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Natural Fertility Support Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Dr. Caleigh Sumner ND
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Natural Fertility Support

What Your Semen Analysis Really Means & How to Get the Results You Want

By | Hormone Testing, Natural Fertility Support | No Comments

A Brief History of the Mighty & Motile

The World Health Organization has the very influential job of determining the reference ranges for semen analysis. These reference ranges were overhauled in 2010 from the previous 1999 ranges, which were much higher. There is no doubt that sperm quality has declined over the past 50 years. Some may argue that it’s due to emerging standards of scientific evidence, but in my opinion the strongest evidence is the western lifestyle: poor diet, toxic exposure, xenoestrogens, electromagnetic frequencies, obesity, sedentary habits, the list is endless.

The 2010 standards are based on the semen of fertile men who fathered children within the 12 months preceding the study. The ranges represent the lowest 5th percentile of these men. Meaning:

1) 95% of men should have higher sperm parameters than the reference range

2) Values deemed “normal” are in fact suboptimal for natural conception

The 5 Ws of Semen Analysis

Who: All men wanting to conceive

What: You ejaculate into a cup. It’s not comfortable, but it’s important. You need to abstain from ejaculation 2 days prior to collecting your sample, but you need to have ejaculated at least 5 days before your sample. This is to prevent DNA fragmentation and death of the sperm, if they sit around for too long they actually kill themselves…

When: Your doctor may advise you to try for a year before going for a semen analysis. This doctor says 6 months is enough waiting, especially if you’re over 35 (it’s not just women who age you know!) Once you’ve completed one semen analysis, repeat testing is recommended in two weeks. Semen is ever changing and one snapshot is not enough.

Where: Most likely in a private room at a fertility clinic (bring your own “motivation”), but you may be given the option of home. If you’re obtaining your sample at home you essentially have to sprint like Road Runner to the lab afterwards because the sperm do not survive long outside of body temperature. It’s not recommended.

Why: To determine if you have sperm (in your semen) capable of natural conception, or if they’re going to need a little help getting to their destination.

The Numbers At a Glance

Parameters WHO 2010 Criteria – 5% percentile What if you want sperm that’s 50% better than your friends?
Volume of semen (ml) 1.5 3.7
Concentration of sperm (per 1ml of semen) 15 million 73 million
Progressive motility *forward moving sperm 32% 55%
Morphology

*normal sperm forms

4% 15%

Other Important Tests For Your Semen

  1. Liquefaction – Your semen should liquefy within 15 minutes so that the sperm can be free to swim
  2. Colour – Semen is grey and opaque. The more translucent it is the less sperm is in it.
  3. pH – Semen has a basic pH of 7-10, this is to help the sperm survive upon ejaculation.
  4. DNA Fragmentation – This is a measure of damaged sperm DNA. A value > 50% is very poor DNA integrity and is linked to poor conception and miscarriage.
  5. Sperm antibodies – These are antibodies the sperm develops against itself. Antibodies affect the sperm’s ability to bind to the egg and for the embryo to develop normally.

 

Beyond Semen: Tests for Whole Body Health

Sperm health depends on whole body health. Blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones, liver health, and weight are all contributing factors to sperm health. Other hormone tests can be run as well.

 

What do the Numbers Mean?

If you score lower than the 5th percentile, the next step is hormone testing and a referral to a urologist to determine the root cause. The most common causes of low sperm counts include:

  • Retrograde ejaculation – semen enters bladder instead of urethra
  • Hypospadias – opening of urethra on underside of penis
  • Cryptorchidism – undescended testes
  • Absent vas deferens – congenital condition
  • Klinefelter syndrome – extra X chromosome without symptoms
  • Varicocele – testicular swelling and block of blood flow
  • STI – chlamydia, gonorrhea
  • Endocrine dysfunction – hypogonadism
  • Metabolic dysfunction – diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • Lifestyle factors – smoking, alcohol, medications, poor diet, sedentary etc.
  • Age – semen parameters decline around age 35-38

What Are Your More Invasive Treatment Options?

Based on sperm concentration:

  • IUI – between 5 and 10 million/ml
  • IVF – less than 5 million/ml
  • Hormone therapy – less than 5 million/ml
  • TESE (testicular sperm extraction) – undetectable sperm but normal testosterone

What Are Your Less Invasive Treatment Options?

