In order to improve your chances of conceiving, let’s look at a few lifestyle habits that could be having a negative effect on your fertility:
- Stress and depression: A Danish study found that women were less likely to conceive during months when they reported psychological distress. It’s believed that stress may interfere with your body’s endocrine system, affecting the consistency of the menstrual cycle.
- Smoking: As if there was any doubt about the health risks of smoking, the chemicals and toxins in cigarettes not only damage a woman’s eggs but also cause the premature aging of the ovaries. Smoking also affects male fertility, causing deformed, weak and immobile sperm cells.
- Too Much / Too Little Weight: Excess body fat can lead to many different types of degenerative diseases, not to mention an overproduction of certain hormones that disrupt ovulation. Women who are too thin also struggle with ovulation as their bodies produce less of the necessary hormones needed to initiate ovulation each month. Moderate exercise, when combined with a balanced and nutritious diet, exercise can help you to maintain a healthy body weight.
- Alcohol: Drinking any alcohol can reduce your fertility by half. One study showed that women who drank less than 5 glasses of wine a week were twice as likely to get pregnant within six-months compared with those who drank more. Men are also at risk of impaired fertility as a result of drinking alcohol. Alcohol decreases sperm count and increases the chance of impaired sperm. Alcohol also seems to prevent the body from absorbing zinc…one of the most important nutrients as far as male fertility is concerned.
- Caffeine: Drinking as little as one cup of coffee per day can halve your chances of conceiving. A study has shown that sperm problems increase with the number of cups of coffee consumed each day. Remember, caffeine is not limited to just coffee, it’s also present in colas, chocolate and some types of tea.
Improved Fertility Nutrients and Herbs
Folic Acid & All of the B Vitamins: Folic acid works to ensure that your baby’s genetic codes are intact once you conceive. However, it’s not enough to take folic acid alone when you are trying to become pregnant. All of the B vitamins are essential during the pre-conceptual period. Research has shown that giving B6 to women who have trouble conceiving increases fertility and vitamin B12 has been found to improve low sperm counts.
Zinc: Zinc is necessary for your body to utilize the reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone effectively. It’s also needed to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm, meaning a zinc deficiency will result in a reduced sperm count. Different forms of zinc have different metabolic pathways. This is why in the Men’s version of Total Balance we use two forms of zinc to ensure optimal benefit.
Selenium: Since selenium is an antioxidant, it helps protect sperm from free radicals… maximizing sperm formation.
Vitamin E: Like selenium, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant helping to protect the sperm and ensuring they become more fertile.
Vitamin C: Again, another antioxidant in the form of vitamin C…enhances sperm quality, protecting sperm and the DNA within it from damage. It’s also been suggested that vitamin C appears to keep the sperm from clumping together, making them more motile instead of being stuck together.
L-Arginine and L-Carnitine: These amino acids can help increase both sperm count and quality. In fact, the head of the sperm contains a large amount of L-Arginine.
Damiana: A herbal extract containing trace amounts of beta-sitosterol which stimulates the secretion of reproductive hormones.
Dong quai and Red Clover: Two herbal extracts that are renowned for their beneficial properties for the female reproductive system… supporting hormone function and increasing fertility as a result.