Ways to Improve Sperm Motility and Morphology Naturally

Ways to Improve Sperm Motility and Morphology Naturally

Low sperm motility and abnormal sperm morphology are the common causes of male infertility. This is found to be one of the reasons why some couples are not able to conceive today. Unfortunately, medical treatment aimed towards male infertility doesn’t have higher success rates. Above all, these treatments are found to have some unpleasant side effects. But, fortunately, these are some natural ways to improve sperm motility and morphology. Let’s see them here…

Natural Remedies for Male Infertility:

The following natural remedies are known to improve the sperm motility and morphology. Let’s know about them now:

Maca:

This is a South American herb that is being used as a male libido. This can be used as a natural remedy to treat infertility. It has been shown that Maca supports testosterone production, although it is not found to have hormonal effects on the body. In addition, Maca is known to support the adrenal glands and will help maintain thyroid functionality. Some clinical studies that have been conducted in this regard have shown that supplementation with this herb would improve low sperm quality caused by lower testosterone levels.

Tribulus:

This is another herb that helps stimulate the testosterone synthesis. Some clinical studies have shown that Tribulus helps stimulate the secretion of LH by the pituitary gland in males with lower testosterone levels. If you are not already aware, know that the LH (Lutenizing Hormone) is the hormone that stimulates the testes to secrete more testosterone. Moreover, Tribulus is found to have a positive effect on the overall health and well-being of men.

L-Carnitine:

As some of you might already be aware, L-carnitine is essential for the normal functioning of sperms. This is found to be playing an important role in the maturation of sperms. In addition, it is also known to provide energy for the metabolic processes involved in the ejaculation. Various clinical studies have shown that L-carnitine helps to increase all the parameters of the health of the sperm. Thus, L-carnitine supplementation would improve your sperm count, morphology, as well as motility.

Antioxidants:

It has been observed that abnormal sperm morphology is often the result of poorly integrated DNA of sperm cells. In this line, if you could supplement your diet with a specific blend of antioxidants, you could improve your sperm health by preventing the DNA damage. An important antioxidant that has been found effective in this regard is the coenzyme-Q10. Remember, if a damaged sperm is fertilizing your partner’s egg, then the embryo is likely to be miscarried. Your antioxidant supplementation would help you in this regard as they would help your body fight against the DNA damage by neutralizing the effects of free radicals.

Nutritional Supplements:

In addition to the above natural remedies, our common nutritional supplements can also help improve the sperm health. As such, zinc has shown to enhance the sperm quality and count. So, zinc supplementation would be of help. Also, folic acid is found to have an important effect as some studies have shown that men with low folic acid levels have lots of sperm DNA defects. So, consider folic acid supplementation. Finally, your vitamin B12 and vitamin C are also known to increase sperm count and quality of sperms in smokers.

Thus, improving the sperm motility, as well as the morphology is naturally possible.

References:

  1. Lenzi, A., Lombardo, F., Sgrò, P., Salacone, P., Caponecchia, L., Dondero, F., & Gandini, L. (2003). Use of carnitine therapy in selected cases of male factor infertility: a double­blind crossover trial. Fertility and sterility, 79(2), 292­300.
  2.  Lewin, A., & Lavon, H. (1997). The effect of coenzyme Q 10 on sperm motility and function. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, 18, 213­219.
  3. Balercia, G., Mosca, F., Mantero, F., Boscaro, M., Mancini, A., Ricciardo­Lamonica, G., & Littarru, G. (2004). Coenzyme q 10 supplementation in infertile men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia: an open, uncontrolled pilot study. Fertility and sterility, 81(1), 93­98.
  4. Stanislavov, R. & Nikolova, V. (2000). Tribulus terrestris and Human Male Fertility: I. Immunological Aspects. Comptes Rendus de l’Academie Bulgare des Sciences, vol. 53, p.10:107. Retrieved from: http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2000crabs..53j.107s/J000107.000.html
  5. Muller V. (1997). Maca in Hormone Replacement Therapy. Whole World Botanicals Report; 1­7
  6. Muller V. (2002). South American Herb Maca as Alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy. Whole World Botanicals Report
  7. Murray, M.T., N.D. (1996). Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Three Rivers Press: New York, New York. pp 135; 293; 295.