It takes 90 days for sperm to mature. Lifestyle has the potential to change EVERYTHING

Lifestyle: YESSES

  • Ejaculate often – every 3 days to prevent DNA fragmentation. Your semen volume may decrease but your sperm concentration will not
  • Wear protection…when playing sports – injury causes the production of sperm antibodies
  • Brush your teeth – periodontal disease is linked to poor sperm quality
  • Sleep well – melatonin is an essential antioxidant for sperm protection
  • Buy organic & filter your tap water – pesticides and chemicals distrust hormones
  • Use a sperm friendly lubricant, like: Yes Baby, Astroglide TTC, and Pre-Seed
  • Foods to incorporate on a daily basis for sperm production & protection: pumpkin seeds, eggs, olive oil, garlic, POM juice, oats, barley, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts

Lifestyle: NOT SO MUCH

  • Chemical sunscreens – contain benzophenones, which are harmful to your testes
  • Direct Wi-Fi – the frequencies and heat from your laptop are damaging, turn your laptop into a standing desk
  • Extreme heat- the scrotum likes a breeze! Avoid seat warmers, hot tubs, long stretches of sitting, skinny jeans, tighty-whities, long distance biking etc.
  • Extremely strenuous exercise – don’t decide to compete in an Iron Man or train for your first marathon while trying to conceive
  • Smoking – including marijuana, it impairs sperm count and motility
  • Alcohol – no more than 3 drinks a week
  • Coffee – no more than 200mg daily (that’s 1 small Starbucks/ Tim’s)
  • Processed meats – they’re full of crap, need I say more

Naturopathic Strategies

Book an appointment . As a Naturopathic Doctor, I use herbs, supplements, nutrition, and acupuncture to help you produce more sperm and optimize the sperm you already have.

  • Your sperm needs fuel just like any other cell in your body and sometimes it needs a little supplemental support
  • Your sperm also needs anti-oxidants and vitamins to protect it from damage
  • Herbs and acupuncture can improve your libido and decrease erectile dysfunction
  • Most of all, I can answer all of your questions and support you through the conception process. Simple solutions can make all the difference

This is What Infertility Looked Like 30 Years Ago

By | Natural Fertility Support | No Comments

This is what infertility looked like 30 years ago, told through the eyes of an “infertile” couple’s daughter (that’s me!)

In honour of Canadian Infertility Awareness week, I sat down with my parents and asked them what infertility looked like over thirty years ago. You see: I am the very happy ending of a ten-year struggle with infertility. Just as you’ll one day share your journey with your baby to be, my parents shared their overwhelming journey with me. They never would have imagined that their daughter would be telling their fertility story, yet here I am sharing it with you!

Their Story

Thirty years ago the fertility world looked a little bit different than it does today. My parents were never offered IVF, but they did undergo a handful of memorable IUIs. In order to get a semen sample for the IUI, my dad was instructed to use the public washroom across the street and have my mom store the sample in in her bra until her appointment. Bra storage isn’t exactly standard care these days. With a different fertility specialist, my mom underwent a laparoscopy to diagnose endometriosis and the doctor forgot to chart his findings and couldn’t remember the results! Needless to say, my parents went through many fertility doctors and refused to settle for one they didn’t connect with. But forget about doctors, my mom said she was so desperate for answers that she sought the help of an astrologist and a psychic and “if there was a Martian trained in infertility” she would have gone to see him too!

Sacrifice

My parents taught me that infertility is paved by sacrifice. They donated their bodies to be poked and prodded and followed a diet that my dad loathingly refers to as “cardboard and vegetables”. My mom said she once found a receipt for a secret chocolate bar in my dad’s grocery bag and completely broke down, refusing to speak to him for days!

There were really awful and devastating moments. My mom vividly recalls being invited to a baby shower where every single woman who attended was pregnant (all too common for women struggling with infertility). My mom said she cried a lot through all of these awful moments, but that it was really important to her that her friends and family know what she was going through. She wrote personalized letters (remember this was the 80s!) to the people in her life so they could better understand her journey and her ever so deserving tears.

