Egg quality is a topic that comes up a lot and there are so many factors that influence the quality and viability. Because of this, I decided to put together a three-part educational series to give you as much information as possible to rejuvenate your eggs.
Part one – of this series will cover the basics and will the foundation of information and the other two parts will go into much more detail.
There are so many things that can cause poor egg quality. It may be due to an underlying medical condition, chronic inflammation in the body, lifestyle habits and or diet. All of these areas must be addressed in order to improve the overall quality of the eggs and overall health as well.
- Medical Conditions – Medical conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, and advanced maternal age will impact the quality of the eggs. Management of these conditions can assist in improving the quality of eggs.
- Inflammation – Inflammation can occur anywhere in the body and the inflammation of the ovaries can hinder egg quality.
- Lifestyle Factors – It’s no secret that the way we live our life impacts our overall health. Poor sleep, too much or not enough exercise and stress are just a few of the lifestyle habits that may be affecting your egg quality.
- Diet – I know I talk about it all the time but a bad diet, scarce in nutrient-dense foods and full of lots of sugar and processed items will impact not just your overall health but also your fertility.
Part 2 – focuses on what dietary changes you can make and what supplements may be useful to improve your egg quality.
I will forever be telling my clients that fertility starts with good nutrition. These are the exact areas you need to address to improve your fertility and egg quality.
Eat real food
Yes, as always, my first point is to change your diet. Eat real food, avoid boxed, packaged and artificially preserved foods and do the majority of your shopping from the parameter of the supermarket where all the fresh foods are.
Avoid artificial foods and sugars
Man-made preservatives and sugars cause havoc to the body and stir up inflammation. Keep away from the fake foods and get back to making things from scratch. If you are craving something sweet, instead of buying a pre-made cake or sweet from the supermarket, why not whip up a beautiful banana cake at home. If time is your main issue then you could consider outsourcing the cooking to someone else! I am a big fan of Pete’s Paleo meals. They are dairy and grain free and they deliver.
We need fat, but not all fats are created equal. Trans-fats are a cheap, manufactured oil designed to replace butter and lard in processed foods because it does not go rancid as quickly and has a longer shelf life. The problem with consuming trans-fats is that it increases LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein)- also known as bad cholesterol. This is the stuff that clogs your arteries and leads to atherosclerosis.
Good fats are an essential piece of hormone regulation for women. Look to include things like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil and organic ghee.
Stop drinking soda and juice
Sodas and juice are full of artificial sweeteners, flavorings and sugar. Sugar causes inflammation in the body and when you taste it you want more and more. There is plenty of research to prove that sugar in whatever form, increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
Dairy is always a hot topic of conversation, especially in the conventional medicine scene, however, I see time and time again that removing dairy from the diet of my patient’s makes a huge difference. Like sugar, dairy causes inflammation in the gut and is often full of hormones. If you want to consume dairy then you should ensure that you choosing the best quality, organic dairy possible to avoid any hormone disruption from external hormone sources.
Caffeine and alcohol
The last point in my list of nutritional suggestions is to remove caffeine and alcohol. It might sound like I just took away all your fun, exciting foods, but while we are trying to improve your egg quality it’s important to allow your body to rest and repair without unnecessary stimulation.
I often get asked about what supplementation can be taken to improve egg quality. The first thing I want to stress is that I believe there is no one-size-fits-all for everybody. Having a solid understanding of what is going on in your body and a diagnosis will always be the best way to determine which supplements will work for you, but this list can serve as an outline to get started. Some of the things that I’m going to mention have plenty of research around and others, I’ve just seen in clinical practice and in theory, make a lot of sense for changing egg quality as well.
There’s plenty of research about Co-enzyme Q10 improving egg quality. I don’t need to go into too much detail on that. I’d tell you that, that’s one of the more easy things to incorporate for everybody is adding CoQ10 into your diet. I do get a question about “CoQ10 versus Ubiquinol”. I will say that there’s really not that much of a difference other than, you’re going to be taking less of one and more of the other.You’ll be taking more CoQ10, less Ubiquinol. CoQ0 costs less, Ubiquinol costs more. You know there’s a give and take. I think essentially you’re going to be spending about the same amount of money.
Veggies & Greens
It’s important that we provide the proper nutrients and nutrition to our cells and getting enough veggies and greens is one of those ways. But many of us have a hard time doing that in our regular diet. So I like to supplement with a green supplement or a green powder. It’s got to be organic and of good quality of course. But this is going to provide all the proper nutrients to the cells that we need and get you all your servings of fruits and vegetables as well, which is nice.
