Watch the interview on YouTube https://youtu.be/5XManZK4WEU and read more below.
Deciding you want to have children is a huge decision and in today's day and age where we think we have so many more options, many ladies and gentlemen are not fully aware of what is really needed to bring a healthy happy baby into this world. Whether you have decided to fall pregnant and are going to go the natural route or are about to undergo the process of freezing your eggs for IVF or even if you are thinking of freezing your eggs because you know you want to become a parent in the future but aren't quite ready now. This article will give you the Top 10 things that you can start doing now to ensure that your egg quality is the best it can be. I recently invited a friend of mine Brittany Hawkins from the US and her partner Catherine Hendy from the UK to join me in studio. This dynamic duo have created a company called ELANZA Wellness, a company focussed on the importance of optimizing your fertility by improving your egg quality. Egg quality is the crucial factor when it comes to making sure you have a healthy, happy baby and optimising your fertility. This is extremely important to understand because our eggs naturally reduce in quality as we age, but the really exciting thing is, we can actually do something about the quality of our eggs making it entirely possible to have a healthy happy baby, even if you have decided to embark on parenthood later on in life.
The two ladies are about to launch their first book which will be available in the Kindle store very soon and if you sign up on their website now, they are going to be giving you readers early access! https://www.ELANZAwellness.
It always interests me why someone starts something that ends up assisting so many others and I find it incredible that it almost always begins with the need to fill a gap in their own lives. Brittany and Catherine are no different, when asked they responded:
"When we were looking into freezing our eggs we realized how little we know about our own fertility and that there were key lifestyle changes that we needed to make before the procedure in order to ensure the optimum outcome. The problem was that we couldn’t find a trusted, comprehensive resource which laid everything out in one place. And we decided to start analysing and collating all of the information we could get our hands on, analysing over a thousand of the best, most current research studies and working with fertility doctors and other specialists to find out exactly what we should be doing to boost our egg quality. "
Some of the important information they discovered was:
Some of the important information they discovered was:
Egg quality matters because:
- The egg is the foundation of female fertility: it doesn’t so much matter how old the womb is, for instance, the rise in problems getting pregnant and staying pregnant when you’re older are often down to the egg being lower quality.
- Egg quality is something you have a degree of control over. This is known to happen during the 3 months before ovulation, when the egg is maturing rapidly.
- This especially important as women are starting families later and later - as egg quality is linked to age. In fact, the world over ….
Rise of infertility
There has been a global rise of infertility for both men and women. World Health Organization classifies infertility as a “disease” and says it is a “global public health issue” status.
Scientists believe this is due to two key factors.
- Around the world, both men and women are waiting later in life to become parents, particularly educated professionals and because fertility declines rapidly for women and men, starting in the 30s, this is a massive problem. It is well known that for women the decline between ages 30-35 is by a massive third and then yet another third when women hit 40. For Men the quality of their sperm also starts to decrease in their 30th, it is a misconception that this does not happen. And while men are able to produce sperm pretty much their whole lives, it is the quality that determines the health and wellbeing of the baby. This is not common knowledge but this is one of the main reasons why miscarriage rates go up as you age.
- The environment around us has changed: nutrition, chemicals and modern life all contribute to fertility issues as they have an affect on our reproductive health. But all is not lost, we have a few things that you can do to maximise the quality of your eggs
In no particular order, let’s start with the environmental exposure ones:
1. Minimize plastic in your kitchen (you can do this by switching to glass where possible)
Explanation: We hear a lot about plastics being bad for health in general and that includes reproductive health. Chemicals in plastics have been shown in many, many studies around the world to disrupt your hormones. Hormone balance is important for the proper maturation of your eggs as well as well as other reproductive functions. BPA is just one you might have heard of (it’s known as the “gender bending” chemical as it’s linked to man boobs and even genital malformation), but even their replacements like BPE can be just as bad.
- Plastic chemicals leach into food and drinks, especially microwaved Tupperware or in those plastic takeaway containers.
- Same goes with water. Switch to glass bottles where possible.
- This even goes for some sex toys made of plastic!
2. Avoid household and personal care products with unnatural fragrances (often listed as “parfum” on the label).
These often include another group of chemicals called “phthalates.” Phthalates also mimic hormones like estrogen in our bodies such that they can actually HALT the maturation of your eggs.