Holding Onto Hope

Throughout my parents’ 6 year struggle with infertility, they never gave up hope. They would buy baby clothing and baby books wherever they went because they knew they would be parents, even if it were through adoption. In fact, the public adoption agencies in Ontario were closed thirty years ago so my mom resorted to some very unconventional methods. She wrote letters to high schools (she’s a teacher) explaining her story and asking if there were pregnant teens giving up their children for adoption! She recalls a news story where a couple had twins but only wanted one of the twins, and she somehow found the couple’s contact information and called them directly to tell them she would take one of the babies! I mean, YIKES, the police would be knocking on her door if she had tried any of this nowadays! She was one determined parent.

And Then There Was Me

Of course there’s a silver lining to this story, and that’s me… and did I mention I have two biological brothers too!?! It wasn’t until they saw a naturopathic doctor (and yes, all of their friends thought they were crazy) that they finally got pregnant. It may not be a surprise to you that I was then raised with naturopathic medicine and here I am as a naturopathic graduate with an immense passion and dedication to fertility. I haven’t personally experienced infertility, so when I first started my naturopathic internship I was determined to build a set of resources to help people like my parents.

After spending some time talking to my parents, I asked them to share some coping strategies that made their journey just a little more bearable. Here’s what they had to say:

  1. Tell people what you are going through
    My mom constantly felt guilty for crying when she was “supposed to feel happy” for her pregnant friends. Instead of burying her feelings, she wrote letters (this was 30 years ago when texting wasn’t available) to her friends explaining what she was going through and how it was affecting her life.
  2. Remove negative people from you life
    My parents were not willing to hold space for people in their lives that were not going to support them. When they were getting approved for adoption, they needed letters of recommendation from their friends. One of their friends said she was “too busy to write it”, that friend is obviously no longer in their lives.
  3. Find support beyond your partner
    Even 30 years ago they saw a fertility counselor, both on their own and together. Nowadays there are many amazing online resources and support groups too!
  4. Try not to put your whole life on pause
    Try new things, find some new hobbies, travel the world. It was important to my parents that they have something in their lives besides fertility appointments. They tried every class possible at the local community centre: pottery, basket weaving, calligraphy, soccer, hockey, you name it.
  5. Acknowledge your strength
    My parents certainly acknowledged their sadness after every failed cycle, but they stayed positive and told themselves they would “just try again in two weeks”.
  6. Hold on to hope and be who you are
    Infertility does not make sense and my parents were damned sure they were never going to give up on parenthood…even if my mom had to call every single news station looking for a baby to adopt!

Evidently, a lot has changed in the past thirty years, fertility technology in particular! But the emotional toll infertility takes on a person remains all too much the same. Ask for support whenever you can, and don’t give up until you feel it’s right for you. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll have a daughter who will share your fertility story.

Learn more about natural fertility support, or learn about my healthy conception program.  

Can coenzyme Q10 supplementation make your eggs act a little bit younger?!

By | Fertility Supplements, Natural Fertility Support | No Comments

It’s an unfortunate fact of life: every single day we get a tiny bit older. I truly believe that you’re only as old as you feel, and just because you’ve hit your 35th birthday doesn’t mean you don’t look and feel 25! Unfortunately our eggs, or oocytes, don’t agree with the theory that feeling young at heart makes us look young at heart. As women, we are born with an unchangeable number of eggs. Over time the quality of these eggs naturally declines, regardless of how we feel about it, but it’s not all downhill from there! Although we can’t change the number of eggs we have, we may be able to change the quality of those eggs and quality is more important than quantity, right?! And while we’re on the topic, we can influence the quality and quantity of sperm too!

How can we influence egg quality?

Even though we’re stuck with a certain number of eggs, we can influence the quality of our eggs because they are arrested in a stage of cell division called meiosis I. This means they are not mature and they have not completed cell division. It’s the maturation process that we can influence! Female eggs remain in the early stage of cell division until a woman reaches puberty. Once a woman has a menstrual cycle, a few of these eggs mature each cycle and compete for ovulation and move into the next stage of cell division. This cell division is responsible for dividing DNA and ultimately influencing the end quality of the egg.

Where does CoQ10 come in?

If you remember grade 8 science class (I know that’s a lot to ask) then you’ve probably heard of the mitochondria being the “powerhouse” of the cell. In order for the oocytes to divide efficiently, they need lots of energy from their mitochondria and coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that is essential for providing this energy. Our eggs cannot function without CoQ10, which is why our body naturally makes a certain amount. However, as we get older we produce less CoQ10 and we end up with eggs that aren’t great at dividing and have poorer development.

