Specific Health Concerns


Infertility

25% of Couples Will Experience Infertility at Some Point

During the lifetime of a couple, at some point or another, 25% of couples will experience infertility. [1] Infertility is the inability to conceive a child after one year of normal sexual activity without the use of contraceptives. Approximately one-third of cases result from male factors, one-third from female factors, and one-third from combined factors. Infertility increases with the age.

Known Factors that Reduce Fertility

There are several factors that directly affect the ability to conceive a child. They are widely recognized and documented as hindrances to conception. They are alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, recreational drugs (such as marijuana), and some prescription drugs. In the case of caffeine, one study found that drinking more than one cup of coffee per day can reduce the ability to conceive by half as compared to women who drink less than one cup of coffee a day. [2]

Lack of Hormones or Lack of Stimulating Hormones?

It is interesting to note that it appears that infertility is oftentimes not a problem of the lack of the hormones estrogens, progesterones (in the female) or testosterones (in the male)—but a problem with the stimulating hormones that the pituitary gland produces (luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone).

How it All Works

The hypothalamus (part of the brain) produces a hormone called LRH (luteinizing releasing hormone). This hormone calls to the pituitary gland to release two hormones. The pituitary gland is the master control gland of all the hormone-producing glands in the body. These hormone-producing glands are what make up the endocrine system. Therefore, the pituitary gland is the master controller of the endocrine system. After the pituitary gland receives the message from the hypothalamus (brain) to produce its hormones—it will release two hormones called LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). These hormones direct the reproductive organs (ovaries and testicles) to produce their hormonal products known as estrogen, progesterone (female) and testosterone (male). These hormones in turn will cause the reproductive system to work by producing ovum (eggs in the female) and sperm (fertilizing agent in the male).

Many times the ovaries and the testicles are capable of producing the amount of hormones necessary for conception, however they do not receive the message from the pituitary gland to produce this amount. My goal is to revitalize the pituitary gland so that it does its job well, producing the necessary stimulating hormones that in turn will spur the reproductive organs to produce the right amount of hormones that will enable conception.

Female Infertility

In the female, infertility can be caused by a variety of reasons besides the known factors that inhibit fertility (alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, recreational drugs [such as marijuana], and some prescription drugs). Infertility can be a result of endometriosis, poor diet and nutrition, too much athletic activity, improper weight (either weighing too little or too much), past surgeries, scarring, and infections.

Poor Diet and Nutrition

Women who are infertile are typically deficient in the B vitamins. The B vitamins are essential in the production of hormones. They are also essential in the metabolization of cholesterol which is a basic component of hormones. I must note that there are really only three of the eight B vitamins (B6, B12, and folic acid) that affect hormonal production, however, I hesitate to single them out because you may be tempted to supplement with only these three B vitamins. If you do, you will create relative deficiencies in the other five B vitamins and this could be injurious to your health in many ways. Therefore I only recommend taking the B complex as a whole. Please read my article about B Vitamins. The B vitamins are also essential in the health of the pituitary gland which is critical in fertility.

Other Essential Nutrients

Vitamin E, C, A, zinc, magnesium, manganese, protein, the essential unsaturated fatty acids, and lecithin are also essential nutrients in restoring the health of the pituitary gland and in the formation of hormones through the metabolization of cholesterol. Zinc supplementation alone has been shown to be very effective in treating infertility. However, all these nutrients are needed to be completely effective. Because refined and processed foods are greatly lacking in these nutrients the cholesterol is unable to enter the cells and remains in the bloodstream, eventually forming plaques that can lead to heart disease. Please see my Plan for Healing below for specific recommended amounts of these essential nutrients in treating infertility.

Too Much Athletic Activity

It is common for women who are heavily involved in athletics to experience amenorrhea (the absence of menstruation) or to experience the inability to conceive. To maintain the high level of physical output that is necessary in athletics, reproductive hormonal production is oftentimes severely limited because of the higher need to make the other hormones necessary to sustain such intense physical activity. If you are a woman who is infertile and involved in heavy athletic activity, you must curtail this activity. Additionally, you may need to put on some weight in order to stimulate the production of the necessary hormones for conception.

