Over the past twenty years, fertility problems have increased dramatically. One in six couples now find it difficult to conceive and a quarter of all pregnancies can end in a miscarriage and more and more couples are turning to fertility treatments to help them have a family. From a medical point of view, infertility is believed to be caused by the following factors, and in these proportions: Ovulatory failure 20%, tubal damage 15%, Endometriosis 5%, male problems 26%, unexplained 30%. If the mathematics don’t add up, it’s because many couples experience more than one problem when trying to conceive: for example, you may suffer from endometriosis, but your partner may also have a low sperm count.
Interestingly, the most common cause of infertility is ‘unexplained’, which means that following thorough investigations, doctors can find no specific or identifiable medical problem at the root. But this is where a natural approach can come into play. If a couple fails to become pregnant, there is obviously something causing the problem. It’s no good labelling infertility ‘unexplained’. The answer is to look deeper – at lifestyle factors, nutritional deficiencies and even emotional elements.
Almonds are the most superior nut, benefiting the lungs, skin, digestive tract and fertility. Their concentrated mineral content also makes almonds very nourishing for the bones, nails, and hair. Soaking overnight and removing their pitta-irritating skin makes them into a cooling, enzyme-rich superfood that boosts ‘ojas’.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is a crucial vitamin for male fertility. They also contain good amounts of manganese, which may help boost the quality of a man’s sperm.
Quinoa reduces all three doshas and is one of the best healing foods. It nourishes the deeper reproductive tissues and benefits the digestive tract. It has the highest protein content of any grain and has more calcium than milk.
Oats nourish the reproductive system and tonify immunity for weak and deficient people. Oats can help to reduce vata and pitta but their moistness can increase kapha and extinguish the digestive fire with those with low agni.
Nuts are building, strengthening, and aphrodisiac tonics that boost fertility. They reduce vata and increase pitta and kapha. As they are hard to digest they can aggravate vata when consumed in excess. High in oils, they can easily become rancid and should be dry roasted before eating.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and studies show that vitamin C enhances sperm quality, protecting sperm and the DNA within it from damage. Some research has indicated that certain types of DNA damage in the sperm can make it difficult to conceive in the first place, or it can cause an increased risk of miscarriage if conception does take place. If DNA is damaged, there may be a chromosomal problem in the baby, should the pregnancy proceed. Whether or not DNA damage does have these effects has not been conclusively proven, but it’s worth taking vitamin C and the other antioxidants as a precautionary measure.
Vitamin C also appears to keep the sperm from clumping together, making them more motile. Use the alkaline form of vitamin C as magnesium ascorbate instead of the acidic ascorbic acid form.
These essential fats have a profound effect on every system of the body, including the reproductive system and they are crucial for healthy hormone functioning. Omega 3 fatty acids also control inflammation which may interfere with getting and staying pregnant. For men essential fatty acid supplementation is crucial because the semen is rich in prostaglandins which are produced from these fats. Men with poor sperm quality, abnormal sperm, poor motility or low count, have inadequate levels of these beneficial prostaglandins.
Red Ginseng is an adaptogen, strengthening the (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal) (HPA) axis. It specifically supports and spares the adrenal glands by increasing their capacity to produce stress hormones. This generates efficient energy production whilst also protecting against exhaustion. Ginseng improves overall performance and supports fertility via its hormone supporting benefits. Ginseng is suitable for the very active as well as the elderly. It supports muscle regeneration and repair, as well as improving oxygen availability, whilst also nourishing depletion caused by prolonged
illness. It is exemplary at enhancing mental and physical performance by enhancing the life-force.