Improve Egg Quality: Is What You Are Eating Making Your Eggs Old?

old eggs - how to improve egg qualityDid you ever stop and think that what you are eating may be aging you faster and consequently lead to poor quality eggs and the diagnosis of “old eggs”? I’ve received so many emails in the last few months from distraught women who want to improve egg quality. They’ve been told their eggs are too old for conception. While some of these women are in their 40’s quite a few are still in their mid to late 30’s. And yet, in spite of the chronological age and poor prognostic outlook many of these women go on to improve egg quality, conceive with their own eggs and give birth to healthy babies. Those who do often made some changes to their diet and lifestyles. They followed them religiously for a minimum of a year.

One particular substance has been on the research radar for a good decade. It’s been linked to tooth decay, acne, diabetes, weight gain, poor immunity, ADD (attention deficit disorder), hyperactivity and aggression, cancer proliferation and now aging! You may have guessed what I’m talking about – SUGAR.

Sugar causes you to age and lowers your egg quality

What is glycation and what’s it got to do with your cells? From diabetic research we have learned that when you consume sugar (glucose) – there is a chemical reaction that takes place between sugar molecules and your fat and protein molecules. As this reaction is not controlled by the enzymes and does not take place in designated areas of the cell where the sugar molecule can be put to good use – but it happens all over the cell, this cell is no longer able to function properly. This leads to poor intake of oxygen, water and nutrients and lowered ability to expel toxic substances and free radicals. Consequently this can lead to DNA damage and death of the cell.

This process is called glycation and like anything in the body it too creates so called ‘end products’. The end products of glycation are called Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) and their effect on the tissue is making protein fibers stiff and malformed. So not only do your cells become stiff and start to malfunction but these end products also act as free radicals speeding up the the aging process.

This takes place wherever you have protein and fat cells. Hello eggs!

A study published in Human Reproduction in 2011 linked the formation of AGEs to DNA damage in the eggs, lower fertilization rates, poor follicular and embryonic development and lower pregnancy rates IRRESPECTIVE of age! Which offers one explanation why many of my clients are diagnosed with “old eggs” even in their 30s! This negative effect on the egg quality and age is especially pronounced in women with PCOS and diabetes.

Eggs need to be plump, with soft zona pellucida (so that sperm can easily penetrate it). Hardening of the zona pellucida (the outer shell of the egg) gives the eggs a shriveled and old appearance and makes it very difficult for the sperm to penetrate it. This is when your RE will recommend ICSI or stay away from your eggs in the first place due to high risk of chromosomal damage and poor egg division due to the DNA damage.

Infographic: Addressing Poor Egg Health

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But don’t despair! There is an all natural solution to use to improve egg quality

The good news is, old glycated collagen (which causes wrinkles and shriveled hard eggs) will eventually be eliminated. It will be recycled and reused for new collagen formation. But this time you need to make sure you are not bombarding your cells with S-u-g-a-r!

Sugar comes in may shapes and forms and is virtually unavoidable. Vegetables, fruit and whole grains all contain sugar. But there is good and bad sugar: Hi GI and Low GI variety.

You need to stay clear of the Hi GI variety, especially:

  • High-fructose corn syrup – increases the rate of glycation by 10 times!
  • White sugar
  • Simple carbs (white bread, white rice, white pasta)

And if you want to turn back the clock, improve egg quality, and speed up the recycling of the collagen fibers your new best friend is – Green tea!

Green tea stimulates collagen synthesis and interferes with glycation and formation of AGEs! Make sure you drink the organic variety as pesticides are villains worthy of a whole article to themselves.

The take home point: read the labels, avoid refined carbs, drink organic green tea and give your RE a surprise when your eggs ‘miraculously’ become younger again after at least four months on this all natural treatment.

Bye-bye sugar and old eggs and welcome healthy fertilizable eggs! But be mindful that sugar is not the sole contributor to old eggs: alcohol, coffee, EM radiation, chemicals, stress etc, also play a role, so while it’s good to be mindful of AGEs it’s vital to follow the full egg rejuvenation program.

What are your thoughts on old eggs? Do you think it’s possible to turn back the time and improve egg quality? Would love to hear from you!

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About the Author Iva Keene MRMed. ND.

Iva Keene MRMed. ND. is an internationally recognized Natural Fertility specialist and accredited Naturopathic Physician who has helped thousands of couples with fertility problems through her published information and personalized coaching programs. Her Free Fertility Coaching mini-course uses her research and clinical experience to help you be more empowered, more fertile and have a healthier baby.

