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Anti inflammatory foods for fertility

Inflammation and fertility

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury or illness. However, prolonged inflammation can lead to insulin resistance and studies suggest it is linked to many conditions that may affect fertility, such as endometriosis, PCOS, implantation failure and recurrent miscarriage.

One of the greatest obstacles to successful implantation of the embryos and the reason why IVF fails in some women is an inflammatory environment, which can be caused by autoimmune and other pro-inflammatory conditions of the immune system. If there is inflammation in the body, it could damage embryos and prevent successful implantation. At the Zita West Clinic we do specialist blood tests to see if this is the case or not. If inflammation is detected, we don’t simply rely on medication to reduce this; the internal environment can also be optimised through appropriate nutrition and improvement in lifestyle. It is also extremely important to reduce the effect of stress, which can impact the immune system, and we use other, holistic treatments – such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy – to help with that.

Reducing inflammation through diet

There are certain foods that are inflammatory and others that help reduce inflammation in the body. Let’s start with the good stuff. Try to increase the following in your diet, because these foods are anti-inflammatory:

  • Oily fish – levels of omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish help to counteract the inflammatory effects of omega-6 fats that are found in most meat.
  • Certain nuts, like macadamia nuts, which are high in omega-9 fats and seeds like flaxseed, chia and hemp.
  • Fruit and vegetables – high antioxidant foods help stem the action of free radicals, which cause inflammation. Orange and dark green vegetables are especially important for their beta-carotene levels.
  • Olive oil, which in its raw state contains omega-9 healthy fats and a chemical called oleocanthal, both of which have anti-inflammatory actions on the body. However, once you heat olive oil it becomes pro-inflammatory, so opt for seed oils for cooking instead.
  • Spices such as turmeric, garlic and ginger help to prevent pro-inflammatory enzymes from acting on your body.
  • Green tea
  • Pineapple
  • Rosemary
  • Propolis (honey bee resin) is a source of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), which has been found to inhibit NF-kB, which promotes inflammation.
  • Apples, onions, berries, brassicas and capers are a good source of quercetin, an important anti-inflammatory antioxidant.
  • Fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and yoghurt, should be included regularly in your diet. The gut is an important site for the development and maintenance of immune health and modulating inflammation. Therefore maintaining a healthy digestion is important for addressing long-term inflammation.
  • Vitamin D-rich foods, such as oily fish, shellfish, egg yolk and mushrooms.
  • Coconut oil contains a beneficial fatty acid called lauric acid, which is also found in human breast milk. Lauric acid converts in the body to a compound called monolaurin, which may help support the immune system. Other fatty acids include capric and caprylic acids, which have antimicrobial properties.
  • Vitamin A-rich foods, such as organic liver and eggs.

In addition, try to eat more white fish, beans and pulses as your main protein sources, rather than poultry and red meat. Although turkey and chicken are fine in moderation, in general animal protein is considered more inflammatory for the body than fish and plant protein. You may wish to limit your intake of red meat and dairy products, as they contain arachidonic acid, which the body can use to make inflammatory eicosanoids.

Unsurprisingly, the pro-inflammatory foods in our diet comprise refined carbohydrates and sugars, excess saturated fats, processed foods, junk foods and hydrogenised (or partially hydrogenised) fats. Avoid them as often as you can. Caffeine and alcohol are pro-inflammatory, too.

Finally, avoid stress. Although this isn’t a dietary cause of inflammation, stress is almost certainly contributing to inflammation in your body. Support all the good work you’re doing with your diet by adapting your lifestyle to reduce stress, too.

For a detailed nutrition consultation tailored for you either in the clinic or by phone, contact us here.

What Role Does Sperm Play In The Success Of IVF?

This week Dr Simone Rofena, our medical consultant in Reproductive Medicine talks to us about male infertility and the role sperm plays in IVF.

50% of the reasons for a couple’s infertility is down to male infertility which is very important in the couple’s diagnostic. There are three parameters we assess when considering the capability of a sperm to fertilise an egg.

  1.     Sperm count

The sperm total account must be over 15 million to be considered normal.

  1.     Motility

Motility of the sperm is also important and we would be happy with 40% of sperm having progressive motility.

  1.     Morphology

When we analyse sperm, we look at the head, neck and tail. Morphology can affect any of these three parts, so for a sperm to be considered normal they must be normally shaped.

