Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, Director of Fertility Preservation at Fertility Centers of Illinois, gives insight on keeping your eggs healthy:
1. Stay Away from Cigarettes.
Smoking speeds up egg loss in the ovaries, a permanent side effect of smoking that cannot be undone. Chemicals in cigarettes mutate the DNA in egg cells, rendering some unviable for conception. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, and this number reduces with age, so it is best to keep eggs healthy and free of unnecessary chemicals.
2. Manage Stress.
Stress can produce hormones such as cortisol and prolactin that can hinder or halt ovulation, which also hinders egg production. Keep stress at bay with stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, exercise or a warm bath.
3. Eat Healthy.
Just like healthy foods improve overall health, they can help your eggs stay healthy and boost fertility as well. Load up on leafy greens, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, fresh veggies, and fruits. Stay away from trans fats, refined carbs, processed foods or meats, and excessive salt and sugar.
4. Achieve a Normal BMI.
Obesity has also been found to alter mitochondrial function and increase oxidative stress, leading to reduced fertility and egg quality. It can also alter hormonal balance, disrupting ovulation. Work towards achieving a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5-24.9. To give you an idea of what that looks like, a woman that is 5’6” falls within a normal BMI with a weight range of 115-154 lbs.
5. Boost Blood Flow.
Good egg health is aided by oxygen-rich blood flow to the ovaries. Blood flow in the body can quickly decrease from dehydration, so aim to drink 64 oz. of water each day. Yoga is a healthy and relaxing way to improve blood flow, with poses such as the lotus pose, child’s pose, reclining hero and seated forward bend offering a specific fertility benefit.
6. Invest in Supplements.
No need to break the bank on vitamins, but there are three low-cost options that can help with egg health: Coenzyme Q10, melatonin and fish oil. CoQ10 can boost mitochondrial function as well as antioxidants, improving the quality of eggs (200 mg, 3x daily); melatonin can boost antioxidants, encourage ovarian function and aid in sleep (3mg each evening); and fish oil (EPA/DHA) can help produce higher quality eggs and help reproductive function in advanced maternal age (1200-1500mg EPA + DHA daily, do not exceed 3000 mg/day).
7. Freeze Your Eggs.
If you are planning on delaying motherhood, the best way to protect your fertility future is to stop your biological clock and freeze your eggs. With time, a woman’s natural fertility declines, but frozen eggs remain the same biological age as when they are cryopreserved, boosting your chances of future success.
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