Your 12 month conception plan

Missed out on the first articles in this fertility series? Catch up now -  What Might be Affecting Your Fertility? and The Role of Diet on Fertility

12 months before conception

Detox

Nutritionist Kaayla T. Daniel warns parents that if they are toxic, their babies will be toxic. Asthma attention deficient disorder, behavioral problems, crankiness, and excessive crying characterize the offspring of toxic parents.  Even though the biological clock may be ticking it is wise for woman who have struggled with infertility to take the extra time to detoxify before allowing themselves to become pregnant.  Detoxify at least six months before conception, but a year is better.

Toxins can be found in the air we breath, the water we drink and bathe in, the clothes we wear, the bed we sleep in, the carpet we walk on, the medication we ingest, the food we eat, the electronics we are obsessed with… I think you get the idea.  We live in a toxic environment.  At their most basic level toxins are endocrine disrupters that throw the hormones out of whack, which makes it difficult for women to get pregnant.  Xenohormones need special attention, as they are substances found in the environment that mimics estrogen in the body. These xenohormones can lead to an increase in reproductive site cancers, decreased fertility, increased PMS challenges in women and create estrogen dominance. (9 p 27, 40)

Researcher Frederica Perera studies the affects of pollution on populations. She started her research with what she thought was a pristine sample of newborn baby’s, umbilical cord blood. She was shocked to discover that this beautifully flawless umbilical cord, full of life for a developing baby, was tainted with pollutants.  She conducted a study where 500 pregnant women walked the streets of upper Manhattan and South Bronx with identical black backpacks that tracked their pollution exposure, called PAHs found in car exhaust, cigarettes and factory smokestacks. These PAHs are linked to an increased cancer risk as well as cognitive delays in children.  They wore the packs for two days straight, everywhere they went they carried them around.  Findings showed a 100% exposure to the PAHs pollution.  The core blood of the babies once born showed that 40% had a change in DNA damage from the PAHs. (4) 

So how do we deal with these toxins? Start by reducing the toxins that you can control. Click here for a handy list of non-toxin upgrade ideas (add link to chart). If it seems overwhelming start with baby steps and upgrade your daily life where you can, when you can.  For the things you can’t control nature gives us a little extra help. Antioxidant and Sulfur rich foods like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and dark leafy greens naturally support liver detoxification. Here is a list of powerful natural detoxifiers.

Activated charcoal is a natural detoxifier that adsorbs toxins.  This powerful compound actively seeks out and captures something; rather then just absorb toxins or passively soaks something up. It can adsorb many times its own weight in toxins. 

Bentonite clay also attracts and adsorbs positively charged toxins and acts as a sponge adsorbing others.  It adsorbs heavy metals, some mycotoxins, pesticides, and herbicides.

Chlorella is another powerful scavenger. It is an algae that repairs nerve tissue and helps prevent cancer.  It enables probiotics to grow, promoting intestinal balance and reducing endotoxins and aids in detoxifying the body from pesticides and herbicide’s.  It is a good idea to take chlorella after eating something toxic or to prevent heavy metal contamination like with high mercury seafood.  I know some people who put small does of chlorella in their distilled water to drink throughout the day. 

Cilantro cleanses the brain and is a heavy metal chelator.

Milk thistle, glutathione (our master antioxidant) whey protein, which naturally increases glutathione, n-acetyl cysteine, vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid all support the three phases of detoxification in the liver. 

Doing a 14 or 21 day cleanse can be very beneficial to your fertility.  Start your first cleanse one year before conception then if you desire again at 9 months.  Do not start a cleanse any later then 3 months before conception.  I would recommend you start with the fertility diet then add in the supplements listed above.  It would be wise to work with a qualified practitioner as you cleanse.  As you detoxify your body can have many reactions and it is helpful to have assistance in working through them. 

12-6 Months before conception

Help heal the body

If you are dealing with PCOS, inflammation of any kind, Celiac Disease or any other condition or health crisis it is important to heal your body and in my opinion that starts with the gut.  Aside from eating a fertility diet you will need to support the delicate eco system of your gut.  Healthy bacteria called probiotics line the gut and protect the delicate villi that absorb nutrients from harm. They keep pathogens such as yeast and E. coli from becoming over populated.  They boost immunity, bowel motility and are super important to pregnancy.  These little guys will help start the healthy eco system inside your baby.  You can get probiotics from fermented foods and cultured products like kefir, sauerkraut and yogurt.  Or you can take a probiotic supplement. 
Removing toxins from your diet and environment will help with inflammation and irritation of the gut.  Following the detox protocol mentioned above will help to remove harmful pathogens and irritant.
Glutamine is a food source for the villi of the gut and can be found in meat from grass-fed animals or in supplement form. This food will increase the integrity of the gut building a first line of defense against pathogens and other diseases. 

The last component to healing the body is the fertility diet.  A low toxin, low inflammatory, high nutrient dense diet will provide the necessary nutrients needed to help heal, restore and protect the gut. 

