As you know, for most health conditions we normally recommend improving your diet and your lifestyle. I had a couple get in touch with us lately who were told to live a healthier lifestyle and improve their diets by a clinic. As far as she was aware, she was doing these things. There are many things that we can do on a regular basis at home that can improve our fertility. Our top suggestions are below, and I hope they can be useful.
Number One - Reduce the alcohol
Alcohol is a toxic substance that can have a dramatic impact on our fertility parameters. A relatively moderate intake of alcohol, of just five units per week is linked to poorer sperm quality in otherwise healthy young men, suggests research. Drink nothing in excess and try stay away from binge drinking at the very least.
Number Two - Stop smoking
I understand that trying to stop. or stopping altogether is difficult, but when it comes to your fertility it is detrimental to the highest degree. According to Dr Geetha Venkat, director of the Harley Street Fertility Clinic, “when you smoke, more than 7,000 chemicals spread through your body, which hinder ovulation, damage eggs and sperm motility.” It interferes with DNA of both sex cells, nutrient absorbtion, hormonal patterns, and so on. It just has to stop, and for non-smokers, be wary of secondhand smoke if you are in such social circles.
Number 3 - Eat proper meals
We have all done it - skipped breakfast for the bit of extra 'snooze,' time, missed lunch because of deadlines, or gave in to the takeaway on the way home. When you don't eat wholesome meals (or consistently eat refined foods), your body releases adrenaline and cortisol. Over time, both these hormones, when used in excess, can cause hormonal problems in men and women. Proper meals are the building blocks to create proper cells and providing the body with energy. If you are a serial skipper of meals, pack the car with healthy snacks and fruits, smoothies and juices (homemade) and go for a healthier take away than the chipper.
Number 4 - Exercise and activity
At times, I dislike the word 'exercise'. I am more fond of asking people to be more active. Exercise conjures up images of gyms and running miles etc. What I am thinking about is getting more active. Yes, some strenuous exercise is always going to be of benefit to your overall health, but in many cases, being active and breaking a sweat is more than enough. I was speaking to a nurse last week who was trying to conceive but didn't have time to exercise. Already one of her favourite pastimes is running up and down her stair case as often as she can. With long hours and depleted energy after her shift, going to the gym or getting outside was unlikely. There was even a receipt for a set of ankle weights sent over to me. Simple things like this can make a big difference.
Number 5 - Be mindful of your stress levels
Stress, reducing stress, stop being so worried etc. - I imagine that most of you are relatively fed up of being told this; I know I am when it comes to work. You need to relax more, take breaks and reduce stress. Well, sometimes that just isn't possible. For those of you in this boat, it is all about maximising efficiency. IF you have to work, you have to maximise the time you are in work and the times when you are not. Meditation (even for five minutes), deep breathing, a walk from away from the computer, reaching out to friends/ counsellors, laughing, music/ reading and darkness (providing you are ok with this) can all reduce stress, which can be done at your desk or in the car. Where possible, take that break and unwind; even if it's just a little, it will make a big difference!
A lot of these tips were used in our recent clinical study and go hand in hand with improving male and female fertility.