Something about the birds and the bees of Spring may have you thinking of the future. If you're planning a family, fertility
has probably crossed your mind. There's a lot that can factor into the health of reproducing and we have five herbs that to may help support healthy male and female fertility.
If you're thinking of becoming pregnant or may be pregnant, talking to your doctor or a professional healthcare practitioner is the most important step to take. They can personalize your program with in-depth medical advice.
Some of the Leading Infertility Causes
There could be a number of reasons getting pregnant may be harder than expected. For women, those reasons could include:
Age - fertility drops after age 35 in women. It's still possible but may be harder. Ovulation Problems - irregular menstrual cycle, extremely heavy or light periods or a cycle that lasts too long (over 35 days) or too short (under 28 days) are all signs of lower fertility or other problems. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.Physical Conditions - smoking, being over- or underweight and daily stress can have a physical toll on fertility. It's important to take care of your body when preparing for pregnancy.Diet and Exercise - like the reason above, your diet and fitness program could also affect your fertility. Eating correctly by incorporating healthy fats, protein and vitamins into your meals as well as staying active will increase your pregnancy chances.
It's easy to think the problem lies only with the woman but male infertility is just as likely to hold up a pregnancy. Some of the conditions affecting men are:
Low Sperm Count - you can ask your doctor about sperm count and quality. Prostate Conditions - inflammation and a history of bacterial infections could be blocking certain tubes, keeping sperm from reaching where it needs to go. Lifestyle - just like in women, physical conditions like weight, smoking and diet can poorly affect a man's fertility.
There are many other factors for fertility, like medical conditions, genetic past, hormone balance and more. The medical community is still trying to figure out all the reasons behind infertility and what causes it.
Herbal Fertility and Five Great Herbs to Consider
While many studies on these herbs aren't conclusive and new knowledge is slow to come, these five remedies have a history of use for fertility
. Ask your doctor about adding them to your supplement routine.
Dong Quai - Helps support circulation in the uterus for proper blood formation. It's also iron-rich and contains compounds that may open blood vessels. Dong Quai may also stimulate and relax uterus muscles and may act as a hormone regulator. Many nutritional supplements designed for male infertility contain this ingredient. Damiana - Creates a number of different chemical reactions in the body that may have a testosterone effect in both men and women. It may also help to energizes the reproductive system and may balance hormones for more stable fertility in both sexes. Damiana has also been used to help promote and support healthy eggs and libido. It's great in pill or tea form. Eleuthero, aka Siberian Ginseng - Has been used to support a healthy immune response to infections. It also encourages hormone balance in both men and women. It's has been used to normalize appetite, sleep and stress patterns, which can all affect your fertility. Chasteberry, aka Vitex - Has been used as an inhibitor for the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and boosts progesterone production. Chasteberry has also been used to support breast health for increased milk production after pregnancy. It's mostly used to help normalize ovulation for stability and predictability. Maca - Has been used and added to nutritional supplements with that thought that Maca may increase sperm count in men and provides iron for women. It is also thought to boosts immune system response and provides essential vitamins and minerals important for health before conception. This may also help increase female and male fertility.
Herbs to Avoid
Of course, pregnancy, health and herbs are complicated. You should always speak to your doctor before using any supplement and if you're trying to get pregnant, you may have to cut out some of the supplements you already use.
Ginkgo biloba - popular for memory, cognitive treatments, eye and blood health
These three herbs "made eggs impossible or difficult to fertilize, changed the genetic material in sperm, and reduced a sperm's viability" according to Loma Linda University School of Medicine research
on hamster eggs and human sperm. If they're an everyday part of your supplement routine, it's important to talk to your doctor about replacing them or cutting them out for a better chance at pregnancy.
About The AuthorDr. Matt Marturano, ND is a licensed naturopathic physician and received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and also has a dual Bachelor of Science in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Michigan. In addition, Dr. Marturano currently is a member of the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians and is the Director of Recruitment - Integrative Medicine for Orchid Holistic Search.
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