How to Increase Fertility Naturally: A Comprehensive Guide to Boosting your Fertility


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pregnant belly with text overlay boosting fertility naturallyGetting pregnant isn’t always easy.

Don’t you wish you could phone it in, like we do a pizza. Wouldn’t that be great?

After we had been trying to conceive for over a year I started hunting in Google:

How can I increase my fertility naturally?  How can I increase my chances of getting pregnant?  How can I get pregnant fast? All the usual suspects.

And to be honest, I was disappointed with the results that came up.

I knew we have PCOS and male infertility factor, but there HAD to be a way to increase fertility in women, and men without turning to drugs. Right?

Right???

None of the ‘advice’ about the easiest way to get pregnant was really helping, and most suggestions included fancy expensive plans or supplements without any decent actual information.

After A LOT of research I found that there are 7 main things that I could do to naturally increase both my fertility, my egg quality and encourage ovulation, as well as some things to help improve my husband’s fertility too.

The 7 best ways to naturally boost your fertility for both men and women are:

Fertility Diet – Fertility Boosting Foods

Dr. Weston Price discovered that healthy tribal groups fed special foods to parents before conception and during pregnancy.

These foods were exceptionally high in fat soluble nutrients, and incredibly important to producing and maintaining peak fertility and health in their people. (You can read more about W. Price’s work here, it is a very interesting read!)

Much of what we eat these days would be hardly recognizable as food to our great great grandparents. It is over processed and severely lacking in nutrients.

Even much of our fruits and vegetables have been bred to look beautiful and store well, at the loss of the flavor that is once had. What has flavor got to do with it? That flavor you taste is the nutrients!

Also, our food is old. Food start to lose it’s nutrients from the moment it is picked. The apples I am buying in the store this week were picked 9 (!!) months ago.

The basis of increasing your natural fertility is to clean up and maximize your diet nutrients.

We are talking clean, fresh, healthy, nutrient dense foods. Your body neeeeeeeds those nutrients as the foundations for the cells and hormones you are needing it to make

If you give your body broken building blocks, you cannot complain when it builds you a crumbly house.

What is a Fertility Diet?

A diet that will increase your fertility will be these things:

  • Organic – or as best it can be
  • High nutrient – this is key!
  • Low sugar – sugar is TOXIC (and addictive)
  • Include fertility boosting foods
  • High fat – your body needs GOOD fats

How Organic Foods Affect Fertility

Organic foods can be defined as “fresh fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides, herbicides or other repellents, as well as on land that is free of these toxins from previous use”.

Over time in the human race levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, aluminum and arsenic are rising. Add electromagnetic pollution, irradiation, ultrapasteurization, fluorescent lights and toxic additives like MSG and aspartame we have a lot for our bodies to be competing against.

Then on top of that much of our food is now “Roundup ready” meaning that most of our grain/corn crops are sprayed with Roundup to control weeds, and many grain producers also use sprays as a drying agent directly on grains like wheat as it means that the plants all dry up at the same time, making harvest easier.

The active ingredient in Roundup is Glyphosate, and while it has no direct affect on mammal cells – it DOES affect our gut bacteria.

Our gut bacteria play a critical role in protecting our bodies from invaders (1), pre-digesting some nutrients so we can absorb them and generally keeping us well (2). Our gut bacteria outnumber our body cells 10 to one and they are worth looking after!

There have also been several studies on the effect of pesticides on male fertility (3), with the resounding results being, pesticides = bad (surprise!). And interestingly women with PCOS are found to have high levels of pollutants in their system too (4).

Basically to reduce the impact our general modern-life toxic load has on our bodies, eating organically can really help.

Top 10 Best Fertility Boosting Foods for Men and Women

This list is a little different from what you might find in a more mainstream publication. These are the top 10 food that you should try to be eating regularly to naturally increase your fertility.

Many of these are used in traditional cultures to feed a newly wedded couple to increase their fertility. If you are wondering how you can improve the quality of your eggs and sperms, this is what you have been looking for!

1.Liver

Liver is a super food containing an easily absorbed form of iron, all of the B vitamins (including B12 and folic acid in significant amounts), balanced quantities of vitamin A, many trace elements and minerals including copper, zinc, chromium, phosphorous and selenium, essential fatty acids EPA, DHA. Pesticides work by interfering with vitamin A pathways. Therefore, adequate vitamin A is key to surviving in the modern world.

2. Butter

From pasture-raised cows is super high in good saturated fats that your body needs to form all of the hormones your body need to function correctly. It also contains vitamin K2, also known as activator X, which is required in the absorption of many other vitamins (5).

3. Eggs

From pasture-raised hens. Eggs contain all the nutrients required to grow a small animal from go to whoa in 21 days (!!). Eggs are truly a super food, and they are full of protein to help keep you fuller for longer and avoid the crazy insulin roller coaster ride that other foods may cause.

