I am a nerd. I love spending my lunch breaks listening to webinars, especially ones on women’s health. DiagnosTechs is a laboratory company that puts on monthly seminars about various health issues. I was so excited to see that they focused on female fertility for the month of June.
I wanted to share with you some of the information presented in the webinar put on by Dr. Brandy Webb, ND and DiagnosTechs. I hope you enjoy!
1. One of the first things she said really resonated with me. We always talk about fertility problems by using the word INFERTILITY. That word is so harsh sounding and very pessimistic. Instead, let’s use the word SUBOPTIMAL fertility, shall we?
2. Common causes of suboptimal infertility: PCOS, anovulation, estrogen dominance, luteal phase deficit, premature ovarian failure, reduced ovarian reserve (advanced maternal age), and endometriosis
3. Additional causes: Hypothyroidism, nutrient deficiencies, structural abnormalities, scarring, toxic exposures, inflammation, poor quality cervical fluid, pelvic inflammatory disease, idiopathic infertility
4. Fertility Assessments:
*eFHP (Expanded Female Hormone Panel) = a test by DiagnosTechs that is much more comprehensive than a standard blood panel. It consists of 11 saliva specimens collected during specified time periods throughout the menstrual cycle, not just one point like a blood test. I am happy to run this for my clients.
-This panel can check for ovulation, PCOS, luteal phase deficits, estrogen dominance, hypofunctioning hypothalamic-pituitary, ovarian insufficiency, and adrenal dysfunction
-One fun point that she talked about was understanding if the fertility issue stemmed from a brain or an ovary problem. If the brain isn’t sending and receiving the right signals, you typically see a low FSH/LH level with low estrogen and progesterone. If it is an ovarian insufficiency problem, you see low estrogen and progesterone with high FSH/LH.
*ASI (Adrenal Stress Index) = checks stress levels to see if they could be a factor. I am happy to run this for my clients.
*Other tests to consider:
- CBC/ferritin/cholesterol – to check for anemia and hypocholesterolemia
- Thyroid panel/prolactin – to check for hypothyroidism, hyperprolactinemia
- Fasting glucose/HgA1c- to check for dysglycemia, insulin resistance
- Vitamin D- to check for deficiency
- STI testing (urine) – to check for gonorrhea/chlamydia
- 17OHP – only if high DHEA and low cortisol
- Food sensitivity testing
- Ultrasounds – check for PCOS, structural abnormalities, follicle count
- Heavy metal testing – elevated toxic burden
- AMH, Inhibin B – assess astral follicle growth
5. What are the conventional drug therapies?
- Oral contraceptives – to normalize hormone levels
- Metformin- to correct insulin resistance
- Spironolactone – to lower androgens in PCOS
- Progesterone and derivatives – to correct deficiency
- Drugs to induce ovulation
Alternative and Natural Options for Fertility. These are spot on with what I recommend.
6. What is the role of natural approaches?
- Optimize sex hormone levels
- Minimize toxic burden
- Balance blood sugar
- Promote proper adrenal function
- Reduce inflammation
7. Basic lifestyle recommendations
- Healthful diet – minimize intake of high glycemic foods, opt for organic when possible, consume lots of fruits, vegetables, quality proteins and healthy fats
- Exercise – not too much, not too little
- Optimize weight (lose OR gain)
- Prioritize quality sleep
- Manage stress
- Reduce exposure to chemicals/toxins
8. To lower estrogen: DIM, I3C, calcium-D-glucurate, dietary fiber, liver support, and phytoestrogens such as deglycerized licorice, red clover, black cohosh
9. To reduce androgens: White peony, deglycerized licorice, dietary fiber, liver support
10. To support progesterone: Vitex, wild yam, sarsaparilla, vitamin B6, bioidentical progesterone, adrenal support
This tip was new and super interesting to me…..
11. Biphasic seed rotation: For hormone balance and to restore cycle
-Follicular phase: 1 T. equal parts ground flax and pumpkin seeds
Also consider adding: black cohosh, alfalfa, dong quay, red clover
-Luteal phase: 1 T. equal parts ground sesame and sunflower seeds
Also consider adding: fenugreek, sarsaparilla, wild yam
12. To minimize toxic burden:
- Use liver support herbs- milk thistle, dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, artichoke
- Bump up dietary fiber from fruits/vegetables
- Opt for organic/hormone free foods – use the dirty dozen list from www.ewg.org
- Trim fat from conventionally raised meats
- Switch to natural cleaners and hygiene products. I love the Citrus Blend essential oil for cleaning and 100% pure for body care.
13. Balance blood sugar:
- Aim for meals that are balanced and include protein and healthy fats
- Supplements such as chromium, cinnamon, biotin, B3, B6, zinc, and fish oil can help
14. Promote proper adrenal function:
- Lifestyle modifications – yoga, schedule writing, meditation, ladies night, biofeedback
- Minimize internal stressors – food sensitivities, environmental allergies, chronic/recurrent infections
- Phosphorylated serine
- Biotin, B vitamins, Vitamin C
- Adaptogenic herbs
15. Reduce inflammation:
- Food sensitivity testing/allergy elimination diet
- Environmental allergy testing and avoidance
- Comprehensive GI testing to identify chronic intestinal infection & inflammation
- Anti-inflammatories: fish oil, bromelain, curcumin
- Anti-allergic herbs: quercetin, nettles, vitamin C, bioflavonoids
- Antimicrobials and demulcents for GI issues
Again, this blog is not meant to diagnose or treat. I’d love to talk to you about these concerns and help you figure out what factors may be playing a role for you! I hope this information helps you consider missing pieces that your conventional doctor may have missed!
Photo credit:By Klaus Hoffmeier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons