By Anne Salazar RH (AHG)
One can look at fertility as either something one desires to support the best outcome in general (pregnancy, birth, infant health, postpartum recovery), or it can be a struggle for some for various reasons to conceive at all (thyroid imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, PCOS, hormonal issues, etc). Either way, there are definitely ways to use botanical medicine 1. and nutritional supplementation 2 to enhance a better result/outcome . As with anything, each individual situation must be taken into account, and both partner’s health status is important for best outcome. This blog will discuss various ‘helpers’ in the world of natural medicine.
Its important to note that the food you eat, the environment you live in, and the lifestyle you lead months prior to conception can profoundly influence the health of your baby. Sometimes we forget this. And its important to note that environmental toxins such as PCBs, heavy metals, and endocrine disrupting chemicals can have a negative influence on both sexes. Quality of egg and sperm at the time of conception are monumentally important. Ideally, a period of time prior to conception is used to improve both.
Foundationally it is important to bring the body’s systems back to balance, in order to create the setting for healthy conception. In other words, if there are thyroid issues, hormonal imbalances (challenging menstrual cycles, PCOS,etc), immunity challenges, nutritional deficiencies (digestive issues, absorption issues, etc)- these need to be addressed. Indeed there are herbs and nutritional supplements that can support and enhance fertility, but its very important to address all of the body’s systems in order for these to work optimally.
Following are just a few of the herbs and nutrients that can be part of a protocol to support healthy fertility, pregnancy, birth, and baby:
Rhodiola -a lovely, energizing adaptogenic herb is also used often in fertility formulas for women. Currently, studies have shown rhodiola may restore ovulation in women with amenorrhea (loss of menstrual cycle) and physicians have reported cases of women who have failed to conceive using fertility drugs, becoming pregnant months after taking rhodiola.3
Red Clover is one of the most cherished herbs used traditionally for fertility.4 It is especially helpful if there is scarring of the fallopian tubes, irregular menses, abnormal cells in the reproductive tract or "unexplained" infertility.
Maca has been used traditionally for fertility (amongst other benefits) for many years.This has also been shown to be true in recent studies. 5 I personally have seen it’s effectiveness in this category. Of course, as always, quality matters. Here at Remedy we carry an excellent product for supporting female fertility, Femmenessence Maca Harmony .
Vitex (aka Chasteberry) is one of my favorite overall herbs when it comes to modulating/balancing women’s hormones. It increases luteinizing hormone and inhibits the release of follicle stimulating hormone, which thus boosts the levels of progesterone production and improves the chances of getting pregnant and maintaining the pregnancy.6
CoQ10 has shown through considerable research 7, positive effects on overall sperm health and egg quality. Functioning as an antioxidant, it decreases the damaging effects of free radicals on the reproductive system.
Zinc is intimately involved in so many aspects of of reproductive function 8. It is necessary for a viable sperm count, and is one of the most important nutrients for the pregnant woman. Mega Food’s food based Zinc would be an excellent choice.
Of course, nutrition is vitally important in supporting healthy fertility and pregnancy. Foods high in nutrients such as asparagus, egg yolks, pomegranates, walnuts, beans, lentils and berries can all contribute to a nourishing, supportive diet.
At Remedy we carry a number of products that can become part of your fertility protocol. For instance, Vitanica’s Pregnancy Prep contains nutrients and botanicals that safely and effectively support a healthy conception.
We welcome you to come in and speak to one of us regarding your personal needs. We are here to help you. A personalized consultation with an herbalist would go a long way in assisting you on your journey!