Examples: They can be found in everything from detergent, cleaning products, lotions, shampoos, and nail polish. Avoid items that say fragrance or perfume on the label, and look for "phthalate-free" or "no synthetic fragrance" instead.
3. Switch to “paraben free” cosmetics
Explanation: Parabens are a class of chemicals used as a preservatives (basically they stop mold and bacteria from growing in your foundation etc.), Studies have shown parabens can actually penetrate your skin and be absorbed in tissues where they disrupt your hormones - again, having a negative effect on your eggs.
Examples: the key is to always read the label/packaging: avoid buying makeup and other cosmetics with any ingredients the have the word ‘parabens’ at the end of them. The most common names to look out for are butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. So you’ve got to look for paraben within a larger word on the label.
4. Replace folic acid supplements with its other more active form, 5-MTHF
Explanation: You’ve probably heard about folic acid being an important supplement for pregnancy, but it has also shown to help in the creation of quality eggs.
Examples: 5-MTHF is what your body converts folic acid to anyway, but taking it in this active form has been shown to make it more effective. It is also commonly known as methyl-folate and is sold under the brand names Metafolin and Deplin.
5. Take a Coenzyme Q10 supplement, but also in its active form: Ubiquinol
Explanation: Coenzyme Q10 fuels something called mitochondria, which are the power banks of the cells in your ovaries. It takes a huge amount of energy to mature eggs and mitochondria supply this energy. In fact, your eggs have 3 times the amount of mitochondria than any other cell in your body for this exact reason.
Examples: The problem is that as we age, the mitochondria loses steam, like a battery that loses power over time. By supplementing with Coenzyme Q10 we can give our eggs an extra charge that will help them reach the final stages of maturation. Just make sure you’re buying a bottle of CoQ10 in its ACTIVE form: Ubiquinol.
6. Take a prenatal vitamin
Explanation: This can provide you with a cocktail of helpful antioxidants for your eggs that will protect them during the fragile months of maturation.
7. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday
Explanation: Sleep is a bit of a zeitgeisty topic - but we tend to talk about getting ENOUGH of it. But scientists have found the RHYTHM of it is also really important. We now know not just getting sufficient sleep, but getting good quality sleep translates to good quality eggs, as reproductive hormones are produced while you sleep. Illustrating this, studies have shown women who work shifts (like nurses or cabin crew) and have irregular sleep/wake times tend to have more reproductive problems.
Examples: By going to bed and waking up at the same time every day you aren’t fighting your circadian rhythm, which can do a lot to help you get great quality sleep.
8. Think about adding more into your meals than taking away
Explanation: There are an endless amount of nutrients and antioxidants in a wide range of healthy foods that can both nourish and protect your eggs. Most often, food is the best and only way you can effectively absorb these crucial nutrients, opposed to supplements. This also means that people with restrictive diets like being a vegetarian (Susanna) or keto will need to be more aware of any potential deficiencies.
Examples: This also means that you might need to change up your dietary routine so you don’t get too much of one nutrient and not enough of another. For example, if you eat eggs for breakfast everyday, try adding a side of avo or mixing it up with spinach. Salads are also a great way to pack in a bunch of different ingredients like nuts, berries, sprouts and crunchy veggies.
9. Eat like a diabetic
Explanation: By this, we mean you don’t want big fluctuations of the hormone insulin. Insulin has a cascading effect on the function of other hormones - including estrogen. You want to keep it balanced, and for women especially, a diet containing excessive sugar – which includes all refined carbohydrates, as well as the white granules – can lead to insulin imbalance. A sugary diet is especially problematic for women with PCOS - or polycystic ovarian syndrome, a common reproductive health issue.
Examples: It really does pay to switch those white carbs to brown. You want to avoid foods that wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels.
10. Don’t over exercise
Explanation: Being from London and the States, we’ve noticed how extraordinarily fit most Capetonians are, which is why we thought this was an important one to include. In essence, a moderate amount of exercise reduces oxidative stress, but beyond a certain point extreme exercise can actually INCREASE it, which can damage your maturing eggs.
Examples: So now is probably not the time to start a new aggressive fitness routine.
If you'd like to get hold of the girls you can jump onto their website https://www.elanzawellness.com or find them on social media, they are both incredibly cool humans that are super passionate about helping women around the world by sharing their knowledge.
To all of you ladies out there, I hope you found this blog helpful and I wish you all healthy, happy babies!
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Sending you all love, light and abundant blessings
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