You probably understand that nutrition can play a powerful role in your health, therefore effecting your fertility and ability to get pregnant. But do you know how or why? There are many effects diet can play in fertility depending on your fertility issue. For instance, one of the most effective natural therapies for PCOS is eating a very specific diet that helps to reduce the insulin resistance caused by this issue. So don’t underestimate the power of food when creating your fertility plan. Today we are going to look at one aspect of fertility nutrition – Antioxidants.
Why antioxidants are important for fertility
Nutrition and whole foods are important because of what they contain and provide for the body. Here is simple overview of antioxidants, one of amazing compounds found in whole foods and one of the main reasons you should eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains:
Antioxidants are compounds found in foods or produced by the body that protect the body from free radicals and the damage they can do to tissues of the body. There are hundreds of antioxidants and they all play a different role. When I first heard about antioxidants I thought they all did the same thing, but the reality is different antioxidants affect and protect different cells/organs of the body.
One of the main roles of antioxidants is in protecting cells from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cell structures and lead to numerous illnesses. When an antioxidant encounters a free radical, it engulfs it, and creates a weaker free radical that cannot do further harm. A sister antioxidant then reactivates the spent antioxidant so it is available to go on protecting. This amazing cycle is continuously happening in your body without you thinking about it.
Now you may be asking, what does this have to do with fertility? The answer is everything. All of the organs, fluids, and players in the reproductive system are made up of cells which need protecting. Health cells = healthy fertility.
The good news is cells are turning over all of the time. The antioxidant-rich foods that you eat and antioxidant supplements that you consume can all have an impact on the health of your cells. One area that we want to nourish and protect is the egg. During the cycle of an egg from “storage” to ovulation there is an opportunity for the egg to be impacted by toxins or nutrients. Antioxidants can provide protection from these free radicals so the DNA is intact and you have a healthy egg for conception.
Antioxidants for Fertility
Vitamin E – Lab experiments have shown that vitamin E was able to extend the life of the common type of human cell. I think this is because vitamin E helps to reduce the oxidative stress on our cells. This could have a positive effect on both egg and sperm health by protecting them from damage. Vitamin E has also been shown to prevent miscarriage in mice. Many people do supplement with vitamin E but usually only consume alpha tocopherol; there are at least three others that you should be including in your E supplementation (tocotrienols and mixed tocopherols). Foods that vitamin E is found in: cereal brans; rice bran, wheat bran, and oat bran
Lipoic Acid – Lipoic Acid is one of my favorite antioxidants because it helps to reactivate all of the other antioxidants and rejuvenates itself. It also turns bad genes “off” and boosts glutathione, which is critical for liver detoxification (and helping your liver to get rid of toxins and excess hormones). Lipoic Acid can be found in spinach, potatoes, and red meats. But it is easiest to take an antioxidant blend which contains lipoic acid.
COQ10 – COQ10 is involved in production of ATP so a lack of this antioxidant could cause a shortage of energy to every system in the body, including the reproductive system. A study in Fertility and Sterility shared that CoQ10 helped to increase the sperm motility in semen. Other studies have shown CoQ10 supplementation increases egg health and sperm health, and protects the DNA within each cell. COQ10 is found most abundantly in salmon and organ meats, but to make sure you are getting enough supplementation of CoQ10, Ubiquinol is recommended.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is easily accepted into the cells to provide protection from free radicals.Vitamin C has been shown to help protect sperm from free radical damage. Humans are one of the few animals who does not produce their own vitamin C, so, we must get it from our diet or supplementation. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables including red peppers, cranberries, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, and citrus fruits.
Pycnogenol – Pycnogenol has anti-inflammatory properties which has been shown to help with the pain caused from endometriosis. Pycnogenol has been shown to work even better than aspirin in preventing blood clots, and it does not have the potentially dangerous side effects associated with aspirin, such as gastrointestinal distress, prolonged bleeding, or bleeding ulcers.
Ginkgo Biloba – Ginkgo is one of the best remedies for impotence. One of the main causes of male impotence is atherosclerosis (clogged arteries). It may be really surprising to hear that half of the impotency cases are not caused by hormonal or psychological problems, but by clogged arteries. Here is why – in order to maintain an erection, blood flow must be clear and unobstructed. If the blood flow becomes clogged because of atherosclerosis, then blood flow will be impaired. In studies with ginkgo, it took up to 8 weeks for the men to first begin to see an improvement; by 6 months of therapy, 50% of the patients regained potency. The benefits are taken from ginkgo’s ability to increase circulation and relax the smooth muscles so the arteries are able to supply blood to the penis to dilate. Supplementation is the only way of getting ginkgo into your diet.
The Fertility Diet – Rich in Antioxidants
The Nutrient Dense Fertility Diet is naturally rich in antioxidants as it focuses on eating a wide variety of fertility superfoods, fruits, vegetables, grains, and clean meats. Making sure to eat “from the rainbow” will help to get you a variety of antioxidants and supportive compounds. A salad a day with lots of different veggies and a smoothie that includes spirulina and blueberries will take you a long way.
Fertilica Choice Antioxidants
The second step of getting more antioxidants into your body is to take an antioxidant blend supplement. This is very important as much of the food people eat today is void of antioxidants due to packaging and cooking. I personally take an antioxidant blend daily as it is so important for overall health and fertility.
After two years of research and trying to find the best antioxidant blend, we decided to make one that contains all of the necessary antioxidants for fertility: Fertilica Choice Antioxidants. It contains all of the most important antioxidant nutrients in a capsule form. This blend is great for both men and women and should be a part of everyone’s health program, especially for fertility. We include this product in our OvaWise – Egg Health and Male Factor Formula fertility kits.