Understanding Infertility: Lifestyle Factors and Solutions for Men and Women

Hey there, Fit Fam!

Today, let’s delve into a crucial topic that’s been garnering attention lately: infertility. It’s an issue impacting many couples, and unfortunately, the numbers are rising. According to the CDC approximately 13 percent of women and 11 percent of men have infertility. This statistic increases to a staggering 22 percent in people aged 30 to 39. While the statistics and trends are concerning, I’m here to shine a light on why this is happening and what can be done to protect and boost fertility in men and women.

Understanding the Factors at Play

First, let’s explore why infertility rates are soaring. Lifestyle and environmental factors play significant roles here. 

Trend in Having Children Later

The trend in having children later could be a factor in the rise in infertility rates over the years. Having children later in life increases the chance of having difficulty conceiving for both men and women. For women, fertility decreases with age due to a decline in the quality of women’s eggs. Women are born with a certain number of eggs and as you age, the number of eggs decreases. There is also a higher chance of miscarriage as you age. For men, the sperm quality decreases after the age of 40 and can contribute to difficulty in conceiving or having a child with a genetic abnormality. 

Environmental Factors

Reproductive health has been significantly affected by the presence of hormone-altering chemicals (endocrine disrupting chemicals) in many things we come into contact with on a daily basis. These chemicals, which include Phthalates, Bisphenol A, pesticides, mercury, lead, Cadmium and flame retardants sneak their way into our daily lives without most being aware of the lurking dangers. These hormone disrupting chemicals are found in plastics (water bottles and packaging), electronic devices, beauty products & cleaning supplies and many things we use on a daily basis. These chemicals were brought into production after the 1950s which is when we started to see a decline in sperm counts and fertility. 

Certain medications are particularly bad for men’s fertility and should be avoided if possible. They include Bicalutamide, Cimetidine, Cyproterone, Flutamide, Ketoconazole, Spironolactone, Finasteride.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle choices can contribute to fertility issues, but fortunately, these are easier to control if you are aware of their impact. From poor diet choices to stress and sedentary lifestyles, various factors contribute to this concerning trend. It is important to eat a healthy diet, avoid alcohol, avoid smoking and drug use, exercise and maintain a healthy weight in order to bolster the odds of a healthy conception and pregnancy. 

Boosting Fertility: 

Essential Supplements

There are certain supplements that are worth considering for both men and women to protect and boost fertility. When it comes to protecting our fertility, both men and women have their part to play. 

Supplements for Men

  • Co-Enzyme Q-10 (CoQ10): Take 400mg twice daily
  • Omega-3s: Aim for 1000 – 2000mg daily
  • Folic Acid: Keep it steady at 400mcg daily
  • Zinc: Shoot for 15-30mg daily
  • Pycnogenol: Give yourself a daily dose of 100mg

These supplements are known for their fertility-boosting properties and can contribute to reproductive wellness. Be sure to check out the links provided to find top-quality options.

Supplements for Women

Here are some essential fertility supplements specifically for women and how much of them you should aim for:

  • Co-Enzyme Q-10 (CoQ10): Aim for 200-600mg daily
  • Pycnogenol: Get your daily dose of 100mg
  • DHEA: Take 25mg three times daily (but if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome, give this one a miss)
  • N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine: Up to 1200mg (1.2 grams) daily

These supplements can play a vital role in supporting fertility and reproductive wellness. Check out the links provided to explore high-quality options. 

Harnessing the Power of Acupuncture

Additionally, let’s not overlook the potential benefits of acupuncture in enhancing fertility. This ancient practice has shown promise in helping couples conceive and maintain pregnancies, as well as reducing the risk of miscarriage along the way. Dr. Sierra Macy has had some great success with helping her patients with fertility issues so I asked her to join me in this blog post to shed some light on her experience with acupuncture and fertility. You can find Dr. Macy at https://www.tangerineroots.com/ and on Instagram @tangerineroots.

From Dr. Sierra Macy Regarding Acupuncture and Fertility

From regulating menstrual pain to benefiting amenorrhea and infertility, acupuncture has been increasingly recognized as a valuable complementary therapy for improving fertility outcomes in both men and women. As a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, I’ve been fortunate to witness firsthand the profound impact acupuncture can have on fertility outcomes.

