Did 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.
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:
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!
Iva Keene MRMed. ND. is an internationally recognized Natural Fertility specialist and 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.