Kick-start your fertility
There are a number of nutrients that will kick-start your fertility. Zinc, the most widely studied nutrient in terms of reproductive health, is one of them.
Zinc is the most abundant mineral found in sperm, and it affects every part of the female sexual cycle, working in conjunction with vitamin B6. Both zinc and vitamin B6 are essential in ensuring efficient utilisation of the reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
Adequate levels of zinc and vitamin B6 also increase your libido – no wonder zinc-rich oysters are considered an aphrodisiac! Good sources of zinc include oysters, lamb, nuts, seeds, egg yolks, rye and oats.
Vitamin B6 can be found in cauliflower, watercress, bananas and broccoli.
One reason why women coming off the pill have difficulty conceiving is because the pill depletes your body of essential nutrients such as zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C.
Stopping the pill at least three months before you plan to conceive will help your body return to its natural menstrual cycle (so you can become fertile again) and give you time to deal with any nutritional imbalances.
Next come the essential fats like omega 3 and omega 6 – both critical for female and male fertility. Omega 3 fats can be found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, herring and mackerel. Nuts and seeds are rich in the omega 6 variety.
To make sure you’re getting enough, aim to have a portion of oily fish twice a week and a handful of fresh, unsalted nuts and seeds everyday. At the same time, it’s important to avoid hydrogenated, trans- (in crisps, margarines etc) and saturated fats (in fatty meat and dairy), as they block the absorption of these essential omega fats.
A good supply of antioxidants is also required to keep your body young, and therefore more fertile. The main antioxidant nutrients include vitamins A (carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, pumpkin, watercress), C (peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits berries) and E (nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados, beans, sweet potatoes), and the minerals zinc (meat, fish, oysters, seeds, nuts, eggs and green leafy vegetables) and selenium (Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, tuna, cabbage and wholegrains). Studies have shown that both vitamin C and E boost fertility in men and women, while men with low sperm counts frequently have low selenium levels.
As I’ve seen at my clinic, these suggestions, coupled with various nutritional supplements have helped a number of couples give expensive fertility clinics a miss.
By SONA PARMAR