This lack of mitochondrial energy translates into: difficulty ovulating, trouble conceiving, and in the case of IVF- issues with making an embryo that survives to day 5 to be transferred. Poor quality eggs put you at greater risk of miscarriage due to aneuploidy, a term that refers to an abnormal number of chromosomes in the embryo. Poor egg and sperm quality are major causes of infertility. This can all sound very overwhelming, but CoQ10 plays a role in improving the quality of both eggs and sperm!

The possibilities of CoQ10 for egg development:

  • Decreases the rate of aneuploidy (abnormal chromosome numbers)
  • Boosts mitochondrial function and cell division
  • Increases energy, or ATP, production in the egg
  • Stimulates more eggs to develop in combination with IVF
  • Prevents DNA oxidation, causing damage
  • Induces ovulation in combination with clomid in cases of clomid-resistant women with PCOS
  • Significantly improves endometrial thickness, serum estrogen, and serum progesterone in clomid-resistant women with PCOS
  • Significantly improves clinical pregnancy rates in clomid-resistant women with PCOS
  • Greater concentrations of CoQ10 are associated with higher grade embryos in IVF and better embryo development

The possibilities of CoQ10 for sperm development:

  • Decreases the rate of aneuploidy (abnormal chromosome numbers)
  • Increases energy, or ATP, production in the sperm
  • Prevents DNA oxidation, causing damage (decreases DNA fragmentation)
  • Increases sperm concentration
  • Increases mitochondrial function and sperm motility
  • Decreases abnormal sperm morphology

Wow that’s a lot! Are you hooked on CoQ10? Here’s what you need to know to incorporate it into your life:

If you’ve been to the health food store lately you’ve likely seen the innumerous number of brands and forms of CoQ10. There are two forms of CoQ10 that are important to know: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. They both exist in our cells; in fact our mitochondria depend on the interconversion between the two forms. According to current research, ubiquinol is slightly more readily absorbed in the gut compared to ubiquinone. However, even more important than the form of CoQ10 is the method it is delivered. Since CoQ10 is a fat-soluble substance, it needs to be compounded in a fat-soluble material. This can be tricky to figure out based on a label alone, so it’s best to trust your neighbourhood naturopathic doctor in prescribing the best option for you. You should also refer to a naturopathic doctor to determine the optimal dose to suit your unique needs. Dosing can range from 200-800mg depending on your requirements, but there’s also a maximum amount of CoQ10 your body can absorb at one time.

The take home message:

CoQ10 has the potential to significantly improve egg and sperm quality due to age related decline. It takes both an egg and sperm about 3 months to mature, so if you’re considering fertility supplements you and your partner should begin at least 3 months prior to conception. May you always be ageless, including your eggs!

Book an appointment with Dr. Sumner. Learn about natural fertility support

  References:

Ben‐Meir, A., Burstein, E., Borrego‐Alvarez, A., Chong, J., Wong, E., Yavorska, T., … & Alexis, J. (2015). Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging. Aging Cell, 14(5), 887-895.

El Refaeey, A., Selem, A., & Badawy, A. (2014). Combined coenzyme Q10 and clomiphene citrate for ovulation induction in clomiphene-citrate-resistant polycystic ovary syndrome. Reproductive biomedicine online, 29(1), 119-124.

Barakat, A., Shegokar, R., Dittgen, M., & Müller, R. H. (2013). Coenzyme Q10 oral bioavailability: effect of formulation type. Journal of Pharmaceutical Investigation, 43(6), 431-451.

Turi, A., Giannubilo, S. R., Brugè, F., Principi, F., Battistoni, S., Santoni, F., … & Tiano, L. (2012). Coenzyme Q10 content in follicular fluid and its relationship with oocyte fertilization and embryo grading. Archives of gynecology and obstetrics, 285(4), 1173-1176.

Bentov, Y., Hannam, T., Jurisicova, A., Esfandiari, N., & Casper, R. F. (2014). Coenzyme Q10 supplementation and oocyte aneuploidy in women undergoing IVF-ICSI treatment. Clinical medicine insights. Reproductive health, 8, 31.