  • Monique

    I’m 41, I have a 20 year old and now that I’m remarried (2.5 years ago) we have been trying to have a child together. I have had no problem getting pregnant naturally & with OI cycles, I just keep having miscarriages around week 9. I’ve had every test done at a fertility clinic and the only thing they’ve found is that my progesterone levels are a little low but they’ve corrected that with prometrium so my levels are just fine now. They have tried testing the ’tissue’ after a D&E but it’s been un-testable apparently. I have been through many OI cycles and even a full IVF cycle with PGD testing done. Only 2 of the 7 embryos were testable and they both were abnormal and non of the embryos made it to the implantation stage. My concern is that if I follow your prescription, it’ll repair my eggs just enough to get to the point where I won’t miscarry but not enough to prevent from having a child with disabilities. Maybe my body is miscarrying because it’s naturally preventing me from having a child with disabilities. I don’t know what to do anymore, I don’t know that I can handle another miscarriage and I know that I cannot handle a child with disabilities. I know that’s selfish but that is how I feel.

    • Hi Monique,

      Thanks for your message.
      First of all the ‘abnormality’ comes from
      free radicals damaging the DNA of the egg AND sperm.
      So by correcting the issues which are negatively impacting
      egg and sperm health you will be sparing the DNA from
      damage unless there is a genetic condition
      present in your partner’s genes which is hereditary, or you
      both are carriers of a recessive genetic condition.
      Therefore I suggest, if you still wish to keep trying,
      do the program, use the consultation service and get the supplements
      which are of therapeutic potency i.e. stronger than anything OTC and follow
      the program for 120 days. Then book for another IVF and PGD to be sure
      that the embryos transferred are all healthy.

      Also get yourselves karyotyped to make sure you are
      not carries of a hereditary genetic condition, if this
      can be excluded then all the work is on minimizing
      the egg and sperm damage from free radical exposure once
      that’s been identified for the both of you and boosting
      your egg and sperm health with diet, lifestyle cages and
      supplements. I would love to help you. All the best, Iva

  • By

    Iva Ilove your articles. I am going to start implementing some of your nutritional suggestions. Goodness knows I’m guilty of most of them.
    I I am a 46 year old woman trying to conceive. I have been told by a fertility specialist that my eggs are too old and that donor eggs would be my best chance to conceive. I am so reluctant to go that route and have felt this way for about a year now. I already have a 5 1/2 year old and was told that I could never have her because my eggs were to old and that Lord sent her to us naturally when I was 40 yrs old. How wonderful is he? 🙂 I would love to conceive again naturally or at least use my own eggs.
    My questions are do you think you can help me and what do you think of the stevia sweetner to add into some of my foods so as to avoid sugar? Stevia is natural from a stevia plant.

    Thanks, BB

  • Tray

    Hi Iva, I know you say to basically follow a “eat clean” diet for TTC. And you do suggest herbal teas; no black tea and no green tea. But the above article, you state it is OK to drink green tea because it helps. What should we do? Drink green tea or avoid it? ; )) I love reading all your tips! They are all so very interesting.

    Thank you!

    • Thanks Tray, yes organic green tea is fine to drink!

  • Veronica

    Hi Iva,
    I have read that matcha green tea and white tea have more antioxidants (but also more caffeine). What are your thoughts?
    As for sweetener, what are your thoughts about honey and agave nectar?
    I am 40, have been diagnosed with poor egg quality at the time of my IVF – 4 years ago. My eggs have inclusion bodies so they are misshaped, fragmented and do not divide well. I also have high intolerance to sugar (dizziness, weakness) so I try to avoid it but it is hidden in many foods.
    Thanks and Regards,

    • Organic green tea and organic white tea are fine to drink. Honey and agave are better than sugar but if you have sugar intolerance Stevia would be better for you. Also chromium to help regulate your blood sugar. All the best, Iva

  • hajera

    I have a 3 year old, concieved at age 39 naturally. After a miscarriage 2 years ago, nothing since.

    I am 43, BMI 27, fat around the mid stomach. Have IBS after evening meal i feel bloated. I do not have any sugar in my diet, have a cup of tea with honey every morning. I tend to have all home cooked food, though mainly rice (white basmati) and a mixture of chicken, lamb meat (ocassionally), fish (sea bass, mackerel, prawns) and vegetables, lentils.
    I have started walking for one hour a day, not done much good so far, its only been for one week though. Medically my FSH is very low (could be stress related, as pituatory gland was fine), my testerone and eastrogen level was imbalance. What advice would you have for me to improve my fertility?
    Thank you and regards.

