If you’re reading this article I’m pretty sure you already know where babies come from. It might seem like an easy and even fun process. But, in fact, 15% of couples of reproductive age are affected by infertility, worldwide. Canada is a low fertility country and its fertility rate has been steadily declining since 2008. 1 in 6 couples in Canada faces struggles when trying to get pregnant.
When I was trying to get pregnant with my first child I experienced challenges that come with unsuccessful pregnancy attempts. This led me to explore the subject of fertility very closely and when I dove into it, I was amazed how little I knew about how this whole deal of getting pregnant works. So many pieces need to fall together for it actually to happen.
In this article, I put together the top 5 things to remember about fertility, but commonly dismissed by couples. And yes, organic bone broth can tremendously help with those.
1. Egg quality
Many times I see women focusing mostly on their ovulation when trying to conceive.
Ovulation is the process of releasing a mature egg from the ovary. After the release, the egg is moving through fallopian tubes and stays there for a period of 12-24 hours, waiting for fertilization. Indeed, knowing when your ovulation occurs significantly increases your chances of getting pregnant. But, ovulation itself is not the only thing to keep in mind.
The quality of the egg is extremely important and here’s why.
Right before ovulation, due to high oxidative stress levels, the egg cells can experience chromosomal abnormalities. These chromosomal abnormalities (as you can guess by the name) can cause abnormal development of the fetus. In fact, chromosomal abnormalities cause more miscarriages than any other cause of miscarriages combined.
The really good news is - diet and lifestyle have a major impact on the rate of chromosomal errors and you can take control of the health of your eggs by having the right nutritional support for your body.
2. Male fertility
Another factor that often gets dismissed is male fertility. American society of reproductive medicine estimates that 40% of infertility cases, male partners are the contribution to or the cause of these cases.
While you can do semen analysis to figure out whether the sperm is functioning well, it’s important to keep in mind that these tests won’t measure DNA damage within the sperm that is often also caused by oxidative stress. Research shows that sperm with higher levels of oxidation in semen have more extensive DNA fragmentation and fewer normally functioning sperm.
Interestingly, eggs can overcome sperm damage but only if they are minimally damaged.
Similar to women, male fertility is directly impacted by nutrition and lifestyle.
Most fertility doctors will not mention the fact that digestion and fertility are directly connected. In allopathic western medicine, we are used to treating each body part or system separately, when in reality our body is a whole organism. As you noticed from mentioned earlier, nutrition is an integral part of fertility and reproductive health. The food you eat a few months before conception is highly important not only to your health, but also for the health of your future baby.
However, food is not the only part to remember. How you digest this food is an equally important factor. You can feed yourself with the most nutrient-dense foods, but if your body can’t digest it well - it simply will not get all those vital nutrients from the foods.
If you suffer from digestive disorders, your body is unable to break down and absorb the essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for healthy hormone production. In this case, supplementing those nutrients with a supplement will not fix the problem, since you won’t be able to fully absorb and assimilate it either.
I can’t stress it enough - good gut health is essential for hormonal health and fertility.
4. Toxins overload
Toxins are anything that the body doesn’t find useful or that harms its integrity. We’re combating these toxins all the time - they are, literally, everywhere. It’s the sad part of our modern lives.
In general, our body is miraculously designed to detox itself out of these harmful substances through the elimination systems - skin, lungs, liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and bowels. But with the number of chemicals and toxins that are being used in almost everything we touch, breathe and ingest - the body might not be able to successfully do it on its own.
One of the most important chemicals to remember is xenoestrogens - they have the potential to harmfully impact your health, fertility and even your future baby. Xenoestrogens are chemical compounds that mimic the hormone estrogen in the body. They’re often called endocrine disruptors because they are filling the true estrogen receptors. This can lead to hormone imbalance in the body which directly interferes with reproductive health.
Here’re some suggestions to minimize your endocrine disruptors exposure:
- Do not drink from plastic water bottles that have been heated up (by the sun or sitting in a hot car). Plastics contain BPA which is a well-known endocrine disruptor. Glass or stainless steel bottles are better choices.
- Avoid also drinking hot drinks with plastic leads on top of them for the same reason. Use mostly reusable non-plastic cups for your hot drinks.
- Buy organic produce, meats and dairy products to avoid hormones and pesticides. Conventionally grown cattle are also often fed genetically modified corn mixed with hay and industry by-products. This improper diet leads to health problems for the animals, so they’re given antibiotics as a preventative measure. They’re also grown in crowded grassless lands - poor diet and conditions mean that the cattle need to be uniformly decontaminated when processed, so it gets sprayed with ammonia!
