Management Principles

A normal pregnancy occurs when health is in optimal state. The body is ready to transfer genetic material when conditions, including the environment, allow it. When survival, in terms of evolution, is in question, fertility will also be in question. Everything that a person eats, drinks, any negative influence, everything can affect fertility. The naturopathic approach takes into account absolutely all components of an overall health. Parents-to-be are advised to undergo 3-4 months of preparation to optimally adjust the body and solve pre-existing problems. The quality of sperm and ovum suffers from any toxic effects. Sperm is renewed within 90 days, so during this time the father-to-be needs to lead a healthy lifestyle. In women, there is no renewal, the number of eggs is constantly decreasing and the negative load is growing. Both parents-to-be need to take folic acid to prevent malformations of the nervous and cardiovascular systems.

Naturopathic medicine begins with a change in lifestyle and nutrition, after which various methods of treatment are used: acupuncture, herbs, vitamins, trace elements, supplements, physiotherapy, homeopathy and others.

Diet correction will optimize ovulation, conception and the chances of having a healthy baby. The combination of diet, weight control and increased physical activity helps prevent most cases of infertility associated with ovulation problems.

Very often, menstrual dysfunction and ovulation are caused by physical and psychological stress. In this case, it is necessary to optimize work, rest, sleep, psychological rehabilitation, proper nutrition, and, may be, to add some vitamins, minerals, supplements. It is important to exclude all bad habits, such as cigarette smoking, marijuana smoking, alcohol, and, as far as possible, protect yourself from any negative environmental factors. It is recommended to avoid exposure to any chemicals at home: paints, solvents, hairsprays, new furniture, carpets, gasoline fumes, etc. If you don’t need a paper check in a store, do not take it, it emits harmful chemicals. Physical stress should not be exhausting. Hiking and cycling in the park, where the air quality is much better than in the city, is recommended.

Diet recommendations

Omega-3. Adequate intake is necessary to maintain cell membrane fluidity and to produce energy from the egg and sperm. Sources – fish, krill, algae. Vegetables are not well absorbed. Due to human economic activities, all fish is contaminated with various chemicals, the greatest problem is mercury and pesticides. In general, long-lived species at the top of the food chain such as tuna, king mackerel, swordfish, marlin, shark should not be consumed.

Mercury levels in fish examples:

  • Swordfish: 0.995 ppm
  • Shark: 0.979 ppm
  • King mackerel: 0.730 ppm
  • Bigeye tuna: 0.689 ppm
  • Marlin: 0.485 ppm
  • Canned tuna: 0.128 ppm
  • Cod: 0.111 ppm
  • American lobster: 0.107 ppm
  • Whitefish: 0.089 ppm
  • Herring: 0.084 ppm
  • Hake: 0.079 ppm
  • Trout: 0.071 ppm
  • Crab: 0.065 ppm
  • Haddock: 0.055 ppm
  • Whiting: 0.051 ppm
  • Atlantic mackerel: 0.050 ppm
  • Crayfish: 0.035 ppm
  • Pollock: 0.031 ppm
  • Catfish: 0.025 ppm
  • Squid: 0.023 ppm
  • Salmon: 0.022 ppm
  • Anchovies: 0.017 ppm
  • Sardines: 0.013 ppm
  • Oysters: 0.012 ppm
  • Scallops: 0.003 ppm
  • Shrimp: 0.001 ppm

High-risk populations for mercury intoxication include those preparing to become parents, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and young children. The fetus and baby are much more vulnerable to the toxic effects of mercury. Mercury easily passes to fetus and also excrets with milk. For example, in an experiment on a rat, exposure to a small dose of an organic compound of mercury (methylmercury, a form found in fish) during the first 10 days after conception led to a permanent impairment of cerebral function in an adult state. Other studies have shown that intrauterine exposure to mercury leads to future problems with attention, memory, speaking skills and motor function.

To minimize the mercury load, it is recommended:

  • to consume no more than 2–3 servings (227–340 grams) of different types of fish per week
  • to choose fish and seafood that is low in mercury, such as salmon, cod, sardines, and shrimp
  • when choosing fresh fish, take into account the warning information for specific rivers and lakes

Omega-3 supplements come in different flavors. The most optimal are concentrated forms. In the process of their production, toxins, pesticides and mercury are removed.

About the diet in general

It is best to keep whole, balanced diet with fresh, seasonal, organic foods. They are rich in antioxidants. Plant-based proteins improve fertility.

The Mediterranean diet is well established and contributes to normal fertility.

There are also special diets used in different pre-existing problems. In polycystic ovary disease, carbohydrates with low glycemic load are needed. In Hypothyroidism, a diet to support thyroid function, has to be considered.

Caffeine has been linked to decreased fertility, increased risk of endometriosis and miscarriages.

Trans fats interfere with ovulation.

Dietary lectins are also associated with subfertility. Lectins is a separate topic for discussion. In short, these are natural pesticides synthesized by the plants themselves (protective poisons). After ingestion they destroy the intestinal lining, articular cartilage, and the vascular lining. In addition, they are promoters (stimulators) of genes that trigger the production of inflammatory cytokines (IL-2, IL-12, IL-18, TNFalpha, IFNgamma, GM-CSF etc.).

They are found in many cereals, by the way, gluten is one of the types of lectins. Also, in legumes and nightshades. Modern agriculture has selected species that contain large amounts of lectins because it yields stronger resistance to parasites and ensures better harvest. Unfortunately, the nutritional value of these breeding plants is much lower than their predecessors. It is impossible to be completely free of lectins but excluding main sources makes sense in general, and for those suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions in particular.

