In this article we’ll look at natural ways to increase fertility and specifically one crucial ingredient to optimal fertility – essential fatty acids. Imagine building a house without some of the essential materials. Well it simply wouldn’t work, it would be leaky, drafty, insufficiently insulated, and would probably collapse during the first storm.
Our cells are no different to a house. They all have a blueprint (DNA) and are meant to be constructed according to the plan. However when the body makes a request for a particular nutrient to complete the cell construction, it gets a message that the reserves are empty or being held only for the key organs, needed to keep you alive.
One group of those essential nutrients, when we speak about the natural ways to increase fertility are the Essential Fatty Acids: Essential because our body cant make them, so we need to get them from food. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are necessary for;
– Normal brain and nervous system function
– Visual acuity and cognition
– Hormone and prostaglandin regulation
– Healthy placental growth
– Brain and liver development in the foetus
The central nervous system starts to develop 21 days after conception; because of this it is essential that the mother’s reserves are optimal before conception.
EFA’s are also very important for;
– The health of breasts and mammary glands
– Growth of the uterus in the mother
EFAs can protect against SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and post natal depression and have been found to be effective in the treatment of endometriosis, heavy periods, cramping and mild depression. Deficiency has been linked to male infertility and can lead to congenital malformations and spontaneous abortions.
Omega 3 and 6 are known as EFA’s. Omega 6 is readily available in food (nuts and seeds and vegetable oils) but Omega 3 is harder to come by and the need for Omega 3 increases during pregnancy and lactation.
Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), are the building blocks of membranes of all cells in the body, and precursors of eciosanoids, hormones important in the prevention and treatment of many diseases, especially in women.
For example period cramps a.k.a. dysmenorrhea, stem from disturbed balance between anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory hormones. By increasing the intake of omega 3 fatty acids your period cramps can vanish.
I speak here from first hand experience. As a teenager, I couldn’t leave the house without a Ponstan (a painkiller) on the first day of my period. When I learned at college about omega 3’s I started taking the supplement every day and within 2 cycles I never had to use Ponstan again, my cramps were gone.
Studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids;
– Facilitate pregnancy in women with infertility problems by increasing uterine blood flow.
– Promote fetal growth by improving placental blood flow.
– Lower the risk of premature birth, by increasing the length of pregnancy and birth weight.
– Facilitate the child’s brain development.
– Prevent preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy).
– Prevent postpartum depression.
– Prevent menopausal problems.
– Prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis.
– Prevent breast cancer.
– Lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). This is especially
important for women receiving hormone therapy, which can increase bad cholesterol.
When buying Omega 3 Fish oils, you need to make sure the product;
1. Contains antioxidants to prevent the oil from oxidizing and going rancid
(a.k.a. lipid peroxidation).
2. Has been tested for mercury, dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PBCs), and
meets the established safety limits.
Fish that live a long time (e.g. swordfish, shark & tuna) have a longer time to accumulate environmental toxins. Try to make sure your fish oil comes from wild sardines or wild salmon.
What we all need to be mindful of, is, the ever increasing demand for the ocean fish reserves. Studies have shown, worldwide, the demand for wild fish is now greater than the ocean can supply and projections suggest complete reliance on aquaculture (farmed fish) by 2050.
A solution to this problem is oil from Krill, an abundant zooplankton found in the Antarctic waters. Krill is eaten by whales and other fish. It possesses a fatty acid profile comparable with fish oils. It is a more sustainable solution comparable to fish oils.
How much do you need?
The recommended therapeutic dose of Omega 3 (RTD) is 1000mg three times per day, with food. Never have them on an empty stomach, as they wont absorb properly.
How do you store it?
In the fridge.
If you get fishy burps, you can put it in the freezer and have the capsules frozen, this way they will thaw out in your small intestines instead of your stomach.
Deep sea fish, wild salmon, red snapper, wild trout, herring, halibut, sardines, walnuts, almonds, nuts, seeds, flaxseed oil (only 20% gets converted into the active form), grass fed meat, hemp seed oil.
What do you think about the natural ways to increase fertility? Are you taking any supplements to help you boost your fertility? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
1. Arthur, R.Omega-3 Sources. The Journal of Complementary Medicine, May/June 2009 Vol 8 No 3.
2. Saldeen P, Saldeen T. Women and omega-3 Fatty acids. Obstet Gynecol Surv.2004 Oct;59(10):722-30; quiz 745-6.
3. Keene, I. 2008. Natural Fertility Prescription, Australian Natural Therapeutics, Switzerland.
Iva Keene is co-founder, creator and award-winning author of the NFP Program and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Health Science in Naturopathy and a Master Degree in Reproductive Medicine. She has been a qualified and internationally accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 15 years. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva’s articles, videos, guides, and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols, and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments, and integrative reproductive health.