How Can Basal Body Temperature Charting Support Fertility?

The timing of intercourse is very important when it comes to becoming pregnant. By doing so at the right time, you can save your time and energy being spent on trying. Because the timing is important for successful conception, monitoring the days of fertility is also becoming important. If you can find out the days you are more fertile, then you can plan it very well. In this line, one must remember that each and every month, our body would give us the signs that we are ovulating. All we have to do is to identify those.

The Importance of Basal Body Temperature:

As you might be already aware, there are various methods to determine whether you are fertile. One among these is your basal body temperature charting. The method of basal body temperature charting would help determine when you are likely to ovulate. So, how to use this method? Let’s see here now:

While using this method, you will be tracking your body’s basal temperature. In simple terms, the basal body temperature can be defined as the lowest temperature that the body would experience in a 24-hour period. In order to note down your basal body temperature, you need to take the readings when your body is completely idle. This is why it’s advisable to track the basal body temperature immediately after waking up from your sleep.

It’s to be noted here that your basal body temperature will be more or less stable with just some minor fluctuations. While this is the case during all the days of a menstrual cycle, you would see a slight, as well as steady rise in the basal body temperature during the ovulation window. You could see an obvious increase of 0.1 to 1.0 degree during the fertile window. Although this is a minor change, it’s an important sign of ovulation. Therefore, the women who are trying to conceive are recommended to chart down the basal body temperature to determine whether you are ovulating.

Understanding the Changes in Basal Body Temperature:

So, why is there a change in basal body temperature during ovulation? Let’s try to understand this here. During the menstrual cycle, two hormones will reach their peak levels. As such, during the first half of the cycle, estrogen will be at highest levels. If you do not know about estrogen, understand that this would help your ovaries to produce an egg to be released during ovulation. On the other half part of the cycle, the hormone “progesterone” will be at its peak. Note that this hormone will be dominating until it decreases in expectation of your periods.

Now, the theory can be easily explained because estrogen is a cooler hormone, while progesterone is a warmer hormone. Thus, before ovulation, when estrogen is higher, the basal body temperature will be low, whereas, after ovulation, when progesterone is dominant, the basal body temperature will be high.

Thus, tracking your basal body temperature will help determine if you are fertile or not. Although this method has its own set of pros and cons, this is still considered to be one of the common methods to track ovulation.

References:

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/evaluation-of-the-menstrual-cycle-and-timing-of-ovulation

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12468181

http://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(02)00288-3/fulltext

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24845657

We always talk about egg quality but what about uterine quality?

Whether you are trying to conceive naturally, undergoing IVF, or considering an egg donor (like my patient I was talking to today), you need a healthy uterus to support the growth and development of an embryo into a child. There are some key things you can look for to determine the health of your uterus.

 

One of major factors that your doctor can test for you is your uterine lining. Optimal thickness of the endometrium is greater than 8mm for implantation. The endometrial lining is primed by healthy estrogen levels through the follicular phase. If the lining of the uterus is not thick enough, there can be multiple factors affecting it.

First, of course, the estrogen’s affect on the uterus to support the development of the endometrium. Beyond that however, the optimal blood flow and nutrients to the uterus are crucial. In my practice we support the uterus with two different treatments: Mercier Therapy and Low Level Laser Therapy. Those are the two most effective treatments that I have found for the uterine health. Also, we want to ensure proper nutrient levels. At our clinic, we like to do that through functional nutritional analysis and support the body to have the nutrients that it needs.

Last but not least, the uterus, implantation, and embryo development are affected by something a little more difficult to analyze– how the immune system affects the uterus. To this affect, there are many expensive tests that can determine which exact immune cells are out of balance in the body (CD+, NK, or T – Cells. But, at our clinic, we prefer to test general immune and auto-immune factors. If any of those are elevated, we really ought to consider finding a resolution for bringing the immune system into balance. First and foremost, that usually involves healing the gut. A non-inflammatory diet may be recommended, in addition to supplements that will support immune balance. Then, we proceed to monitoring the previously out of balance immune cells to see if they have changed. Usually, they will resolve in 2-3 months, which has a promising affect on uterine quality.