It is quite easy to get rid of the lectins in legumes, they should be soaked in water for 12 hours and cooked under pressure (in a pressure cooker). Many cereals are harder to get rid of lectins. Only sorghum and millet do not contain lectins, buckwheat has little. Nuts that are safe in this regard are pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios. Rice contains lectins. Another eternal question is which rice is better, brown or polished. Bran contains many trace elements, so in terms of nutritional value, the brown rice is better. In the meantime, soil is contaminated with arsenic, and it accumulates in the bran 80% more than in the grain core. At the moment, Basmati from California is considered the safest. Arsenic is found in the soil from where it also enters the water. Volcanic eruptions, metal mines are the source of its additional distribution.

Milk from North American cows contains type A1 casein protein, which also works as a powerful pro-inflammatory factor. All milk products are abundant in different hormones which can influence health.

Regular red meat is considered to be carcinogenic.

If you are interested in this and other health topics, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine can work with you at 101 Medical Center. Learn more.

  1. Sutton P, Woodruff TJ, Perron J, et al. Toxic environmental chemicals: the role of reproductive health professionals in preventing harmful exposures. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2012; 207:164.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Reproductive and Birth Outcomes and the Environment, 2017. (Accessed on March 01, 2020).
  3. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 575. Exposure to toxic environmental agents. Obstet Gynecol 2013; 122:931. Reaffirmed 2018.
  4. Janssen S. Female reproductive toxicology. In: Current Occupational & Enviornmental Medicine, 5, Ladou J, Jarrison RJ (Eds), Lange Medical Books/McGraw Hill, New York 2014.
  5. Environmental Impacts on Reproductive Health and Fertility, 1st ed, Woodruff TJ, Janssen SJ, Guillette LH JR, et al (Eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2010.
  6. American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health. Toxic or environmental preconceptional and prenatal exposures. In: Pediatric Environmental Health, 4th ed, Etzel RA (Ed), American Academy of Pediatrics, Itasca, IL 2019.
  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and Your Health. (Accessed on March 01, 2020).
  8. Wang A, Padula A, Sirota M, Woodruff TJ. Environmental influences on reproductive health: the importance of chemical exposures. Fertil Steril 2016; 106:905.
  9. Lifestyle causes of male infertility. Arab J Urol. 2018 Mar; 16(1): 10–20. Published online 2018 Feb 13. doi: 10.1016/j.aju.2017.12.004
  10. ESHRE Capri Workshop Group. Nutrition and reproduction in female. Human Reproduction Update 2006;12(3):193–207.
  11. McLachlan RI, de Kretser DM. Male infertility: the case for continued research. Med J Aust 2001;174:116–7.
  12. British Medical Association Board of Science and Education. Mobile phones and health: an interim report. BMA Policy Report. London: BMA; 2001:1–15.
  13. Anderson K, Norman RJ, Middleton P. Preconception lifestyle advice for people with subfertility. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010;4:CD008189.
  14. Motejlek K, Palluch F, Neulen J, et al. Smoking impairs angiogenesis during maturation of human oocytes. Fertility Sterility 2006;86(1):186–91.
  15. Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner BA, et al. Diet and lifestyle in the pre-vention of ovulatory disorder infertility. Obstet Gynecol 2007;110:1050–8.
  16. McDiarmid MA, Gardiner PM, Jack BW. The clinical content of preconcep- tion care: environmental exposures. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2008;199(Suppl. 6):357–61.
  17. Homan GF, Davies M, Norman R. The impact of lifestyle factors on reproductive performance in the general population and those undergoing infertility treatment: a review. Hum Reprod Update 2007;13:209–23.
  18. Ebisch IM, Thomas CM, Peters WH, et al. The importance of folate, zinc and antioxidants in the pathogenesis and prevention of subfertility. Hum Reprod Update 2007;13:163–74.
  19. Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner BA, et al. Protein intake and ovulatory infertility. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2008;198(2):210; e1–7.
  20. Wilcox AJ, Weinberg C, Baird DD. Caffeinated beverages and decreased fertility. Lancet 1988;2(8626–7):1453–6.
  21. Stanton CK, Gray RH. Effects of caffeine consumption on delayed conception. American Journal of Epidemiol 1995;142(12):1322–9.
  22. Agarwal A, Gupta S, Sharma RK. Role of oxidative stress in female reproduc- tion. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2005;3:28.
  23. Agarwal A, Saleh RA, Bedaiwy MA. Role of reactive oxygen species in the pathophysiology of human reproduction. Fertil Steril 2003;79(4):829–43.
  24. Cetin I, Berti C, Calabrese S. Role of micronutrients in the periconceptional period. Hum Reprod Update 2010;16(1):80–95.
  25. Morriss-Kay GM, Sokolova N. Embryonic development and pattern forma- tion. FASEB J 1996;10(9):961–8.
  26. Nelson CJ, Shindel AW, Naughton CK, et al. Prevalence and predictors of sexual problems, relationship stress, and depression in female partners of infertile couples. J Sex Med 2008;5:1907–14.
  27. Shindel A, Nelson CJ, Naughton CK, et al. Sexual function and quality of life in the male partner of infertile couples: prevalence and correlates of dysfunction. Journal of Urology 2008;179:1056–9.