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Fertility & Infertility

Considerations for improved fertility...

Many factors such as hormonal balance, nutritional levels, diet and medical history need to be taken into consideration in order for the body to be able to conceive easily.

Below are the important factors Leanne James takes into consideration each time she sees someone for infertility. Please be aware that she treats each person individually. She does not have a set program, but takes all factors into consideration, from a natural health point of view and then devises a program - taking into consideration lifestyle, hormonal balance, nutritional levels, diet (the food you are eating), as well as previous medical history. All these areas must be looked at and considered individually in order for the body to be able to conceive easily.

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Hormonal balance...

Hormone balance is one of the most vital factors that we always consider first when looking at fertility concerns. When it comes to herbs and hormonal balancing, there are many to select from. However we are very careful as to what you should use here. Leanne says "Ensure that the glands in your body are doing their job correctly, rather than taking estrogen or progesterone precursors".

There are many herbs that have been traditionally used for hormonal balancing, such as Dong Quai, Black Cohosh and Wild Yam.

However, the one Leanne uses for infertility is the herb Vitex agnus castus, a hormonal regulator.

Please ask for an information sheet on this herb and the many benefits of this. Please be aware that Vitex needs to be taken for at least 3 months, often 6 months, before the hormones are regulated properly.

Another herb we like to use is Maca, however not at the beginning of the program, rather, let the Vitex do its work first, balancing the hormones, then you could introduce Maca. Maca, a plant from Peru, contains high levels of easily absorbable calcium plus magnesium and silica. It has been traditionally used for conditions such as:

  • Male impotence
  • Erectile difficulties
  • Male and female sterility
  • General weakness states such as chronic fatigue

Nutritional levels...

One of the most common causes for unexplained infertility is nutrient deficiencies. Even a slight deficiency can lessen your chances of conceiving. For example, a deficiency of vitamin B2, B6, B12, folic acid, iron, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, potassium and essential fatty acids can lead to reduced fertility.

Most people we see these days are nutrient deficient. It is very important to supplement before, during and after pregnancy.

Multi-Vitamins - At Ideal Health we have our own multivitamin called MultiVite. We recommend this before, during and after pregnancy.

Minerals - Increasing your mineral levels is also essential and can be done by taking Mineral Power, a high potency calcium supplement, with a full assortment of co factors.

Iron levels - these need to be evaluated, as these vary greatly from person to person. A blood test is the best way to determine current iron status.

EFAs - An essential fatty acid supplement like Efanatal or Prenatal DHA is also recommended before, during and after pregnancy while breast feeding.

Caffeine, Tannin and your diet...

People say to us "But I eat a healthy diet, how can I be low in nutrients"? There are many factors that contribute to low nutrient levels and poor nutrient absorption. One of the most common things is caffeine and tannin and this is the main dietary change we make in all people who cannot conceive and come to see Leanne for better fertility.

There are many reasons why this is important. The first is because caffeine consumption stimulates dopamine production, which has an inhibitory effect on prolactin production. A deficiency or excess of prolactin will promote infertility.

Even one caffeine containing drink a day has been associated with a temporary 50% reduction in conception. Caffeine is found in tea (including Green tea), coffee, chocolate & all chocolate products and all soft drinks containing caffeine e.g. coke and all energy drinks such as V drinks.

We suggest all women who are trying to conceive and are tea drinkers, to swap to a a low-tannin, low-caffeine tea. We stock the brand Madura, an Australian organic tea that is naturally 100% tannin free and 97% caffeine free. The reason why this is a problem, is because the tannins in tea that give it body, can interfere with nutrient absorption.

In fact, when you take anything containing tannin into the body, inositol and biotin, which are both recognised as part of the B complex vitamins, may become deficient in the body. Being deficient in these prevents iron from being properly used and causes other vitamins to be pumped through and out of the body before they can be properly absorbed.

As well as this, when we take anything containing tannin or caffeine into the body for up to 1 hour after eating a meal, it acts like a magnet and binds with minerals and vitamins, but particularly iron, calcium & B vitamins and eliminates these from the body. Ideally you should not have these products for up to 1 hour after a meal.

Better fertility in men...

High nutritional levels are also important for men as well, but particularly their zinc levels.

At Ideal Health we offer a free zinc test because this essential mineral is depleted in NZ soils. As well as this, low zinc levels is another factor which contributes to infertility and poor quality of sperm.

Zinc is an essential trace mineral occurring in the body in larger amounts than any other trace element, except iron. It has a variety of functions in the body. A lot of men are low in this vital element because it is found in high concentrations in sperm. Each time a man ejaculates he looses zinc. Zinc is also the mineral that determines a man sex drive, makes healthy sperm and will work at correcting impotency.

One way you can tell if a man is low in zinc is if they have any white spots on the fingernail. Even 1 small one is showing a deficiency. If this is found, supplementation should start immediately, as it will take 4 months before new sperm are produced from this supplementation.

Previous medical history...

We suggest that people who are having a problem conceiving to go on a liver cleansing regime for at least 1 month. This is very important. Previous illness and use of pharmaceutical medication can overload the liver, contributing to higher levels of toxins in the body. Having a "spring clean" can help greatly to not only assist body organs and systems to function better (like the bowels, kidneys and skin), but you will also feel better, have more energy and feel more positive. Please be aware that Leanne does not recommend liver cleansing during pregnancy.

These are just some of the key factors Leanne James takes into consideration when seeing people for helping to improve their fertility levels. If you would like to make an appointment or to discuss any of these matters further, please contact us.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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