- Avoid using perfumes. Perfumes include chemicals in synthetic scents that may disrupt your hormones.
- Switch your cosmetic products and household cleaners for non-toxic options. These products often contain harmful chemicals including bleach, ammonia, PFAs and other substances that interfere with the endocrine system.
5. Stress management
Stress. We all experience it pretty much on a daily basis. Even just talking about stress might make you feel tension in the body. Especially now, during a time of rapid changes and instability, stress is something that we have been learning to live with.
While short-term stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing when experienced constantly it can have an impact on your reproductive system. When you feel the threat, your body reacts by releasing a cascade of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, I’m sure you’ve heard about those. This puts your nervous system into ‘fight or flight’ mode - your heartbeat fastens, your muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, your breath is shallow and rapid. All this tells your body that it’s in danger and it needs to prepare to fight, run or hide. You can guess that in these conditions, no way your body would want to conceive a baby. Your body is extremely intelligent and it knows when the time isn’t right. The stress hormones disrupt the signaling between the brain and the ovaries, which can delay or impede ovulation. Research shows that stress also diminishes male sperm count and motility.
Stress doesn’t always mean emotional struggle. In fact, bad sleep, over-exercising, coffee, alcohol, smoking and poor nutrition are also highly stressful for your body. What’s interesting is that the body doesn’t differentiate whether it’s emotional or physical stress you’re going through. It always responds in the same way, releasing the same cascade of reactions.
The good thing is that lot of these things you can take under control and help your body to cope better with day-to-day life.
Some of the things you can start doing today: make sure you rest well, minimize your alcohol and coffee intake, spend at least 30 minutes every day and nourish your body with nutritious food.
How organic bone broth can help to support your fertility?
You’ve probably noticed that all the things listed above have a few things in common - they’re all directly impacted by nutrition and digestive health, the way you nourish your body.
Bone broth has a lot of healing powers. Here’re some of the key nutrients in bone broth:
19 amino acids, including all 9 essential amino acids. This helps to nourish your body with proteins that are vital for many functions in your body, such as tissue repair, bone mineral density, blood sugar regulation, hormonal balance, gut healing and nutrient absorption.
Gelatin. This is an important compound to help with the gut healing process. Research shows that gelatin is beneficial for restoring the strength of the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities. It is also found to help with the growth of probiotics, the good bacteria in the gut.
Collagen. Studies found that people with digestive imbalances have decreased concentrations of collagen in their bodies. The amino acids in collagen build the tissue that lines the entire GI tract, including the colon, so increased collagen intake can support healthy digestive functioning.
Glutamine. One of the amino acids found in bone broth. Glutamine has been shown to support healthy intestinal lining. Tight junctions between intestinal cells ‘loosen up’ when exposed to foods that cause an inflammation reaction. Many studies have shown that glutamine has the potential to tighten those junctions and heal the lining.
Glutathione. This is the master of all antioxidants - very powerful and strong. This antioxidant helps to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation within the body. Glutathione is an important compound used in detoxification and removing toxins out of the body, including heavy metals like mercury and lead. Studies show that it also plays an important role in nutrient metabolism, gene expression and helps to normalize DNA and protein synthesis.
Zinc. An essential element of male fertility. It’s the second most abundant trace element in the human body. It can’t be stored, thus needs regular dietary intake. Zinc has antioxidant qualities and helps to reduce toxin levels in the body. Zinc acts as a hormone balancer and helps testosterone function and also has antibacterial properties for a healthy male urea system. Zinc is shown to be essential in maintaining the lining of the reproductive organs and zinc deficiency is found to impede sperm health, cause sperm abnormalities and negatively impact testosterone concentration. Zinc deficiency before conception also disrupts fetal development, research found.
Magnesium. A powerful relaxation mineral that supports stress management and sleep. It also helps to ensure the right amount of blood flow to the uterus and plays an important role in balancing hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen. Magnesium also helps to reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with poor egg quality. . Male fertility has also been associated with low magnesium levels.
As you can see, organic bone broth is packed with lots of essential nutrients that have fertility boosting properties. It’s not by chance that this healing drink has been used in traditional cultures for centuries. It has the power to heal the gut and create an optimal environment for fertility and pregnancy.