Failla, M. L., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., & Aoki, F. (2014). Increased bioavailability of ubiquinol compared to that of ubiquinone is due to more efficient micellarization during digestion and greater GSH-dependent uptake and basolateral secretion by Caco-2 cells. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 62(29), 7174-7182.

Calogero, A. E., Condorelli, R. A., Russo, G. I., & Vignera, S. L. (2017). Conservative Nonhormonal Options for the Treatment of Male Infertility: Antibiotics, Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, and Antioxidants. BioMed Research International, 2017.



5 Ways to Keep Your Testicles (and everything they stand for) in Tip-Top Shape

By | Men's Health, Natural Fertility Support | No Comments

Although I’m not an owner of testicles, testicular health is of the utmost importance to me and it should be to you too. I’ve learned over time from the men in my life that testicles are the sole representation of manhood.

  • If you have a pair it means you are courageous and strong and everyone else should grow some exactly like yours
  • If you have a pair it means you have a strong opinion on boxers, briefs, and of course the aptly named boxer brief
  • If you have a pair it means you’re the master of secret (or not so secret) adjustments
  • If you have a pair it means you can create life even once you’re over the hill
  • And if you have a pair you protect them like your life depends on it because even though they make you strong they can be oddly fragile

So if you own a pair of balls, or even just one, I want to help you keep them healthy. This blog post is dedicated to the health of your nuts and the future spawn they may contain. Here are five ways to keep your testicles in tip-top shape:

  1. Ejaculate often. Very often

    Tell your partner (or yourself) that I said so. If you want genetically healthy sperm, the more you ejaculate the better the sperm DNA will be. Periods of abstinence, even as short as 3 days, increase the amount of DNA in the sperm that is fragmented or broken. The longer the sperm hangs out in the epididymis the more likely it is for the sperm to become damaged. I’m only talking about DNA quality here, if you’re concerned about the quantity of semen you have, you should ejaculate less and save some for later. There’s a test for sperm count, so that you don’t need to guess! Learn more about natural fertility support

  2. Give your scrotum a well-deserved breeze

    Kramer wasn’t messing around when he switched from briefs to boxers. Your precious balls maintain a very specific temperature, 35 degrees Celsius to be exact, to manufacture the highest quality semen. You already know that the scrotum moves depending on temperature, you can thank the cremaster muscle for that. When you’re in the pool the scrotum rises closer to the body to maintain its temperature, and we all understand the consequent phenomenon of shrinkage! But it’s not just water that changes scrotal temperature; sitting for long periods of time at a desk, wearing the latest skinny jeans, placing your laptop on your groin, and putting your cell phone in your pocket all compromise your scrotal temperature. There’s only so much hanging your balls can do to escape the heat of these activities before the sperm starting committing suicide- a process known as oxidative stress mediated apoptosis.

  3. Wear protection… when playing sports

    I don’t now how painful it is to be kicked in the groin but judging by the reactions I’ve seen I’m lead to believe that it’s worse than childbirth. You already know that a jockstrap is your friend, but the damage from a testicular injury lasts much longer than the pain you experience. When the vasculature in the testicle is compromised, i.e. when blood vessels are broken, your body can mount an immune response against your sperm and create antibodies that kill it! Frequent genital infections, and a condition known as varicocele, can also lead to the creation of anti-sperm antibodies.

  4. Let your testicles tan

    What I mean to say is, think twice before you load up on sunscreen. Even though your testicles live in a place where the sun don’t shine, applying sunscreen that contains benzophenones to any place on your body can affect the health of your boys. You can still use sunscreen when you’re on a tropical nude beach, just opt for one without benzophenones.

  5. Brush your teeth and sleep well

    Good oral hygiene isn’t just for real men, it’s for everyone. Believe it or not, but healthy testicles start in the mouth. That’s not a pun. Research is noticing associations between periodontal disease and semen quality. After you brush your teeth, you should get a good night’s rest because the hormone melatonin that you produce while sleeping is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are important for testicular cancer prevention, and all cancers for that matter.

    I hope you use these five simple strategies to take care of your testicles AND your manhood. The next time you tell someone to grow a pair, think about how you’re treating your own!

    Book an appointment with Dr. Sumner. Learn about her healthy conception program

References:

Bozhedomov, V. A., Nikolaeva, M. A., Ushakova, I. V., Lipatova, N. A., Bozhedomova, G. E.,   & Sukhikh, G. T. (2015). Functional deficit of sperm and fertility impairment in men with        antisperm antibodies. Journal of reproductive immunology, 112, 95-101.

