While reasons for infertility among men and women vary. Nevertheless, eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight benefits several body functions; prime amongst these is the ability to conceive. Modifying a diet is a lot cheaper than getting involved with artificial methods of insemination. This is not to say that these procedures can be knocked off, they often work but when all procedures fail, then support your medical treatment with a few nutritional guidelines and raise your chances for conceiving.
Common conditions that can cause infertility:
Being Underweight: If your body is devoid of fat, as is likely if you are too thin, your estrogen levels may also drop and lower the chances for motherhood. Healthy levels of this female hormone are crucial for fertility.
Being Overweight: Likewise, being overweight also significantly impedes your chances of conception. Overweight men are often found to have atherosclerosis (obstruction of blood flow due to fat deposits on the inner walls of the arteries) – a combination which often lowers sperm count and interferes with the blood supply to the sex organs thereby affecting reproductive health. Generally, when both partners maintain ideal body weight, it not only increases their chances of conceiving but makes all other infertility treatment techniques more effective.
PCOS – polycystic ovary syndrome: PCOS is one of the most common causes for infertility among women. PCOS is a hormone related problem that interferes with the female reproductive cycle. Lifestyle changes, losing weight (even a little bit), along with adopting a well-balanced nutritious diet may help get your hormones back in balance. Vitamin and mineral supplements can help to correct the deficiencies that result in PCOS symptoms. Chromium is an extremely important mineral if you have PCOS. Chromium helps reverse insulin resistance and reduces triglycerides. The antioxidant vitamins- A, C & E- are important if you suffer with PCOD.
Stress & Ayurveda: Stress is the necessary evil of in our lives today; what matters is to what degree! Too much stress is harmful and reduces the chances of getting pregnant. The best way to manage stress is yoga and meditation as it relaxes the mind and body. Herbs such as Brahmi and Ashwagandha have long been known for their ability to calm the mind and help the body to cope with stress. Ayurveda, as the first step for conception, suggests cleansing the body. Detoxification removes toxins from the body and the reproductive organs, making it nutrient and mineral rich, in turn increasing the chances of conception.
Added Nutrition: Intelligent dietary choices certainly assist you in your journey to conception. Start by eliminating junk foods, fried foods, smoking and alcohol – all of these could deprive your body of nutrients such as zinc and vitamin C which are essential for a healthy sperm count. Research links ‘inactive’ sperm in males to a diet low in Vitamin C. Increase your intake of raw fruit and vegetables to ensure that you get adequate amounts of Vitamin C. Supplementing with 1000 mg of vitamin C daily is a good way to restore your vitality
Zinc is another mineral that is critical for testosterone production but unfortunately, most people are deficient in it. Rectifying a zinc deficiency could enhance sex life and sperm count. Women require a minimum of 15mg of zinc daily, 20 mg when pregnant and 25 mg when lactating. But do not exceed a dosage of 50 mg – in excess zinc hampers copper absorption and brings about other problems. It is also a misconception that anyone who takes zinc supplement will have improved fertility- supplements will help only if you have a deficiency, not otherwise. Good sources of zinc include oysters, beef, chicken, fish, whole grain cereals such as wheat, wheat bran and dalia.
The herb Ginkgo biloba is known to boost blood circulation, especially to the brain. Studies conducted in men having low sperm count showed that 80% of the participants reported an increase in the sperm count by having 4 gms of L-Arginine (an amino acid) daily.
In general, a healthier lifestyle and a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, less stress should improve your fertility. However, if you have a hormonal imbalance then it is best to take medical advice from your physician. But a proper knowledge of diet and correcting nutritional deficiencies can go a long way in the treatment of ailments.
ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total,
Centres across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Nashik, Indore.
Health Total treats obesity & lifestyle related conditions.
Contact numbers: 1800 266 0607 / 022-672 66888
For further information, visit www.health-total.com