The three treatments I have talked about here are crucial to uterine quality:

  1. Mercier Therapy
  2. Low Level Laser Therapy
  3. Immune re-balance through gut healing

I have seen a decrease in miscarriages because of this holistic approach, as well as better implantation and pregnancy rates in women undergoing IVF and Egg Donors. If you have had frequent miscarriages, are undergoing another IVF cycle and want to increase your chances for success, or are using an egg donor for your next cycle, I highly suggest calling us first. We can greatly improve your chances within just 6-8 weeks of treatment.

Taking Progesterone is Not the Solution to Your Fertility

Progesterone Levels and Egg Quality

Most of you might be aware that progesterone is playing a significant role when it comes to infertility treatments today. It’s also known to play an important role in pregnancy and miscarriage. But, several people ask us what progesterone does with the egg quality. Is there any relationship between these two entities? Let’s try to understand this here now…

Understanding about Progesterone Synthesis:

Now, let’s try to understand about the progesterone synthesis here. There is a common misconception that progesterone is being produced by the ovary. But, it’s not so. The primary producer of this hormone is the corpus luteum, which is formed after the fertilization of your egg. The hormone will be released from the dominant follicle of the corpus luteum for the first 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy.

The Relationship between Egg Quality and Progesterone Synthesis:

Now, understand that the ovary will produce a dominant follicle every month, which will be carrying the egg. Upon ovulation, this egg will be released from this dominant follicle and thereafter the remaining cyst would become the corpus luteum. So, the relationship between the egg quality and progesterone levels is quite obvious now. If the egg that is being produced is not very healthy, then the resulting corpus luteum would tend to produce less amount of progesterone. Thus, there is a strong relationship between progesterone levels and quality of the egg. Also, remember that the corpus luteum is present within the ovary, but it is not ovary that produces required levels of progesterone when there is no ovulation and fertilization of the healthy egg.

Testing of Progesterone Levels:

As mentioned earlier, progesterone is produced by a healthy corpus luteum and hence, the levels of the hormone are measured on “Day 21” of the menstrual cycle. To be more accurate, it will be recorded on “Day 7” after your ovulation. For a fertile cycle, the levels will be 30 ng/ml or above.

So, how can this interrelationship be used to improve the egg quality and hence, fertility? Well, you can increase the likelihood of the good quality egg in the next cycle by regulating the hormones in the current cycle. This method is becoming popular now and is called “estrogen priming”.

References:

  1. http://attainfertility.com/2013/08/dr-estil-strawn-egg-quality-progesterone
  2. http://fertility.ca/eggs/menstrual-cycle-reflect-quality-eggs/

How taking birth control pills as an adolescent reduces fertility later in life.

This shouldn’t come as news, and yet, it is commonly believed that young women on the pill are not affected later in life in regards to their fertility. Contrarily, research has shown that there is actually an affect of reduced fertility with long-term birth control use. Is it any surprise that infertility is on the rise?

One of the many problems: The pill is no longer just used for contraception. The main reason to use the pill for birth control was only 46% of the time.

Rather, evidence suggests a larger portion of the female population is put on the pill to treat:

crampingHeavy flow

Cramps

PMS

PCOS

Irregular periods

Acne

“Funny” cycles

Depression

The problem for using OCPs as treatment for any of the above is that they don’t treat the root cause. The above list has very little to do with oral contraception. Yes, some of these problems do have to do with hormonal irregularities—but usually those too have a deeper root cause. So, oral contraceptives just give the appearance of having resolved the real problem and instead the problem reappears or worsens with time, and will inevitably make is more challenging to conceive children later in life.

What can teens do instead?