Buck Louis GM, Kannan K, Sapra KJ, Maisog J, Sundaram R. Urinary concentrations of             benzophenone-type ultraviolet radiation filters and couples’ fecundity. Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Dec 15;180(12):1168-75.

Klinger A, Hain B, Yaffe H, Schonberger O. Periodontal status of males attending an in vitro         fertilization clinic. J Clin Periodontol. 2011 Jun;38(6):542-6

Moore, C. R., & Quick, W. J. (1924). The scrotum as a temperature regulator for the         testes. American Journal of Physiology–Legacy Content, 68(1), 70-79.

Pons, I., Cercas, R., Villas, C., Braña, C., & Fernández-Shaw, S. (2013). One abstinence day         decreases sperm DNA fragmentation in 90% of selected patients. Journal of assisted r eproduction and genetics, 30(9), 1211-1218.

The ONE Tool You Need To Figure Out Your Hormones

By | Hormonal Imbalance, Natural Fertility Support, Women's Health | No Comments

It’s a thermometer! And it only costs $10.00!

This simple and informative technique is called Basal Body Temperature Tracking

Basal Body Temperature  Tracking is the perfect tool for you if you:

  • experience PMS
  • have painful periods or cramping before your period
  • get hormonal acne or headaches or other hormonal imbalance
  • experience mid-cycle spotting or premenstrual spotting
  • you’re trying to conceive and want natural fertility support
  • you’re trying NOT to conceive
  • you have a really long cycle ( > 35 days)
  • you have a really short cycle (< 28 days)
  • you have an irregular cycle (who even knows when your period comes!)
  • you have just come off of birth control
  • you’re still on birth control
  • you’re curious about your body and want to be empowered!

If you haven’t read my blog titled “How Stuff Works: Pills & Periods” you should read it first to get a better understanding of hormone physiology and the menstrual cycle. In extremely simplistic terms, the first half of your cycle- the follicular phase– is dominated by estrogen. Once you have ovulated and are in the second half of your cycle- the luteal phase– it is dominated by progesterone.  What is unique about these 2 hormones is that they have different thermogenic effects, this means they change your body temperature. If you track your body temperature daily you can chart your hormone patterns and figure out what’s going on in your unique body. Not every girl’s cycle is a perfect 28 days with ovulation on day 14!

Here is an example of a BBT chart using an app called Fertility Friend:

  • The lower body temperatures for the first 14 days show that this gal is in the follicular phase of her cycle
  • The red cross denotes ovulation. You will see that ovulation is the last day of low temperature. Once the temperature peaks, she has officially ovulated
  • As you learned in my other blog post, progesterone is secreted from the corpus luteum which is a byproduct of the egg. Progesterone is thermogenic, as you can see from the elevated temperatures. She is in the luteal phase starting day 15
  • On day 26 you can see that her temperatures are falling, this shows that progesterone is also decreasing and the endometrial lining will be shed
  • You may have noticed that the BBT tracking method is a hindsight method. You will not know that you have ovulated until after you have ovulated and you see a temperature peak
  • After tracking a couple of months of your cycle you will see that you always ovulate at the same time in your cycle so you can plan accordingly for future months

Sweet! Now how do I do this?

I highly recommend you download the fertility friend app so that you can easily record your temperature and the app will make you a beautiful chart and show you when you ovulate with a giant red cross.

Here are the rules:

  • Take your temperature as soon as you wake up in the morning, before doing anything else. The goal is to hardly move
  • Take your temperature at the same time every morning, or as close to the same time as possible (within a 30 minute window)
  • Take your temperature after a solid few hours of sleep (minimum 3 hours)
  • If you want to get really fancy you can take your temperature using a special BBT thermometer that has more than 1 decimal place
  • Enter your data on your chart in your Fertility Friend app
  • The rise in temperature is usually about 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.2 degrees Celsius, but the rise may be as slight as 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.1 degrees Celsius or even less in some cases. Great variability is possible.
  • More important than the value of the rise, is the overall pattern of the chart. Fertility Friend helps you determine ovulation based on the pattern of the chart and all fertility signs. It’s an awesome app

If you have questions about BBT tracking book an appointment

Good Wood: 8 Foods You Should Be Eating To Keep It Up & Running

By | Men's Health, Natural Fertility Support | No Comments

Think of your penis as a heart in your pants…it’s just an extension of your vascular system. Anything that affects your cardiovascular system also affects your penis, this means cardiovascular concerns like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol also affect your ability to get an erection and maintain a full stream of urine. Eating foods that lower cholesterol and blood pressure will do wonders for your genital health for years to come! But that’s not all that affects the function of the penis; you also need a healthy amount of testosterone for optimal penile health. Testosterone is not only important for your manly functions, but also for preventing cardiovascular disease.

