Unscramble Your Eggs- The Role of Egg Health in Fertility
Egg health is becoming more of a “hot topic” in the fertility world in the last few years and I am very happy about this! There is so much a woman can do to help improve her egg health, and putting in this effort definitely pays off. Did you know that a female baby is born with all the eggs she will ever have in her lifetime? This means if a woman is carrying a female baby, she has a direct influence on the health and genetic material of all her grandchildren as well! The choices she makes during her pregnancy can help set up not only her child, but her grandchildren for their healthiest lives possible.
While a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have, unlike men who produce new sperm every 72 days, there is still a lot that can be done to improve the quality of those eggs. Most people who have had any difficulties conceiving are familiar with the blood test for ovarian reserve, called Anti-Mullerian Hormone or AMH. What AMH measures is essentially the number of eggs left in the ovaries. While this is good information to have, new research has shown that we should not lie and die by AMH when making fertility decisions, and that while yes it is important to have some ovarian reserve left (quantity of eggs), the quality of these eggs is much more important that how many you have left. To put it simply, as long as you have some eggs left, there is a chance to get pregnant, and the focus should be on doing everything possible to optimize the quality of these eggs.
Egg quality is something that I talk about with all of my patients who are wanting to get pregnant, not just those who are struggling with fertility issues. Working on egg quality gives us the opportunity to alter the genes that the baby will receive and can directly influence the health of the future baby. It is definitely worth it to put the work in!
Improving Egg Quality Helps Women
1) Get pregnant naturally
2) Prevent miscarriage
3) Improve odds with IUI and IVF
4) Increase the long term health of their baby
So now we now why focusing on egg quality is so important, I am going to discuss some simple steps you can take to get started on today
How to Improve Egg Quality
Ditch the Toxins- BPA and phthalates have been shown in multiple studies to negatively impact egg quality. How do you get rid of them?
- Stop drinking out of plastic water bottles
- Remove plastic containers from your house (use glass or stainless steel instead)
- Limit consumption of canned foods, or buy cans that are BPA free
- Switch skincare products to phthalate free versions. All Eco Chic Movement products are phthalate free
- Change cleaning products to toxin free versions. My favorites are: vinegar and water, Nellies for Laundry and Dishwashing detergent, Terra20 EcoBar for household cleaners
- Diet- Eating a nutritionally dense diet is very important for egg health. Your plate should be ½ vegetables at every meal. Focus on incorporating a wide variety and different colors of veggies. Healthy fats (avocado, eggs, nuts, seeds, olive oil) are important as well. Having protein at every meal helps to stabilize the blood sugar and promotes egg health
- Water- Drinking 8-10 (250 ml) cups of water/day helps to increase circulation to the ovaries, which is beneficial for egg health
- Alcohol- Studies have shown that even 1 drink/day can negatively impact egg health. I recommend in the 3-4 months prior to trying to conceive, that women limit their alcohol intake to 2-3 drinks/week
Supplements- There is good research for the following supplements for egg health
- CoQ10- This is the most well researched nutrient for egg health. CoQ10 is involved in the electron transport chain (if you remember this from high school or university biology) and helps with high energy processes. The maturation of an egg is a very energy intensive process. Most fertility clinics now suggest that women take 600 mg CoQ10/day when trying to conceive
- Vitamin D- Recent studies have shown that women undergoing IVF treatment are half as likely to conceive if they are vitamin D deficient
- Vitamin E- Is a powerful antioxidant and reduces free radical damage in the eggs
- Vitamin C- Helps with collagen synthesis in the ovaries
- N-acetyl Cysteine- Converts to glutathione, which is one of the most abundant antioxidants in the body. Helps to reduce free radical damage to the chromosomes in the egg
Start implementing these strategies in the 3-4 months before starting to conceive to help you get pregnant more easily, reduce the risk of miscarriage, and have the healthiest baby possible!
I offer consults to soon to be parents on how to optimize their chances of fertility, reduce the risk of miscarriage and have their healthiest baby. Click here to schedule your consult. Keep an eye out in the very near future for my online Preconception/Fertility program specially designed for moms in their 30’s
As always, if you have any questions, please post a comment below
Dr Alexis practice in Kanata, and online, and is currently accepting new patients. Click here to book your appointment
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