  1. Detox estrogens and xenoestrogens from your body – did you know that tons of the beauty products that you use for your skin, to cover up acne and make you feel more beautiful actually make your acne worse? There are xenoestrogens in all kinds of beauty products- avoid the products with phthalates for starters. There are also xenoestrogens in plastics, canned foods that are lined with BPA, and even receipts you get at the store have BPA. Last but not least, plastic water bottles… I can go on and on about plastic water bottles but the short skinny version is avoid ALL of them! Even the ones that say they are BPA-free are using similar compounds which are actually just as toxic for your hormones as BPA.
  2. Stop eating sugar – the glow of your skin will be worth it!
  3. Wheat what?! – You don’t have to cut it out but at least limit it to a couple times a week. Your hormones will thank you.
  4. Avoid Dairy – yes, completely avoid dairy. The hormones in dairy throw your hormones out of whack.
  5. The deal with meat: it’s probably better to have a more plant-centric diet but if you want to eat meat, eat it in small amounts and make sure it’s organic & free-range!
  6. Eat more greens to alkalinize the body– or, get super-greens in the form of a tasty powder that you can drink.

What if you were a teen who was given birth control, who wants to have a baby now?

  1. If you have been off of the pill for more than 2 months and your cycle has still not become regular, it’s important to regulate your cycle first. Herbs used cyclically here can be great to help regulate your cycle.
  2. Detox your hormones. Yes, this is actually do-able. The hormones you have taken into your body for years have an energetic imprint on your hormones and a sequence of specific homeopathic remedies can help to detox the effects of those hormones from your body—often significantly improving your fertility.
  3. Know that it will take time. The effects of birth control are long lasting so give it time, patience, and get the support of a specialist.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends!

That stubborn weight and how it affects your fertility…

Your body weight is an indicator of your health – and is affected by so much more than your caloric intake and exercise. The women I see in my office are generally the ones that have been on so many different diets and exercise regularly. Yet, they are still heavier than they would like to be (or are overweight).

What could be causing that stubborn weight?
1. High levels of testosterone or androgens can lead to other imbalances that make it hard to lose weight.
2. Thyroid hormones play a huge role in weight management (but thyroid needs to be fairly tightly regulated, and unfortunately, most medical doctors don’t test your thyroid hormones completely so it’s hard to diagnose)
3. Insulin resistance – meaning the insulin that should be released by your pancreas in response to sugar consumption is actually released but has stopped having an affect on your cells processing sugar. This is why sugar and things that raise blood sugar causes a double whammy on your weight

What can you do about it?

** Get your hormones tested. I have created a specialty panel that you can order yourself if you don’t have a doctor that will order the tests for you. Thyroid problems or PCOS will make it harder to lose the weight. So, knowing where your hormones stand will go a long ways in helping you lose the excess weight.

** Eliminate sugar – believe it or not, sugar is a common ingredient in everything, including pasta sauce. And, honey is also a form of sugar. As is ‘evaporated cane juice.’ Nutra-sweet, splenda, and equal are even worst because the condition your taste buds to crave more sugar. Eliminate all sweets from your life for 3 weeks… you may actually change your taste buds away from cravings.

** Eat complex carbs like beans that actually help rebalance insulin resistance and increase the ability for your body to be less sensitive to sugar. Grains and beans actually fall into different categories. You don’t have to eat grains to get your complex carbs (their health benefits are less obvious) but eating beans can be quite beneficial.
If you have trouble digesting beans, this blog post can help you.

NSAIDs may be affecting your fertility

Are you one of the thousands of women who regularly have to take over the counter pain medications to help you through your cycle? On average, 84% of women report menstrual pain and about 50% report having pain with every cycle. With this type of prevalence, the use of Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatories is pretty high. In this class of medications are the usual suspects:

  • Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)

 

pills

If you get regular headaches, migraines, or menstrual pains, you have likely used one of these medications. We’re a pill-popping culture, so it’s not abnormal for you to want to suppress any sort of pain you feel. I was one of those women. When I was 12, I started getting severe migraines- about 1 per week. And, unless I took an Advil, that pain was guaranteed to continue… sometimes for upto a week. Imagine a 12 year old with severe head pain on a 8/10 scale. That was me. And, at 15, my dad found out about my little Advil dependence and threw them out. That was the end… but, that was not the end of my headaches. I switched to taking tylenol which also seemed to do the trick, and continued to have those headaches well through medical school. It’s only more recently that I got to the root of the problem and haven’t been having headaches that frequently. So trust me, I get what it’s like to be in intense pain.

