Sunday, July 29, 2007

IRON Could be Key in Addressing Infertility or as we say Fertility issues

A Study by Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston reported that your iron levels may significantly impact your fertility. "The study examined data provided by more than 18,000 nurses participating in the Nurses' Health Study, zeroing in on 438 who reported having ovulation problems. Those who ate the most free iron (found in supplements, fortified foods, legumes, and grains) had the greatest protection against infertility." Ovulation disorders were more common in women who did not have adequate iron.

The study found that benefits DID NOT apply to women who got most of their iron from animal sources such as red meat and pork.
"These were very striking differences, suggesting that women should focus on getting their iron from supplements" the lead researcher suggested.

It would be a good idea to have your iron levels including Ferittin (which measures the iron stores in your blood) checked. This can let you know if you should supplement with iron BEFORE you become pregnant. Keep in mind though that if you are supplementing with iron and your iron levels are still low then more investigations need to be done. Low iron when on supplements can be an indication that your digestion is less than optimal or that you may be gluten intolerant or atleast sensitive to gluten in your diet.

Issues with gluten (Coeliac Disease in particular) have been shown to impact fertility.

Also when supplementing with iron to avoid constipation you may want to utilise a liquid iron source from your naturopath but atleast an iron supplement that contains other ingredients such as Vit C to help it get absorbed and decrease the chance of constipation.

And when you get the results back make sure you have someone review the levels to see if they are OPTIMAL, not just normal. There can be different ranges of "normals" depending on which lab your test was analysed at, so you will want to discuss your results with a doctor (who doesn't just consider what is "normal") and/or a naturopath/herbalist who deal with fertility issues often to make sure you are at the optimal levels.

In our ebook and CD set Fertility Secrets Revealed available in the books section at, we discuss other tests that can also be done and what results and issues are often missed because they are overlooked or considered "normal" but oftentimes are far from optimal. For many couples we have worked with, these overlooked areas were crucial points that needed to be addressed for the couple to create a viable pregnancy.

A birth announcement I received recently is a good example of this.
Dear Stacey,
Thank you for everything you have done for us. This is my second baby with your clinic. That in itself is amazing because before my first child was born, the doctors told me I was infertile. If we try for number 3, we will definitely be back!"

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Can Herbs or other Complimentary Therapies actually decrease your fertility and your chances of becoming pregnant.

You may have heard about the following study that discussed the possibility of herbs and other complimentary therapies as having a negative impact on IVF outcomes. So as you can imagine, I was very interested in this study because we have certainly found this not to be the case.

Here is the study results:

Danish "Researchers found women who used complementary and alternative therapies (CATs) while undergoing fertility treatment were 30 per cent less likely to become pregnant than those who did not."

But here's the catch. This study took didn't look at one particular complimentary therapy, or even a specific herb or group of herbs. Here's what they considered:

"Dr Boivin recruited 818 women having IVF treatment at five Danish fertility clinics, 261 of whom were CAT (complimentary/Alternative therapy) users and 557 who were not.

Among users, 55 per cent went to reflexologists, half took herbal medicines, 19 per cent had acupuncture and seven per cent used homeopathy." (the fact that this adds up to more than 100% tells me that some of the patients were using multiple therapies)

I find this interesting because this study just lumped all of these together instead of looking at each treatment individually. This would be like taking patients who have used prescription synthetic drugs, massage therapy, and over the counter synthetic medications and lumping them all together disregarding dosages or treatment plans or duration and saying that they are all ineffective. Therefore in my opinion it was a poorly constructed review and doesn't reflect the truth of which of these therapies may be effective or not.

Then Dr. Bovin went on to say, ""It could also be that if someone is mixing and matching conventional and complimentary medicine that they are less committed and accurate in complying with the self injections and precise timings involved in IVF." I am not sure how or why she would make this statement. I find in my work with thousands of couples going through IVF, they NEVER miss their injections. To say that this group may be less consistent with their IVF protocol and that this is somehow related to their use of CAM therapies in my opinion, is inappropriate and is a big leap, especially without any direct proof from the patients themselves.

Why do so many look for the cause of less than optimal "success rates" in what the patients are doing or not doing. Could it be that some IVF drugs or protocols are just not effective for some patients. Where are the studies to ascertain which protocol is the best for a certain presentation. In this study I am sure that all of these patients didn't follow the same IVF protocol either because the results were from 3 different IVF clinics. With so many variables, how can they really know what effected the outcome?

One thing Dr Bovin did admit was " the study may simply have shown that those resorting to using such therapies (CAM therapies) had been having seeking medical help for fertility problems for longer and had worse prognosis." There is also no indication of how long the CAM group was having their complimentary therapy.

If physicans are serious about finding out if complimentary medicines are effecting IVF results, its time that they follow their own protocols of how studies are done instead of lumping together programs for several hundred people and several hundred different treatments and protocol. Its time they get consistent and measure outcomes from one therapy administered by one or two practioners so the results can be measure and specific aspects of a person's situation be taken into consideration.

This would be the responsible way to handle the situation instead of publishing this information to scare people away from using natural remedies that have been around for 1000's of years that actually may be significantly improving their own patients situations.

If anyone knows a group of doctors that would be willing to work with us and create a reputable analysis of results with herbs, supplements and IVF, email me at

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Coconut oil... Can it help you get pregnant?

Recently a member of our site sent along this question to me:

Member: I had recently read that coconut oil can help me get pregnant. Is this true?

Stacey's response:
Coconut oil is a good choice in oils as it is beneficial for your digestive system and some have reported it to have positive effects on thyroid function. (see put coconut oil in the search engine on that site)

Indirectly coconut oil can help fertility by helping you improve your overall health. Cooking with coconut oil is a good choice over less stable oils that can break down into transfats when heated. Trans Fat as you probably know can have a negative impact on overall health and therefore could effect fertility (Harvard Study)

So will coconut oil help you get pregnant? Most likely not on its own, but it certainly is a good step to help keep you moving in the right direction towards optimal health and therefore optimal fertility.