3 years to 3 months before conception

Your Fertility Diet

The nutrients vital to a developing fetus should be plentiful in the body well before conception.  If you have been following a primal/traditional diet for the past several years start your high nutrient dense fertility diet 3-6 months before conception.  If on the other hand you have been following a Standard American Diet, are a vegetarian or vegan diet you should start your fertility diet 1-3 years before conception.  Traditionally the foods consumed before conception included the most nutrient dense foods we know of.  Organ meats, pasture-raised eggs especially the yolks, pasture raised meats, organic raw diary and any kind of healthy fat was eaten in plenty.  It did not contain packaged foods, refined sugars, processed oils, industrial meats and chemically sprayed fruits and vegetables.  There are specific nutrients needed for fertility and these nutrient dense foods should be eaten in abundance so you can start filling your nutrient stores up.  Consuming these nutrients from foods instead of from supplements is not only more safe, but also more bioavailable to the body.  Here is a list of nutrients needed for fertility and for a healthy pregnancy.

Vitamin B6 Balances estrogen and progesterone.  It has been shown to improve fertility by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine, which affect the production of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.  It is heat sensitive so it diminishes with cooking.

Sources: Raw Meat, Raw Grass-Fed Dairy, Eggs, Liver and Bananas.

Folate is necessary for conception to even take place. It is also necessary to prevent spina bifidia in babies. 

Sources: Liver, Fish Eggs, Egg Yolk, Leafy Greens, Chicken and Nuts.  Chicken liver is one of the highest sources.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be related to a change in menstrual regulations, which can lead to infertility.  This nutrient can be obtained in pretty much every animal product, however it is not easily absorbed in those with gut issues.

Sources: Liver, Shellfish, Fish Eggs, Meat and Eggs.

Vitamin A deficiencies have been linked to infertility by affecting estrogen and progesterone levels.  It also helps create a sperm-nourishing cervical fluid.  In its true form Vitamin A can only be obtained from animal products.  The vitamin A or beta-carotene found in vegetables must be consumed with fats in order for the liver to make enough bile slats to absorb it. 

Sources: Cod liver oil, Liver, Egg Yolks, Butter and Fish Eggs.

Vitamin D deficiencies may lead to a decrease in reproductive function. Vitamin D plays a role in the maturation and growth of the egg follicle. It is needed to make sex hormones and it acts with estrogen to prepare a sufficient lining for the uterus.

Sources: Cod Liver Oil, Fish, Eggs, Egg Yolks, Lard, Butter, Wild Salmon and Sunlight.

Iron is needed for red blood cell count, which increases by 30% during pregnancy.  It is not well absorbed without Vitamin C.  Careful of supplementation, too much or too little can cause harm.  Choose food sources instead.
Sources: Red Meat and Organ Meats

Iodine plays a key role in thyroid function, which regulates metabolism.  Hypothyroidism during pregnancy can lead to cretinism in children, a congenital disease that can result in mental and physical retardation.  The world health organization names iodine deficiency as the leading cause of brain damage in the world today.  Iodine is important to prevent miscarriage and unexplained fertility.  We only need iodine in small amounts, but the lack of iodine in our diet can cause serious issues.

Sources: Fish Eggs, Seafood, Wild Fish, Seaweed and Butter.

Vitamin K2 is needed for bone growth and fertility.

Sources: Cheese, Poultry, Liver, Meat Fats and Eggs.

Zinc is required for the production of sex hormones and eggs and is needed to absorb folate. 

Sources: Oysters, Red Meat, Liver and Fish Eggs.

Vitamin C is important in the production of sex hormones and improves fertility in those with defects in the luteal phase.  Vitamin C is needed for collagen synthesis, which is a big part of our blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bones.  It helps ward off intruders like viruses, toxins or dangerous drugs, promotes healing after infection, injury or surgery and helps with the absorption of iron.

Sources: Citrus Fruits, Strawberries, Brightly Colored Veggies and Fruits or Take a supplement of at least 500 mg of vitamin C that is combined with bioflavonoids. 

Vitamin E has been shown to improve ovulation, menstrual regulations and help prevent miscarriages.  Consume foods high in vitamin E since supplements only contain a few forms of the vitamin.

Sources: Olive oil, Avocado, Green Leafy Vegetables and Raw Almonds. 

Essential Fatty acids are important for cell function, which directly affects hormones.

Sources: Cod Liver Oil, Wild fish, Eggs, Egg Yolks and Liver

Probiotics are needed to build a healthy immune system, improve gut integrity, help regulate pathogen overgrowth and help maintain a healthy weight.

Sources: Fermented Foods or Probiotic Supplements.

Healthy Fats are critical to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2.  If we don’t have fat in the diet we will never get enough of these nutrients no matter how much we eat.  

Confused on how to get started?  Contact me for an initial consult, let's get you on the fertility train.  

 

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