One of my favorites is Maca. I do like to recommend maca. I will say we do have to be careful with this. I don’t think that this is one that everyone can take. I do think it needs to be specific to your needs and I will also say that I’m very particular about the kind of maca that you take. I have other videos on maca itself, so you can watch that. I will say that I don’t recommend just a generic maca, maca powder, or just getting it from the store. My favorite one is Natural Health Intl. The only one I recommend because it’s customized to different women at different ages of your life. But even that you do need to be careful. I don’t think it’s a one-size-fits-all. So be mindful of that as well.
Fish oils, I’ve talked about this often (essential fatty acids), are essential. It’s part of the name and I do think fish oil is good for everybody and I would like for everyone to get it.
I will say that it’s essential that the type of fish oil that you’re getting does need to be in triglyceride form to be more absorbable. That does make it a little bit more costly but most fish oils out in the market, especially the cheap ones, are not in this form and they’re not great for you.
One of my favorite things to do as kind of like my replacement for a prenatal if you will, is desiccated liver or a liver gland. Grass-fed liver is fantastic. You can take it in pill form or you you can cook it up and eat it fresh.It’s the most nutrient dense food that we can consume and it’s rich in so many vitamins and minerals and it can essentially be your multivitamin or your prenatal if you want. With that you need supplement with a methylated folate, but outside of that you’ll do really well if you’re consuming liver.
Vitamin D3 is crucial for egg quality. There’s a lot of research around vitamin D3 and AMH. It’s one of the only nutrient found in every cell. It’s effective for almost any health condition. Again, with all of these, quality is really important but it’s an important one to put at the top of your list.
There’s plenty of research that shows it’s beneficial for egg quality. It’s also used quite a bit for PCOS and managing blood sugar levels as well but it’s a simple one to incorporate. Usually it’s found in powder and I like to add it in my smoothies in the morning if I’m taking it.
When we start talking about egg quality and reproductive anti-ageing then we’re always talking about antioxidants. Antioxidants are huge for cleaning up the body, getting rid of pre radicals and providing proper nutrients and nourishment to the cells. Some of the basic key ones that I really like are going to be:
- Pine Bark
- Resveratrol (for egg quality) that comes from grapes from wine, and
- Glutathione, basically the super antioxidant that our body creates.
These are my ultimate things to change and include in your lifestyle when you’re trying to improve egg quality, stay tuned for part 3 coming out next week.
Part 3 – focuses on the lifestyle changes you can make to enhance the quality of your eggs.
I believe that exercise is a very important part of maintaining overall health. It improves cardiovascular function and gets the blood pumping, which also pumps precious nutrients all over the body. There is however, a fine line between enough and too much. Extreme exercise can actually be counterintuitive when trying to get pregnant because it places extra, unnecessary stress on the body. Aim to get around 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, preferably in the form of walking in a park or on a beach. If you can’t exercise outside then head to a gym but stick to light weights and small amounts of cardio.
Stress and Sleep
I believe stress and sleep are pretty much equal in importance and are both part of the foundational core of things that need to be dealt with in order to improve egg quality.
Learning to reduce and manage stress is highly important. There will never be a time in your life where stress is completely nonexistent, it’s just not going to happen, so you need to find a way to manage your stress. Perhaps this means picking up a hobby or learning meditation. Find something that you can do to keep your stress levels in check.
Good quality sleep is essential for health. If you aren’t getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night then your body does not have enough time to rest, repair and refresh which will cause extra stress. I recommend trying to go to sleep at the same time every night and practicing a bedtime routine to relax your mind to help you get a good night sleep. Some bedtime rituals could be having a cup of herbal tea, like chamomile (organic of course), burning a relaxing oil like lavender, turning off digital screens, reading a book, meditating or journaling.
One of the key foundational principles of acupuncture is that it increases blood circulation; in this case, to the ovaries which brings more nutrients and nourishment, affecting egg quality.
Acupuncture is an amazing technique which has the ability to enhance so many different aspects of your overall wellness. If you’re having irregular menstrual cycle then acupuncture can assist in regulation and if you’re not having enough vaginal mucus or vaginal moisture, acupuncture can also encourage the production and secretion of these, which is key for conception and getting the sperm to where it needs to go.
I hope you have enjoyed this 3-part series, remember with all of these things it’s about making incremental changes. We want to pick the areas that we think are more important for us to start with and then layer the rest onto it and start to change overall change but egg quality is not going to be something that changes in a day, a week or a month.
Follicular genesis at minimum needs about 3 to 4 months to be affected. So you’d want to start to put all of these things into effect with enough time and give yourself enough time so that you can see the results that you want to see and the egg quality that you hope to change.
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