    • Hi Hajera, Thanks for your comment on this post and some other posts. In your case I suggest that you book a phone consultation with me so that I may tailor the NFP program to your needs as well as give you prescription for practitioner grade supplements. Thanks, Iva.

  • masdalila

    it’s nice to read your article.i am eager to get pregnant but i have a problem with my menstruation cycle.i have irregular cycle. now i am 43 years old woman. is it possible for us to conceive?

  • trish

    I s green tea recommended by you to drink throughout all stages of pregnancy ?

  • Michelle Lacey

    Hello Iva. We’ve been following your NFP in preparation for a 2nd ICSI (having miscarried at the end of January this year at almost 12 weeks following our first attempt, achieving our first ever pregnancy). I’m now 43.

    Really enjoying it thanks, although I struggled with the detox particularly as I can’t eat garlic or onion (additional meal suggestions within the detox section would be very useful).

    One question – I’ve switched my usually cups of tea for organic redbush: do I also need to drink a cup of green tea each day or is redbush a suitable alternative?

    Thanks for all your tips!

  • Geraldine

    I’m new here. TTC more than 5 yrs. Had failed IUI and 2 failed IVFs recently. AM really devastated. 1st IVF (long protocol) only 2 eggs retrieved but 1 fertilized and stopped the 2nd day. 2nd IVF (short modified cycle) retrieved 8 eggs but only 6 matured but only 1 formed 2 pronucleii (2nd day) but not cleaved (that’s what the embryologist told me). All my 8 eggs has dark cytoplasm (quite bad right?) she said they were all unhealthy don’t know whether due to bad chemistry from sperm & egg-my blood type B & dh A (missing genetic chromosomes-most likely mine), my diet or lifestyle? But I’ve been eating healthily for the past few months with lots of vege and fruits everyday and totally no sugar at all. Also been taking supplements like fish oil, multi-v, dhea, spirulina, wheatgrass, chlorella, royal jelly paste & probiotic but still no help. She also said something about not enough energy(something mitochondria) to split and still no result after 24 hrs. I asked the doc whether due to auto-immune he said no (but no test was done on my immunity or thyroid at all!). I was advised to consider donor eggs but I’m not convinced and wish to try my own again if there’r still hope. I’ve very low AMH (only 0.9) but normal FSH (5.1) and Estradiol (151). Is there still hope for me if I try again? I understand from my elder sis that my mum tried to abort me but not successful. So I don’t know whether this actually affected my infertility (whenever I think of this I cried a lot and ask myself why was this happening to me). Should I stop trying? or God will show miracles…..

  • I have found that women who are excessively dry, with dry skin, vaginal dryness, and constipation for example might have trouble with green tea. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, green tea is considered to be a ‘downward draining” herb. This means that it will cause people to urinate more and woman can lose a lot of valuable fluids this way.

    It is also a ‘warm” herb so if women are peri-menopausal or have high FSH with symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety and insomnia, especially in the luteal phase, would be well advised to stay away from green tea as it can make these symptoms worse.

  • Kermite

    Hi there,

    I just discovered you site via Dr Mercola’s website. I live in France and english is a foreign langage for me. Would you by ny chance have a french version of your book ?
    I’m 46 year old, trying to conceive for a while, eating low carb, nearly no sugar, high BMI, no trans fat, what is the first the thing I should do according to you ?
    Thanks in advance

  • Honey Bee

    I have some issues and i lost my one ovary and both the fallopian tubes and the only way for me to get pregnant now is with IVF. I am 38 years old, i have had failed IVFs due to unknown reasns my AMH is 1.6 and FSH is low my partner is fine too. What should i do to get success in IVF?

    • You can follow our IVF preparation program and you can schedule a phone consultation with me.

      I look forward to hearing from you.

      Warm regards,

  • H

    I had my first child naturally at the first attempt at age 42. Had a miscarriage 4 years later. Want a natural pregnancy but FSH is getting high and periods becoming irregular but just had one 2 weeks ago. Not very hopeful and will take blood test to see how egg quality is but what foods should we embrace I make fruit smoothies for my family. Are fruit smoothies ok or is that too much sugar? What about meats? What vitamins and dosages should we take? There is just so much information and I just need simple facts. Please help with nutrition and vitamin recommendations.

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