It may be common knowledge that women are born with all of the egg cells they will ever have, but what some may not realize is that how women treat their bodies can impact the quality of their eggs over time. As such, there are measures one can take to protect the quality of their eggs, and thereby increase their chances of conceiving. Below is a list of fertility factors one may want to consider when wishing to protect their egg quality.
This fertility factor comes first and foremost, as stress has a way of creating dis-ease in the body, leading to the manifestation of physical, and sometimes chronic illnesses. When it comes to egg quality, stress hormones released in the body, such as cortisol and prolactin, have been found to disrupt ovulation and egg production. In addition, because the other fertility factors outlined below may seem daunting to undertake altogether, it is best to remember what an important role stress plays. The best advice here is take baby steps, and avoid making too many changes at once, which may backfire and cause undue stress, exacerbating the situation.
BMI plays a role in so many aspects of health that it may come as no surprise that it can also affect egg quality. Being underweight can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which in turn affect estrogen levels and egg production and can disrupt ovulation. Being overweight disrupts mitochondrial function and hormone levels, which also in turn disrupt egg development and ovulation. A BMI between 18 and 25 is considered the ideal range for conception.
Eggs are healthiest when regularly supplied with oxygen-rich blood. In order to keep this supply flowing, a regular exercise routine is extremely helpful, which increases both the flow of blood around the body, and also the oxygen levels therein. Regular breathwork also increases oxygen levels in the body, supporting cellular health and detoxification.
As with oxygenation, drinking plenty of water boosts blood flow, and assists in the removal of cellular wastes from the body, which reduces overall inflammation and supports cellular health. Endeavor to avoid chemicals in drinking water, either from the public water supply, or leached from plastic bottles. Investing in filters and appropriate containers for on-the-go hydration are excellent choices for long-term health.
Harmful chemicals can be found laced not only in your drinking water, but also in your health and beauty products, household cleaning products, foods, at work, and in your environment inside and outside the home. Major culprits to watch out for are those chemicals that mimic and otherwise disrupt normal hormonal production and balance, such as dioxin, PCBs, some pesticides, alkylphenols, and phthalates. Other agents such as heavy metals, industrial chemicals, solvents, pesticides, and food and drug additives may be stored in the body and disrupt normal cellular functions.
Alcohol, Caffeine & Nicotine
Studies have shown that drinking alcohol disrupts ovulation, regulation of the menstrual cycle, and egg implantation. Caffeine consumption has also been linked to a decrease in fertility, and is suspected to inhibit egg maturation. Chemicals in cigarettes have been found to mutate the DNA in women’s egg cells, and have been found to permanently speed up egg loss.
Diet & Nutritional Supplementation
They say you are what you eat, and a healthy diet has always been touted as a cornerstone of overall health and wellbeing, which protects against the degradation and loss of egg cells over time. While there are a number of diet fads that come and go with the years, it is best to start with avoiding processed foods and listening to one’s body. Working with a nutritionist can also prove to be of benefit for meal planning. Coenzyme Q10, melatonin and fish oil have all been found to protect egg health.