It Starts with the Egg | How to Improve Egg Quality Naturally

It Starts with the Egg | How to Improve Egg Quality Naturally

It Starts with the Egg | How to Improve Egg Quality Naturally

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Transcription:

Many of you have heard that saying that it all starts with the egg. Well, what if it was true? And, what if there was so much that you can do to improve your egg quality? That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this video, so keep watching.

Hi, I’m Dr. Marc Sklar, The Fertility Expert, and I work with couples from all over the world, helping you get pregnant naturally. If you want more help from me, then you’ve got to subscribe to my YouTube channel right here with that bell so that I can support you on your fertility journey. I just wanted to let you know that my fertility coaching program to work with me and my team one-on-one is open for applications. If you want me as your fertility coach to help you on your fertility journey, then make sure that you use the link down below in the description to apply to qualify. This program is by application only. If you qualify, you’ll be able to join me and my team so that we can support you on your fertility journey.

So yes, it starts with the egg. And I don’t say that to put any undue pressure on any of you watching. The reality is is that egg health and egg quality is super important, just like sperm health, and uterine environment. All of these three factors combined will really optimize and give you the best chance to conceive. And, if one of those variables is not functioning properly, if the other two are really at their peak performance, then they can kind of compensate for that third one that’s not doing exactly what it should do. So yes, all three are valuable, but in this video, we’re going to primarily be talking about ovarian health and your eggs. That’s why it’s called “it starts with the egg.” That’s right.

So, there are several variables, several factors that I want to review and go over and mention that do influence egg quality and quantity. So, the first one is a woman’s age. Age is obviously important. And, not that there is a lot we can do about it, quite frankly, I always tell every couple that I work with the last thing you can change and try to influence is your age, right? There’s very little we can do about that. But what we do know is that age can influence other variables. Your age alone will tell you where your success rates and percentages fall. And, based on that, that will help dictate some of the decisions that you can make or should make on your fertility journey. So age is a variable that we all need to account for, but it’s not a variable that we can change.

All right, so some of the other variables that do influence the egg and egg quality are genetics. What’s your genetic makeup, exposure to environmental toxins, right? Are there toxins that you’ve been exposed to over your lifetime that have influenced or can affect your reproductive system.

Obviously, nutrition. I talk about this all the time. Drugs, exposure to drugs, whether it’s pharmaceutical or recreational drugs, these can affect and do affect your reproductive system and egg quality.

Alcohol consumption, stress, blood and oxygen flow, and hormonal balance.

This is the core of the areas that can influence your egg reserve and quality. We’re going to come back to those in so much more detail in just a few minutes, but I do want to cover a little bit more of the basics around egg quality and egg reserve. So I’ve spoken a lot about the egg specifically, but one of the other pieces that we do need to understand is where does the egg live? It lives in the ovary, and actually it lives in the follicle inside the ovary. And so, ovarian health is also important. We can’t ignore the health of the ovaries, the home, the house of the follicle and exit you’re going to be producing. So, it’s not just about focusing on one area. We do have to look at the whole reproductive system and all the organs that are affecting and influence egg quality, and egg reserve. So ovarian health, and what’s going on in the ovary. Are there cysts? Is their endometriosis growing on it? Are they too small? These are all variables that do potentially influence the quality of your eggs as well.

And then the other one is ovarian reserve. How many eggs do we have to use inside of our ovaries that may be able to be used in the future? So this is definitely a key point, right? I’ve spoken about ovarian reserve and ovarian health on many videos so I’m not going to spend a ton of time on it here, but I do want to go over some key points if you’re new to my channel, all right?

So, ovarian reserve and egg quality are determined by two main hormone tests, FSH and AMH. The other variable that can influence or help you determine the amount of eggs that you have left is what’s called an antral follicle count. It’s an ultrasound that’s done on the ovaries to be able to see how many follicles are antral follicles, the ones that are getting ready to mature and grow in that given cycle are there to be matured. Now, just so you know, that antral follicle count can change and does change from cycle to cycle. So just because you get a specific number, let’s just say 10 on an antral follicle count, it doesn’t mean that’s all the eggs that you have forever. No, that’s just for that cycle. And it doesn’t mean that that number can go up or go down. It can fluctuate and change.

So now coming back to the hormones themselves, FSH, I get a lot of questions from all of you, which I love, about FSH and AMH. What do these variables look like? So my first question back to all of you is have you had your FSH and AMH tested? If so, comment below and let me know. And if you’re okay with it, let me know what those numbers actually were. I’d love to know.