Too Little or too Much Weight

Approximately 12% of infertility in women is due to a weight problem. If a woman is underweight, she will be unable to produce the necessary hormones for conception. There is literally not enough fatty acid or essential nutrients available to make the hormones. Conversely, if a woman is overweight, she oftentimes cannot make the proper amount of hormones due to the triggering of some of the adrenal hormones. It is my opinion and my experience that many of the women that are infertile and have a weight problem (either under or over) have the tendency to be hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemia will cause the adrenal system to produce significant amounts of hormones that will interfere with conception. Please read my article on hypoglycemia on this site for more information on this topic. Read my recommendations below in the Plan for Healing for specific recommendations on eating which will aid you in achieving optimum fertility weight.

Be Careful of Clomiphene Citrate

One of the typical treatments used by medical doctors is the prescription of clomiphene citrate. This is a drug that stimulates gonadotropin release (the hormones produced by the pituitary gland like LH—luteinizing hormone). This increase of hormones will cause a rise in blood levels of estrogens. It is documented that the use of clomiphene citrate causes the occurrence of painful ovarian cysts in 8% of patients which may warrant the discontinuation of the use of this drug for therapy. Also several recent studies have suggested an increased risk of ovarian cancer with the prolonged use of clomiphene.

Male Infertility

Many of the factors that contribute to infertility in the female also are factors of infertility in the male. These factors are alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, recreational drugs [such as marijuana], and some prescription drugs. The health of the pituitary gland is absolutely essential in correcting male infertility. Please read my discussion of this above if you have not already read it.

Sperm Production and Nutrients

Sperm production is very much affected by the presence or absence of certain nutrients. Vitamins A, C, E, and folic acid (a B vitamin) work with testosterone to produce sperm. It is also important to have calcium, magnesium, zinc, inositol and B12 available in proper amounts as the nutrient content of sperm includes these. I must note that there are really only three of the eight B vitamins (B6, B12, and folic acid) that affect hormonal production, however, I hesitate to single them out because you may be tempted to supplement with only these three B vitamins. If you do, you will create relative deficiencies in the other five B vitamins and this could be injurious to your health in many ways. Therefore I only recommend taking the B complex as a whole. Please read my article about B Vitamins. The B vitamins are also essential in the health of the pituitary gland which is critical in fertility.

Other Nutrients

A deficiency in vitamin E causes a degeneration of the testicles. If a man has low levels of zinc this can result in immovable, useless, and infertile sperm. In male laboratory animals, a manganese deficiency causes loss of semen. A lack of selenium can result in infertility. Please see my Plan for Healing below for specific recommendations in supplementing.

Zinc Supplementation

Zinc supplementation increase both sperm count and sperm motility (movement) in men with low sperm counts. Among this group of men, those with low blood testosterone may be the best candidates for zinc supplementation. Zinc supplementation increases their plasma testosterone. An increase in plasma testosterone is helpful in some men that experience infertility. Though in many men infertility can occur with normal blood testosterone levels.

Vitamin C Supplementation

Many times in infertile men, the sperm have agglutinated. This means that the sperm have clumped together making a man less able to impregnate a woman. Antibodies that are directed against the sperm can cause this agglutination. Vitamin C is particularly effective in combating this problem. In one study of men with more than 20% agglutinated sperm, the average blood level of vitamin C was on the low side of normal. Agglutination dropped to 11% after 3 weeks supplementation of vitamin C. [3] Vitamin C has also been shown to reduce sperm abnormalities and increase viability, motility, maturity, and total sperm count. [4] These are important factors in increasing fertility.

Enough Protein?

In various studies it has been shown that a lack of certain amino acids (protein) reduce sperm count. By adding sufficient protein to the diet, fertility can be increased in many cases.

When Should I See Results?

In the case of female infertility, expect a three month timeframe after the Plan for Healing has been implemented. It takes approximately this long for the pituitary gland to adjust and make the necessary changes in hormone levels. After three months conception ability should be increased significantly. Then allow time for normal conception to take place (3 to 6 months).

By following the Plan for Healing a man should expect to see some results in approximately three months. Because spermatosgenesis takes approximately 74 days, it means that it takes almost three months for sperm to be produced after the addition of supplementation and dietary/lifestyle changes that provide the nutrients necessary to make healthy and viable sperm. Therefore, in the case of male infertility, expect a three month healing period before any results can be seen and conception to occur. Then allow time for normal conception to take place (3 to 6 months).