Throughout my clinical practice, I’ve seen how acupuncture can regulate menstrual cycles, reducing discomfort and irregularities that may hinder conception. However, what you may not know is that acupuncture’s benefits extend beyond just menstrual health. For couples struggling with infertility, acupuncture offers a holistic approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of the journey. By reducing stress levels, improving blood flow to the reproductive organs, and enhancing the quality of eggs and sperm, acupuncture can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

Research has shown that acupuncture administered alongside IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatments can improve embryo implantation rates and reduce the risk of miscarriage, leading to higher success rates for couples undergoing fertility treatments. This increased success is linked to improved blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, and potential improvements in egg and sperm quality, such as improved sperm motility and egg quality. With acupuncture’s strong ability to regulate the nervous system and reduce stress, clients undergoing fertility treatments have reported feeling more relaxed and optimistic after incorporating acupuncture into their treatment plans. This is important as fertility issues are often intertwined with both physical and emotional factors. Thus, by addressing both the physical and emotional imbalances in the body, holistic interventions like acupuncture serve as a valuable tool in achieving successful fertility outcomes.

In my practice, I’ve been privileged to support many patients with various infertility challenges. For some, conception has occurred shortly after commencing acupuncture treatments alone, highlighting the effectiveness of this ancient healing practice in and of itself in restoring reproductive health. For other patients with higher-risk pregnancies that struggled to conceive naturally, a combination of acupuncture alongside IVF treatments proved to be most successful. I am proud to say these patients are now pregnant and on track to have healthy births!

The beauty of this medicine is that it’s tailored to each individual patient. Not only does it help improve pregnancy success, hormone imbalances, and adverse side effects of IVF medications, but in balancing the body, it also addresses systemic symptoms. This includes stress, sleep, digestive issues (including morning sickness), headache, fatigue, and any individual patient concerns.

Based on research, here are some of the science-backed benefits:

  • Balances hormones: Acupuncture stimulates the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing and releasing hormones that affect ovulation, menstruation, and pregnancy. By balancing the levels of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH), acupuncture may help better prepare your body for fertility treatment.
  • Increases blood flow: Acupuncture helps to increase blood circulation to the reproductive organs, especially the uterus and ovaries. This may improve the quality and quantity of eggs and the thickness and receptivity of the uterine lining. A well-nourished uterus and ovaries can increase your chances of conceiving, implantation and carrying a healthy baby.
  • Reduces stress: Stress can have a negative impact on your fertility by disrupting your hormonal balance, affecting your ovulation, and lowering your libido. Acupuncture is known to reduce stress by stimulating the release of endorphins. It also can calm your nervous system and lower your blood pressure, improving your overall health and well-being.
  • Improved Ovarian Function: acupuncture may improve ovarian function, leading to improved follicle development and better egg quality.
  • Hormonal Regulation: Acupuncture can regulate hormone levels, helping with hormonal imbalances and improving reproductive health.
  • Minimizing medication side effects: Acupuncture has been found to alleviate the adverse effects of fertility medications, minimizing symptoms of nausea, bloating, fatigue, stress and overall well-being
  • Decreased Miscarriage Risk: Acupuncture can be very useful for assisting in the prevention of miscarriage by addressing underlying factors of miscarriage
  • Improved Egg and Sperm Quality: Acupuncture may enhance the quality of eggs and sperm, potentially increasing the chances of successful fertilization and healthy embryo development.
  • Supporting Men’s Fertility: Acupuncture has been shown to improve sperm count and quality by addressing the imbalances that are causing the issues.
  • Enhances IVF outcomes: Some studies have suggested that acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer can increase the pregnancy rates of IVF patients. This may be due to acupuncture’s ability to improve blood flow to the uterus, relax the uterine muscles, and reduce stress and anxiety. Acupuncture can also help reduce some side effects of IVF medications, such as bloating, nausea, headaches, and mood swings.
  • Supports overall wellness: Acupuncture can help you address other health issues that may affect your fertility indirectly, such as insomnia, digestive problems, allergies, or chronic pain. By improving your sleep quality, digestion, immunity, and pain relief, acupuncture can help you feel more comfortable and energetic throughout your fertility journey.

Remember, Fit Fam, infertility is a journey, but you’re not alone. By taking proactive steps to support our reproductive health, we can increase our chances of conceiving and bring our dreams of starting a family to fruition.

Until next time, stay healthy, stay happy, and keep thriving!


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