All right, so what do these numbers actually mean? There are groups and ranges of these numbers that we need to account for. So FSH has several different groups or ranges that we need to pay attention to. In the bigger picture, we want to see that number below 10. And, I like to see that number above 4 and 5. The first range of being excellent in terms of FSH numbers is between 4 and 6. The next range, which is considered good, is between 6 and 9. Between 9 and 10 is fair because you’re kind of approaching that 10 mark, which we want to stay below. Then there is another range between 10 and 13, which really starts to show that your egg quality is starting to diminish and potentially your ovarian reserve, although that’s not my favorite marker for ovarian reserve. It starts to show that that number is going down because your FSH is going up, so it’s just to show that it might be compromised, right? And then, from 13 to 17 and then 17 and above. And so at every one of those variables, as FSH increases, we start to get a little bit more concerned about the quality and quantity of the eggs that you are producing.

Now, it doesn’t mean that this number doesn’t fluctuate. Actually FSH fluctuates dramatically, and I see it fluctuate often. Most of your IVF doctors are going to look at your highest reading and base all of their treatments off of that one number. That’s one of the things I really don’t care for because that number does fluctuate, and I think we need to account for that. But for all of you, the lower that number is, the better chance you’re going to have to conceive that cycle. So if one cycle that number is higher, let’s just say 13 or 15, and then a subsequent cycle that drops down to 9, then that is the cycle that we want to try to maximize for you.

I don’t suggest testing your FSH or AMH every cycle. I also want you to recognize that we do need to take this number into account with other hormones, LH and Estradiol as well, but we’re not going over that at this specific moment. The other hormone that’s super important is AMH, Anti-Müllerian hormone. This hormone is the one that is the primary one that we use to determine ovarian reserve. Now, in general, we want this number to be higher. The higher, this number, theoretically, the better ovarian reserve we do have. Now, that comes with a caveat that we don’t really want it over 3, 3 and a half because once we start to see that, we get concerned about polycystic ovarian syndrome, but leaving that aside, I’m going to go over some ranges based on age that we want to see for AMH levels that helps you determine what potentially or how good potentially your ovarian reserve is.

So, if we see that your age is 27 or younger, then we want your AMH to be around 2.7 to 3-ish. That’s a good range. if you are 33, between 27 and 33, 1.9 AMH. If you are from 33 to 36, then we’d like to see that at 1.3 AMH. If you are 39, then we’d like to see that around 1.9 to 1 is great. And then from 42 and above, we do expect it to be somewhere between 0.5 and 1. Again, the higher that it is the better, right? I just spoke to a woman yesterday, and I ran her labs and got her lab work back, and she is 44, and her AMH is 1.5, which is awesome. So in her case, I’m not so I’m worried about ovarian reserve. We need to start focusing on egg quality and all the other variables that might be influencing or affecting her fertility and ability to get pregnant, right? So, in her case, it looks great. I’m giving you these numbers just as references to account for because everyone’s always asking, “Well, if my number is… if my AMH is x and I’m 41, is that good or bad?” So now I’ve given you those ranges that you can make that determination for yourself and see what you can do there.

I have seen AMH go up quite a bit over time with the right plan, the right treatment, and the right support for all of you, right? Now, here is the biggest caveat. Everyone always says, well, if AMH is a marker for ovarian reserve, and ovarian reserve should potentially never go up, it should only go down, why do we see AMH go up? Well, that’s a great question. I’ve actually done several videos on this specific topic if you want to watch those, and you can check them out right here. So I often get this question as it relates to FSH and AMH. What happens if my FSH is high and my AMH is low? What does it mean? So, I’m not one to focus on the negative, but we’re going to talk about some of those potential impacts right now, and then we’re going to talk about what you can do to affect and improve and change those numbers yourself.

So, if your FSH is high and your AMH is low, one is it does indicate that your poor ovarian response to stimulation, so if you were to do IVF, you’re going to have a lower response to the medication that they prescribed to you doing a traditional stimulation cycle. There are several different types of IVF procedures that might be able to account for and accommodate for that variable. But in general, that’s what it means. It also means that you’re going to have more poor quality eggs, and the embryos that you’re going to be producing are going to be more poor quality as well. That’s what this starts to show. Your chance of pregnancy does decrease, and your likelihood of miscarriage does increase with those two variables.

Now, I say that because I want you guys to all have the reality of what these numbers mean. But, it doesn’t mean that has to be true for you. And I want you to know that you can change and influence these numbers to improve them, to give you better chances to conceive. So the good news around all of this is that you have the power. That’s right. You have the power to make change, to influence your egg quality and ovarian reserve by the things that you do. We talked about that those different variables at the beginning of this video, and I’m going to come back to those in just a second to talk a little bit more in detail, how those can influence your egg quality and reserve. But the biggest point that I want to make right now around those numbers and improving them is that it takes time. You’re not going to see that change in one cycle, potentially two cycles, potentially even three cycles. You need a minimum of 90 to a 100 days, if not longer for you to improve the quality of the eggs that you’re producing and start to recruit more eggs for a subsequent cycle.