The pain is a sign of your body (and mind) wanting attention– wanting you to pay attention to something. This root cause may be mental-emotional, old traumas, etc., or it may actually be physiological– an imbalance in the hormones of the body which may trigger pain, or it could even be related to a nutritional deficiency. As you can see, it’s pretty important to figure out the root causes and treat those — eventually. But, if you’re trying to get pregnant, or you hope to some-day, it’s probably wise to avoid the use of the aforementioned pain-killers.

Why? After just 10 days of use, these NSAIDs were found to decrease progesterone levels. Progesterone is a hormone that is crucial for ovulation and maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. 

Here’s the study in case you want to read about it for yourself. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611082124.htm

Top 5 Ways to Preserve Your Fertility Naturally: Alternatives to Egg Freezing

  

To Freeze or Not To Freeze?

  

 With all the buzz about tech companies paying to freeze eggs for career-focused women that want to ‘wait,’ there are a lot of women that are upset, and a lot of women that are happy. Really, I believe women should have a CHOICE about when to have a child. And, they deserve not to be judged if they shall choose to wait till later in life to have a child.

Before I go into this more, I want to say that there are some serious cases in which egg freezing is a helpful technological innovation. If a woman is about to undergo chemotherapy, or is coming from a lineage in which all the women go into early menopause, I would say egg freezing is a grateful option.

But if your amazing company like Facebook or Google isn’t paying for it, egg freezing will cost about $10K for the initial harvesting of eggs, and another $1k every year you want to keep them frozen!
And, honestly, there is a fair bit of data suggesting that these frozen eggs are just as good as in the body.
  
  

The Cost of Egg Freezing

  

 The little-talked-about underbelly of choosing this route, however, is that the only way to use these eggs that you have frozen is to do in-vitro fertilization. So, are you ready for another investment of $15K?
Financial costs aside, the cost to your body for egg freezing is yet to be determined.
Mostly, there are no serious immediate repercussions, but the long-term studies are lacking.
We do know, though, that during this process, your body will be exposed to lots of exogenous hormones which are meant to unnaturally stimulate the production, maturation, and release of multiple egg follicles in one cycle so that they can be harvested. Is this worthwhile? Or is there another less invasive option?
 love your uterus
    

Natural Alternatives to Egg Freezing

  

I believe that the natural approaches that help to preserve fertility are actually the same things that will help you keep looking young and gorgeous, and keep you healthy for many many years to come.

  

These are my top 5 suggestions:

  

1) Detoxify your body, with a fertility focused cleanse if possible – at least twice a year. I recommend in the Spring and Fall which follow the normal rhythms and patterns of the universe.
2) Stay away from plastics. The xenoestrogens that go into the body affect your hormones significantly. They are found in water bottles, aluminum cans, and plastic bags. Also BPA – shown to affect fertility – is highest in cash register receipts! So, avoid those things, at the very least.
3) Avoid GMOs like the plague. Though the research is lacking (because it’s actually unethical to conduct such studies), seeds that are modified to self-terminate are likely to have a similar effect on your reproduction.
4) Avoid smoking and alcohol. There’s plenty of research that suggests that both of these decrease fertility – in men and women.
5) Hydrate. This may sound simple but we really need enough water to keep balance and rhythm in the body. Dehydration, like starvation, is a major stressor for the body, and as we all well know, stress decreases fertility.

    

These are great tips for anyone wanting to improve their fertility naturally. But in order to take a look at your specific case, a consultation with me would really be needed.

  

If you are experiencing concerns or stress about your fertility now or later, I invite you to sign up for a complimentary Fertility Discovery Session with me where we can go deeper into looking at your unique health and fertility matrix.

  

  

And if this article is interesting to you, share with your female friends who are also interested in preserving their fertility, or couples you know who may be trying to conceive!