4. Fresh seafood

You should aim to eat fresh wild seafood 2-4 times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs. These are high in Omega 3, selenium and antioxidants, all of which our body needs to make healthy reproductive cells like eggs and sperm.

5. Organic, pasture raised red meat

Beef, lamb, venison, whatever else you love. Your body needs the protein, and the iron for those building blocks. The fat is also good to consume, the body makes all it’s sex hormones from cholesterol (6).

6. Bone-broth

This should be made the traditional way, boiling actual bones for many many hours to extract the minerals into the broth. You can then salt it and drink it as a warm drink, or add it to stews or soups. Both broth is obviously high in minerals that our bodies need to function, but also in gelatin, which helps heal your gut if you have issues with leaky gut syndrome.

7. Lacto-fermented foods

Sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and others all help encourage and support a good gut biota, and provide nutrients themselves in a way that they are very easily absorbed.

8. Organic Vegetables

Interesting you may note that vegetables are all the way down at number 8 on the list, when you may think that they should be right at the top. But actually, if you are eating really top quality meat and other animal products, you will be getting most of the foundational nutrients from them in a form that your body recognizes and absorbs the easiest.

However, vegetables are still an important part of a fertility diet. Eat a wide range of colors, that are locally grown and organic.

Eating local will automatically mean that they are also in season. Nature knew what she was doing when she made fruit and vegetables in season. The citrus, high in vitamin C for warding off colds and boosting our immunity come ripe in Fall, the starchy root crops to help keep at fat and fueled over the cold Winter months, and the light and bright salads for when it is hot and we don’t feel like stodgy meals.

9. Organic Fruit

Fruit is delicious, there is no denying it, but we need to be aware that it is also full of fructose, a type of sugar that is really hard for our livers to digest. Keep your fruit portions small, and as part of a meal containing protein to mitigate the insulin spikes that it will cause. Haywire insulin levels mess with your hormone function, we don’t want that!

10. Soaked Whole Grains

If you must have grains, you should be trying to consume them in the state they grew in – with both the bran (fiber portion) and the germ (nutrient dense portion) included, not just the starchy (sugary) white bit in the middle.

Grains are best when they are soaked overnight – this slightly ferments it, making the nutrients easier to absorb and it neutralizes the phytic acid that the plant produces to help protect itself and that causes inflammation in our bodies.

High Fertility Foods for Men

Men’s sperm is particularly susceptible to outside influences, and they die and mutate quickly. The upside is that they also regenerate quickly, men totally replace their supply every 12 weeks or so. So 3 months of clean eating can drastically increase sperm count as well as increase viability of the little guys.

To increase sperm count and quality men should be eating plenty of:

  • Veggies for the Vitamin A, B, C and E
  • Organ meats and butter for the A, B-group and D vitamins
  • Zinc – found in eggs, oysters, seafood
  • Lycopene – found in cooked red tomatoes or raw orange or yellow ones

Stop the toxins – How your toxic load is affecting your fertility

Not only do you need to be making sure you are providing your body with healthy building blocks to start with, you need to make sure you aren’t then attacking those blocks with a pick-axe at the same time!

Toxins in your body are toxic.

Surprising really isn’t it?

I guess that is where they came up with the name.

Toxic substances like Glyphosate wreck havoc in your body – they kill off good cells, both your own and the magical gut biota we were discussing earlier and they interrupt hormone pathways and generally act like jerks.

We don’t want these guys interfering with what we are trying to build here, so it is time for them to leave.

Stop smoking

I know it is hard. I know it is an addiction. I also know it is killing you. There are so many quit programs available now, please look into one.

I know several people that have successfully switched to vaporizers and weaned themselves off that way. Cigarette smoke and all the horrid toxins in there are killing off your eggs and sperm and making your body a inhospitable place for a baby. If ever you needed a reason to quit, here it is.

Stop drinking alcohol

This is a big one for the guys, men that drink over 10 units of alcohol per week are destroying their spermies. Please give the little guys a break and lay off the booze while you are trying to get pregnant. Your liver will thank you for it’s little holiday too, it might use the time to clear out that toxic back load it needs to get around to dealing with!

Ladies, you really should lay off the booze too, there is no known safe level of alcohol during pregnancy, and if you are like me, you may not find out you are pregnant until you are 8 weeks along and suddenly the wine smells like an ashtray to you (and no one else) at your brother-in-laws 21st birthday party…. oops.

Reduce the caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that puts stress on the old liver and upsets your body’s natural rhythm. If you are struggling to get pregnant, commit to no caffeine for the next 6 months.

You will survive without it, I promise! If you are a coffee (or energy drink) addict, you need to wean down slowly over the next week or two.