So I say that because I want you all to have patience and understanding and be kind to yourselves and most of all, not to question the things that you’re doing every cycle. It can become difficult, and I see this often with many of you that you switch gears too quickly, when you’re just about to see the improvements and the change that you’re making on your egg quality and reserve. You’re looking for those numbers to improve on the snap of a finger. You want to see that change from one cycle. You want to see it change from two cycles. That might not be possible depending on what your numbers are and the whole picture that we’re looking at. So please be kind to yourself, have some patience with yourself and your ovaries, send them some good vibes, but give them the time that they need to do what you want them to do. So that’s super, super important.

So I started off this video talking about age and how that’s the one thing you can’t change or influence, right? Well now let’s get into those other variables that you can have something to say about. The first one or sorry, the next one, excuse me, was genetics, right? So you might think, “Well, if I’m born with these things, how can I change them?” Well, just because you’re born with predispositions doesn’t mean that they have to be true for you. Imagine that all those genetic markers were light switches, a bank of light switches on a wall, right? And this one said, “You’re going to have constipation,” and this one said, “You’re going to age faster,” and this one said, “You’re going to have poor digestion” or whatever it is. Just because you have that tendency doesn’t mean that it has to be true for you. You can control with your lifestyle, with your diet, with your sleep, with your stress management, with potentially supplements. You can control whether those switches are going to go on or off. So I want you to understand that. Now you need to know what switches do you have that you’ve got to manage, right?

So this is where you do some more in depth genetic testing, which one of your healthcare providers can help you do, to find out what genetic snips you have that you’re predisposed to, that you need to account for, that potentially will influence your ability to conceive. I know that’s a lot potentially to digest, but I want you to understand that in general terms, and then you can dive deeper into that with your healthcare team.

All right. So the next one is environmental toxins. The way we control that first and foremost is control our regular environment that we’re in regularly, right? That we spend most of our time in. So that’s our house, that’s our car, and that’s our office, right? If you all are going to the office these days. So at home, make sure that you’re using nontoxic cleaning products, that all your skincare products, all your beauty products, all the things you drink out of and eat out of are healthy, that when you walk into the house, you take off your shoes, that you clean your house regularly, that you dust regularly, that you change your air vent filters regularly. These are all variables that influence your environment and can cause additional toxin and burden on your body because it’s trying to clean out and manage all those exposures, right?

Then obviously, car. We want to do the same thing with our car. We want to make sure it’s cleaned regularly inside more importantly. And you want to do the same thing with your office environment. What can you do to manage the health of your office environment, to keep you healthy and not expose you to all sorts of other things.

Some other key things that I do want to mention with that is quality of water, your computers and cell phones, like not keeping them around you, although I have mine on my lap right now, but it’s not there normally. And, we have to be careful for all of these things because they influence our environment, influence our health of our body, and our reproductive system. So, environmental toxins is also one that you can control and manage.

The one thing I didn’t say here is what happens if you were exposed to some toxin previously, let’s just say it’s heavy metals. Let’s say you were exposed as a kid, or you work in an environment that has all these toxins. This is where you need to reach out to your healthcare team to discuss what you’ve been exposed to, and what’s the best way to manage that now, all right?

The next one is nutrition. Nutrition is key and a huge foundational piece that everything else needs to be built upon. I’ve done tons and tons of videos on nutrition, so I’m not going to spend a ton of time on it right now. You can check those out later, but nutrition is key. Keep it simple for yourself. Don’t eat junk. Stay away from packaged foods. Eat fresh foods. Drink water, primarily. Don’t drink sodas. Non-processed foods. Reduce the sugars. Eat good, whole foods. The more you cook at home for yourself, the more you can control what goes into your body, which is key. And most of all, if you can do this, purchase produce and food that is organic because it’s going to nourish your body more than the conventional food that you potentially eat.

All right, drugs and alcohol. So, these are two variables that I think we do need to spend a little bit of time on. Medications. Any medication that you’ve taken does influence the health of your body. Hopefully it’s helping, but it does have side effects. Most of them do, right? Including the birth control pill. It has side effects, dramatic side effects, and I’m not a fan of you being on them. If you’re on it, I would prefer that you find a different way for contraception. But all medications, all drugs do or can influence the health of your body.

