candida and clean up your system, and the chances are you will most likely be in with a good chance of conceiving naturally.

If after 3 months of clean living and changing your diet, it still hasn’t worked for you and you want to go down the IVF route then at least you will know that you have made the best possible conditions for your eggs to nourish and grow and the chance for a better outcome and successful pregnancy.  Good luck. x

 

Simple Seed Cycling

If you’ve recently been hearing the words, ‘seed cycling’, Its nothing to do with bicycles. It’s a new brilliant way to make sure we are getting the right nutrients throughout our menstrual cycle.

Seed cycling is an old naturopathic therapy that uses nutrition, to support the body’s production, metabolism and detoxification of hormones in order to bring hormones back into balance, naturally.

Our female bodies are so complex, that we often find ourselves a little bit bemused by them, for years I suffered from heavy periods that I thought was normal, turns out I had endometriosis and I only found out 10 years later. So if you suffer from painful heavy periods and you have signs that something feels wrong, then get it checked, chances are it could prevent problems later on. 

Our cycles are divided into phases.

  1. The follicular phase, day 1 to 14 of your cycle. when your estrogen is increasing and an egg is maturing in preparation for ovulation.
  2. Ovulation typically occurs on day 14 for women with a ‘normal’ 28-day cycle which is characterized by the release of an egg,
  3. Luteal phase. This usually happens on day 15 of your cycle, the follicle turns into a structure called the corpus luteum, which produces progesterone and helps thicken your uterine lining to prepare for a pregnancy.
  4. Menstruation: If the egg is not fertilized, the lining of your uterus, also known as the endometrium, will shed and this becomes your period.

Do I need to seed cyle?

Our bodies are usually naturally very good at keeping our hormones in balance, but with the number of hormone disruptors in our everyday environment, its easier than ever for our bodies to get confused. For example, drinking from plastic bottles exposes you to estrogen-mimicking compounds called xenoestrogens and not only is it in plastics, but it’s also in the chemicals we are exposed to every day such as detergents, cosmetics, receipts, even the clothing on our backs, which can cause a lot of us to suffer from estrogen dominant conditions such as Endometriosis, PMT, PCOS, and Infertility.

Why Seeds?

Seeds are rich in essential fatty acids and nutrients, like zinc and selenium, which are the building blocks needed to create happy healthy hormones.  So this is why seed cycling could just be what we need, to keep things in balance.

Flaxseeds in-particular are rich in lignans, which have been shown to be beneficial in improving estrogen and progesterone ratios. There have also been studies showing that breast tenderness related to our cycles is improved by including flaxseeds in your diet too. Sesame and sunflower seeds also contain lignans and essential fatty acids which support the hormones. So by choosing the right seeds needed for each cycle phase, it could vastly improve your menstrual health, less pain, regular periods, less breast tenderness etc.

Where To Start?

I made some seed balls as they are really easy to snack on, rather than having to make a smoothie or carry lots of packets of seeds around. I prepared 14 and took 1 a day or you could take 2 a day and make more. So far my menstrual pain has eased, and my breasts don’t seem so tender before my period, its supposed to be 3-6 months before you see any improved results, so give it time.

Heres a really simple guide to which seeds would be good to start with, simply put the chosen seeds which preferably are organic and high quality, into a food blender with some cacao powder, and a little raw honey to make them stick, you could also try adding dates which give a good source of fibre, a good digestive system is vital, which can aid your body in expelling those pesky excesses estrogens.

Day 1-14

Flax seeds and pumpkin seeds work well for this phase as they  work to detox any excess estrogen whilst preparing the body for adequate progesterone production in the second half of the cycle.  pumpkin seeds are also high in iron which is beneficial in this half, if you have heavy periods. 

Day 15-28

Sunflower seeds and sesame seeds work well for this phase as sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E to support progesterone levels and sesame seeds are high in zinc and selenium which block excess estrogen.

Happy Hormones

So if you want happy hormones, or if you just like the sound of these as a tasty healthy snack, and they are tasty especially when you add a little coconut oil, honey, dates and raw cacao. I prefer to use raw cacao than dark chocolate as this is the purest form of chocolate, which contains magnesium and zinc, also known minerals to be lacking in people with endometriosis and other estrogen dominant conditions. So maybe worth giving a try.