Avoid sprays in the garden – weed spray, pesticides

If you are like me and spend a lot of time outside, you need to avoid all the sprays, anything that kills stuff we don’t want on us or near us. Our reproductive cells are very delicate, and these chemicals will interfere with them.

Drink water not soda

This is a two-fold issue – soda is full of either sugar or fake sugar, neither of which is good for your body and they increase your toxic load and cause fluctuations in insulin. Remember we are trying to create a clean slate for the body to build from.

The second issue is all the additives and flavors and other rubbish that soda contains, these are best left out of the body, not in it.

If you don’t like water, I suggest you try it ice cold, and flavor it with something like slices or lemon, cucumber and mint or watermelon.

Avoid food additives

As with the soda, all those number codes on our foods are extra chemicals that our bodies don’t need to be dealing with right now.

Many food additives are derived from petrochemicals (yup that is good old crude oil in your food right there) and our bodies don’t know how to process them, so they move them into your fat cells to deal with them “later”, so they just accumulate in our bodies.

Relax – How Stress Reduction Increases your Fertility Naturally

The human race has developed a fancy little mechanism that means you cannot get pregnant when your body feels stressed.

In previous times, this was a great thing. Generally our stressors were things like war or famine, both of which are not great times to try to grow a baby.

However, these days we live stupidly stressful lives.

Stress is no longer something that we have for a season and it goes away again.

In this fast paced life we are stressed all the time. Driving to work is stressful, work is stressful, fitting in all the kids (or our own) activities is stressful. Stress is everywhere.

Once our stress levels are chronically elevated you eventually run low on adrenaline (epinephrine) and your body starts running on empty. Raised levels of corticosteroids have been show to decrease fertility and increase the risk of inflammation related diseases like heart disease (7).

So the contrary is also true, reduce your stress (or your perception of it) and improve the way you manage stress and your fertility will improve.

If you have many years of adrenal fatigue behind you, you will benefit from some adrenal support supplements as well as a good quality diet.

Increase you Fertility with Yoga

Yoga is a great way to both start and end the day. While some still think of yoga as an airy-fairy new-agey weird person sport, it is actually becoming more common.

Yoga is calm, gentle and slow. It also is hard, awkward and takes a lot of concentration to not fall over. You will not look like a graceful swan like the lady on the video. And if you do, you have to tell me your secret.

The deep breathing that is included in yoga is one of the few things (in fact the only thing) science has found that swaps your body over from the flight/fight/freeze panic state of stress to the rest/digest state of relaxation (and how we should really be living).

So if nothing else, try and find time to do looooooonnnnnggggggg deeeeeeeeeeeppppp breaths several times per day.

The stretching, balancing – using tiny core muscles and movements all help increase your blood flow and lymph drainage while getting that body of yours nice and strong.

Your sleep habits affect your fertility

Sleep goes hand in hand with stress, if you are stressed you don’t sleep well, and if you are tired you get stressed about everything.

Also, while you are asleep your body produces its hormones for the night and get them all set up for the following day. Long term shift workers often struggle with disrupted hormone cycles and then infertility. The simple thing of light/dark cycling can affect your menstrual cycles, you can read more about that here.

Keep Active to Improve your Hormone Balance

Keeping active helps keep our hormones in check. You don’t want to be overdoing, but being a lazy-bum isn’t helpful either.

Ditch the chronic cardio and opt for gentle exercise

Chronic cardio like running long distance has been shown to not only be madness (my opinion) but actually it raises inflammation in the body, increasing inflammatory conditions as well as aches and pains.

More gentle exercise, like walking, swimming and yoga, have been shown to have just as much benefit to overall health, wellness and weight loss (if not better) and they are less off-putting for the majority of people.

If you love getting crazy hot and sweaty – opt for HIIT (high intensity interval training) instead. It doesn’t have the chronic raise in stress factors like long distance running does.

How lifting weights improves your fertility

Women with hormone issues like PCOS benefit from lifting weights. Why? Since insulin resistance is at the heart of PCOS, increasing your insulin sensitivity can help you manage your weight and possibly improve fertility.

Lowering your floating blood levels of  insulin also lowers your serum testosterone and helps restore your womanly balance.

Supplement Wisely to Naturally Increase your Fertility

No natural journey to fertility is complete without some supplements. I am sorry but it is true. If we had lived a nutrient dense life from before we were conceived until now, it probably wouldn’t be necessary, but we didn’t and now it is.

We have a lifetime (sometimes several generations worth) of toxins and depletion to start from. If we want those building blocks in tip top shape, we need to be arming the body with the tools it needs.

As you will see, these supplements can be very effective in re-balancing your hormones, as well as improving you and your partner’s overall health, which are so vital for successful conception.