When we’re talking about drugs, start to stay away from all the recreational drugs. Alcohol is one of them. All of these things start to damage the cells, damage the health of the eggs, and diminish the quality of the eggs that you are producing. So marijuana, alcohol, these are key things that we want to get away from. Also, we might actually lump into drugs or recreational drugs, we might put in caffeine actually because as much as caffeine is beneficial, it does have some negative effects around fertility and pregnancy. So these are things that we want to mitigate and decrease.

For all of you smokers out there, you can reduce, you can lower, you can stop smoking. I want to encourage you to do that. I just had a woman who I started working with, and she stopped three months ago. Is that potentially too late? Maybe, but it’s better that she stops now than keeps going and just keep saying, “Well, I’ve been doing it my whole life, so why not continue now?” No, the more you can stop smoking and the sooner you can do it, the better you can improve your egg quality and the health of the cells that your body produces.

Stress. The big one. Listen, stress affects everything. There are thousands and thousands of research studies, how stress impacts any health condition and makes it worse, right? Fertility is absolutely no different. I speak to so many of you and review your lab work and see that it’s really not a fertility issue. FSH looks awesome. AMH looks great. All your hormones look amazing. So why aren’t you getting pregnant? And the thing I keep coming back to is stress. So we’re not going to make stress go away, but I want you to know that you can manage your stress better. You have to prioritize it. This is such a key component to your reproductive health and the health of the eggs that you produce. I know it doesn’t seem to make sense to many of you, but I’m telling you, it’s a key variable that all of you have the power to control.

So I want you to start to make changes in your life to minimize stress and improve your egg quality. If you’re constantly running in that hamster wheel and not giving time for you to focus on yourself, on your health, on your loved ones, on the things that you should be doing to take care of yourself now, then you’re going to have a much harder time changing the egg quality and getting pregnant because stress trumps everything. So, if that’s not reason enough to make a change, I’m not quite sure what is, but I want all of you who are not doing the jobs that you should be doing to manage your stress to start making change with that now.

Blood and oxygen flow. We need more blood and oxygenation of ourselves, and we need that to get to our ovaries to focus on the quality of the eggs that we’re producing so we can have good ovarian function, right? So exercise is key here.

Other things that you can do to improve blood circulation and oxygenation of the cells is acupuncture, castor oil packs, abdominal massage. These are all things that improve circulation, especially focused on your pelvic area and your reproductive organs.

The other thing that I do think is important is drinking enough of this, water, drinking enough water to support your health and yourselves. We want to keep those hydrated so that they can also be nourished in that way as well.

And last but not least, we do need to have proper hormone balance. So, if you haven’t had your hormones tested, start there. If you need a resource for getting your hormones tested because your OB-GYN or reproductive endocrinologist won’t test it for you, then in the description below, there’s a link to help you get the testing that you need all on your own. You can order it by yourself.

So you can’t do a video that talks about the eggs and ovarian function without talking about supplements because I know all of you are going to post questions about, “Well, what can I take to improve my ovarian reserve and the health of my eggs?” Well, I’ve done many videos on this specific topic so I’m not going to talk about the supplements that you can be taking to improve ovarian health. But, what I will do for all of you is post a link below to my favorite supplements that can help you improve your ovarian health and function.

I do want to remind you all that just because these are my favorite supplements doesn’t mean that they are the supplements that you should be taking. We all have our unique makeup, our unique issues. And the thing that you need to do is find out and create your unique plan to support you on your fertility journey. This is where you need to work with someone to understand your specific situation. And then, you can come back to my favorite supplements and determine which ones are best suited for you. If you’ve already done that and you know what you need, then awesome, just you use those links to find the supplements that you could use to support your fertility and egg quality and ovarian health. These are the supplements that I have vetted, I have researched, and I approve to be safe for your fertility and egg quality.

And as I wrap this video up, I just want to reiterate to of you that you have the power, right? I keep thinking of that song. I’ve got the power. I’m not good at singing, but you do. You do have the power. You have the power to control and improve your egg quality and your ovarian health. And the steps that I just laid out here are the places that you should be starting to take control and improve your egg quality, and ovarian health. So, if you don’t remember anything else, I want you to take this out of this video. You do have the power to influence and improve your egg quality and ovarian health. And it starts with you. So take control of your fertility and start making changes now.

If you liked this video, then give me a thumbs up because that lets me know what you like, and also lets everybody else know that I’ve produced an awesome video that they need to watch, all right. If you’re not a subscriber to my YouTube channel, then you should be. So make sure you hit that belt to subscribe and find out when I produce a new video to help you on your fertility journey. And most of all, I want you all to stay healthy, stay safe, and stay fertile.

 

 

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