Healing Plan for Female Infertility

• Avoid caffeine.

• Avoid alcohol.

• Avoid tobacco.

• Avoid recreational drugs (specifically marijuana).

• Avoid prescription drugs that affect fertility.

• Take 1600 IU vitamin E with selenium*.

• Take 1000 mg vitamin C*.

• Take 4 B Complex vitamin tablets* (of recommended brand) daily. Take with food.

• Take a soy based protein*, 16 grams twice daily (1/4 cup of the recommended product twice daily).

• Take 1 teaspoon daily of recommended liquid multi vitamin* product rich in vitamin A.

• Take one 15 mg zinc* tablet every third night.

• Take 1300 mg of calcium and 800 mg magnesium in a combined calcium magnesium* product nightly (8 of the recommended tablets).

• Take a multi vitamin/mineral supplement with iron and manganese* at two times the RDA (4 tablets of the recommended product).

• Take 4 capsules of the recommended lecithin* product daily.

• Eat two servings of the omega 3 fatty acids daily. See chart below for choices.

• Eat at least one serving of the omega 6 fatty acids daily. See chart below for choices.


Omega 3 Fatty Acid Rich Foods

Choose one of the following to meet the omega 3 fatty acid requirement for one serving (Serving Size for Adults):

Suggested ideas to accomodate omega 3 fatty acid requirement:

Omega 6 Fatty Acid Rich Foods

Choose one of the following to meet the omega 6 fatty acid requirement for one serving (Serving Size for Adults):

*These serving sizes would be adequate and appropriate for children age 4 and up. For younger children, cut serving size in half.


Healing Plan for Male Infertility

• Avoid caffeine.

• Avoid alcohol.

• Avoid tobacco.

• Avoid recreational drugs (specifically marijuana).

• Avoid prescription drugs that affect fertility.

• Take 800 IU vitamin E with selenium* daily.

• Take 3000 mg vitamin C* daily.

• Take 4 B Complex vitamin tablets* (of recommended brand) daily. Take with food.

• Take a soy based protein*, 16 grams twice daily (1/4 cup of the recommended product twice daily).

• Take 1 teaspoon daily of recommended liquid multi vitamin* product rich in vitamin A.

• Take one 15 mg zinc* tablet every night.

• Take 1000 mg of calcium and 600 mg magnesium in a combined calcium magnesium* product nightly (6 of the recommended tablets).

• Take a multi vitamin/mineral supplement with manganese and without iron* at two times the RDA (4 tablets of the recommended product) daily.

• Take 4 capsules of the recommended lecithin* product daily.

• Eat one serving of the omega 3 fatty acids daily. See chart above for choices.

• Eat at least one serving of the omega 6 fatty acids daily. See chart above for choices.


Links of Interest

B Vitamins
Hypoglycemia


[1] Tierney, Lawrence M., Jr., ed., Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, 1996, Lange Pub., p. 657.
[2] Wilcox, A., et.al. Caffeinated beverages and decreased fertility. Lancet 2:1473-76, 1988.
[3] Dawson, E. C., et al. Effect of ascorbic acid on male fertility. Ann NY Acad Sci 498:312-23, 1987.
[4] Dawson, E.B., et al--reported in Gonzalez, E.R. Sperm swim singly after vitamin C therapy. Medical News. JAMA A249(20):2747, 2751, 1983.



- A Note About the Plans for Healing -

You will notice that the Plans for Healing on my various articles as published on my web site include the use of supplements (in the majority of cases). I have included them at this time because most of the people that access my web site, I never have the opportunity to speak to personally. Therefore, I cannot address each person's particular situation as it warrants. The supplements will certainly help, however, be aware that food alone can cure, without the use of supplements.

In fact, it is my goal to be able to see healing with food alone. In my private practice, where I counsel clients individually, it is only occasionally that I might recommend the use of supplements. Food is powerful. As Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be food." That is also my philosophy.


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Contact Karen at Karen@KarenHurd.com or the office phone (715) 877-3510.

All material provided on the KarenHurd.com website is provided for informational and educational purposes only. The information given should not be regarded as a guaranteed cure or a statement that the recommendations can assuredly reverse a health condition. Consult a physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.

© 2014 - Karen R. Hurd, Last Updated: June 16, 2014

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