Supplements that improve ovulation

  • Folic acid – not only does it reduce the incidence of spina bifida, it also increases your egg health.
  • Zinc – is an essential component of genetic material and a zinc deficiency can cause chromosome changes in either you or your partner, leading to reduced fertility and an increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Selenium –  is an antioxidant that helps to protect your body from highly reactive chemical fragments called free radicals. For this reason, selenium can prevent chromosome breakage, which is known to be a cause of birth defects and miscarriages
  • Agnus Castus (Vitex or Chasteberry) – a herb that helps balance hormones in women and reduces PMS symptoms. Agnus castus is particularly helpful for those women who have a luteal phase defect (shortened second half of the cycle) or those with high prolactin levels or PCOS.
  • Tribulus terrestris – One study performed on 36 women who were not ovulating, showed that 67% realized normal ovulation after only 2-3 months of consistent use. The women were given 300-400mg a day, from day 5-14 of their menstrual cycle. 6% became pregnant right away.

Supplements that support hormone function

  • Evening primrose oil: contains omega-6 fatty acids, such as LA and GLA, that support overall hormonal function. Supplementing with evening primrose oil can help to relieve premenstrual and PCOS symptoms. It also helps to create a healthy environment for conception. (8)
  • Vitamin D:  almost acts like a hormone inside the body and has important implications for keeping inflammation levels low.  Sunshine is really the best way to optimize vitamin D levels because your bare skin actually makes vitamin D on its own when exposed to even small amounts of direct sunlight. Most people should supplement with around 2,000–5,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 if they live in dark areas, during the winter, and on days when they’re not in the sun. (9)
  • Myoinositol: is a naturally occurring substance produced in the human body that belongs to the vitamin B complex group. In recent years there has been a growing appreciation of the benefits of myoinositol for women with PCOS with regards to hormone balancing and increasing insulin sensitivity.

Supplements that increase sperm count naturally

  • Zinc – is an essential component of genetic material and a zinc deficiency can cause chromosome changes in either you or your partner, leading to reduced fertility and an increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Selenium –  is an antioxidant that helps to protect your body from highly reactive chemical fragments called free radicals. For this reason, selenium can prevent chromosome breakage, which is known to be a cause of birth defects and miscarriages
  • Vitamin C – reduces the oxidative stress on the body, especially sensitive cells like sperm.
  • Tribulus terrestris – also known as puncturevine, is a medicinal herb frequently used to enhance male fertility. One study in men with low sperm counts showed that taking 6 grams of tribulus root daily for two months improved erectile function and libido (10).

Know your Cycle so you Conceive Faster

Timing is everything. It only takes one egg and one sperm to make a baby. You might be like me and only ovulate once in 18 months, but if you time it right, you can make the most of that chance.

An egg can only last for 24 hours, and in the right environment sperm may live for up to 5-7 days (at most). You gotta know your cycle ladies!

Time it right

The best way to get to know your cycle is to learn how to chart it. You will need a basal body thermometer (BBT) and take your temperature every morning as soon as you wake up (preferably at the same time each morning). I used to set my alarm for 6am, take my temperature then go back to sleep.

I have this thermometer here and it keeps your recording so you can check it later when I had my glasses and a light on!

I like to use a free account on Fertility Friend to keep track, it also tells you when you have ovulated when you have 3 elevated temperatures after 6 lower ones.

To get pregnant you need to have sex in the 3-5 days before expected ovulation and the 2 days after. This is to ensure you have the little guys waiting for the egg when she comes sailing along.

The time of day and position have very little, if any, sway on success or not. But to be safe try just before you go to sleep at night, so you can rest laying down for a while (preferably on your back as your vagina slopes down hill towards your cervix when you are on you back).

Look after the Swimmers – Ensuring Sperm Health

25% of infertility cases are male factor related. Even if your man has good healthy sperm, there are things you can do to keep them that way. If you are not sure if it is a factor for you, you can get handy little sperm test-at-home kits.

Watch the lube

Most commercial lubricant products actually kill or injure healthy sperm. Either skip the lube, of opt for a nutrient filled sperm friendly lube like Pre-seed or Conceive Plus.

Wear boxers

Sperm are very temperature sensitive, if your man wears tighty whities (briefs) you might benefit from switching to boxers, and avoid tight pants in general for a while to help keep his swimmers cool.

Avoid hot baths

As with the boxers, hot baths, pools or Spa/Jacuzzi baths can overheat the sperm and cause mass die-offs.

Keep up the nutrients

Having a nutrient dense diet and appropriate supplements will help keep them in tip top shape. Avoid toxins like cigarettes, caffeine, drugs and alcohol as they all mutate or kill off sperm.

So in recap the 7 best ways to naturally boost your fertility for both men and women are:

What tips do you have for people trying to conceive naturally? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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