 

There are several things that can be done to contribute to improving sperm count, motility and morphology. For example:

  • Good Lifestyle
  • Good Nutrition
  • Supplements

Often when men get poor results on a seamen analysis they worry they might not be able to conceive a baby but try not to worry too much as it only takes one good sperm to create a pregnancy.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our  Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at out Clinic in London or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0808 196 4060 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

 

5 Commonly Asked Questions About IVF

In today’s episode of The Fertility Show, I’m answering the top five questions we get asked about IVF. As always, you’ll find your cheat sheet below.

  1. Is IVF an Emotional Rollercoaster?

Certainly it can be (although not always), but if you are prepared from the outset, you can help manage your emotions. Some women feel tired and emotionally fragile during treatment so building in time for yourself, to sleep well and nourish yourself you can enhance your energy. Mindfulness, hypnotherapy and meditation apps can also help with worry.

2. Are IVF injections painful?

Some are more painful than others, but during treatment, we show all women how to use and administer drugs correctly. There is also always someone to ask and offer you support and extra guidance.

3. Can you exercise during IVF?

We recommend gentle exercise when going through IVF – if you’re doing lots of exercise it will be diverting the blood away from the pelvic area.

4. Can eggs be improved before the IVF process?

Yes. The environment in which eggs grow in is affected by lifestyle, so improving your diet, cutting out alcohol, taking a multivitamin and mineral that contain folate and Omega 3 taking and eating well can all help improve egg quality.

5. How long does an IVF cycle last?

Generally, the same length of time that a woman’s natural cycle lasts, is two quite intensive weeks and then the dreaded ‘two week wait’ in which you are waiting to find out of if you are pregnant or not. It’s really important to try to manage your time through a cycle to be sure you’re not in a hurry at the same time as going for tests and scans, and have space to manage the two week wait.  

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our clinic in London or via video conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0808 196 4060 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

Getting pregnant AFTER the pill

So many of the young women I see at the clinic in their thirties have gone on the pill at fifteen, and don’t come off until they’re in their 30s and starting to try for a baby. It’s very easy for them to get quite panicked about their cycles and their fertility returning. So today, I want to answer the common questions that I get asked about coming off the pill.

As always, here is your cheat sheet so that you have all the information to hand

“I’m thinking about coming off the pill do I need to let it go out of my system for the next three months before I start trying for a baby?” The answer’s no. When you first come off the pill you should try for a baby as soon as you can, because some studies show that your fertility is better in the early months when you first come off the pill. Don’t waste time letting it go out of your system.

“How long will it take for my period and my cycle to return when I come off the pill?”  Although many women can get pregnant quite quickly, for others there are delays and it’s not unusual to have cycle disturbances for six to seven months, and cycle irregularities as well.

“Am I more likely to have polycystic ovaries when I come off the pill?” This is quite a difficult question to answer, because so many women have been on the pill for 10 to 15 years. When you’ve been on the pill that long, sometimes it can mask certain underlying factors that you don’t know that you’ve got. Some women may have polycystic ovaries when they come off the pill, because that would most likely be because they had it anyway but without realizing.

“If I’m trying to chart my fertility following the pill what can I expect?” When you’ve been on the pill for such a long time, a woman isn’t aware of what her nature cycles are. It does take time to get used to charting and noticing secretions and hormonal changes. Just get used to knowing your body and bear in mind it can take up to seven cycles for your ovulation to return to normal.

“When shall I come off the pill? I’m thinking of trying for a baby?”  If you’re in your mid-thirties and you’re thinking about baby, come off the pill straight-away and try, because on average, it can take eight to twelve months to conceive. A miscarriage isn’t uncommon. It’s really important that the minute you start thinking about having a baby you don’t put off coming off of the pill.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, click here and subscribe to our brand new Fertility Show on YouTube

To begin your journey book a consultation with Zita or one of our specialist fertility nurses

BOOK NOW

Consultations are available at our clinic in London or via video conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

 

My 10 step pregnancy plan

Making conception easier

So many couples see getting pregnant as a challenge. But they focus so much on getting to the finish line, they forget to enjoy the journey! Of course, getting pregnant requires time, effort commitment. And more often than not, there will be obstacles along the way. But you’d be surprised how a few simple adjustments to your mindset and lifestyle could make it just that little bit easier. Read more