Let’s share a little background information on the hormone testosterone:

  • Testosterone is secreted by the leydig cells in the testes
  • There’s also a small amount of testosterone that comes from your adrenal glands
  • Its main purpose is to support spermatogenesis (the making of sperm!)
  • Testosterone is responsible for things that make you manly (muscle, hair growth, deep voice, bone density etc.)
  • There are TWO forms of testosterone in your body: there’s testosterone and there’s dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is much more potent than regular testosterone and binds to receptors like super glue. DHT is mostly bad news. It’s the main culprit in male pattern baldness and an enlarged prostate. It’s all well and good to have DHT in puberty, but after that it’s not so helpful. But don’t worry, there’s food for reducing DHT too!

  • Eating foods that support testosterone production are just as important as foods that support vascular health. Luckily, there are plenty of foods to incorporate in your diet that will do both!

  1. Pumpkin Seeds
    As a fantastic source of zinc; they can increase your testosterone, reduce DHT, and promote sperm count and motility for natural fertility support. You can grind them in a smoothie or eat them as a snack.
  2. Eggs
    Everyone raves about eggs having a complete amino acid profile (which is true), but it’s also true that an egg or three a day can keep “bad” cholesterol away. No need to skip the yolk, the yolk has all the best nutrients and pro-penis-properties.
  3. Soy Beans/ Milk
    The component we’re looking at in soy is beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to lower prostate cancer risk, decrease DHT, increase urinary flow, and inhibit estrogen production. If you’re afraid of soy (there’s no need to be worried when it’s organic and non-GMO) you can opt for rice bran or wheat germ as they have beta-sitosterols too.
  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    It’s part of a wonderful Mediterranean diet and two tablespoons a day can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and make a sweet salad dressing! Drizzle it on everything you eat for more flavour and health.
  5. Garlic
    Two to five cloves a day can lower your blood pressure while preventing erectile dysfunction… just make sure you brush your teeth after you eat!
  6. Pomegranate Juice
    Not the sugary stuff, the real POM juice. It’s a powerful anti-hypertensive and powerful anti-oxidant, which means a more powerful cardiovascular system!
  7. Oats
    Apple crisp, oatmeal cookies, overnight oats- they all have beta-glucan which can lower cholesterol and keep your blood flowing right into your penis.
  8. Barley
    Also a source of beta-glucan to prevent arteriosclerosis and cook a fantastic stir-fry.

Making the right dietary choices will keep your whole body healthy, including your heart and penis. If you stay clear of processed foods and added sugar and always keep moving, then you won’t have to worry about your vascular health! Book an appointment to learn more

References:

Naumann, E., VaN Rees, A. B., Önning, G., Öste, R., Wydra, M., & Mensink, R. P. (2006). β-Glucan incorporated into a fruit drink effectively lowers serum LDL-cholesterol concentrations. The American journal of clinical nutrition83(3), 601-605.

Mutungi, G., Ratliff, J., Puglisi, M., Torres-Gonzalez, M., Vaishnav, U., Leite, J. O., … & Fernandez, M. L. (2008). Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases plasma HDL cholesterol in overweight men consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet. The Journal of nutrition138(2), 272-276.

Stowe, C. B. (2011). The effects of pomegranate juice consumption on blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Complementary therapies in clinical practice17(2), 113-115.

Xiong, X. J., Wang, P. Q., Li, S. J., Li, X. K., Zhang, Y. Q., & Wang, J. (2015). Garlic for hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytomedicine22(3), 352-361.

Moreno-Luna, R., Muñoz-Hernandez, R., Miranda, M. L., Costa, A. F., Jimenez-Jimenez, L., Vallejo-Vaz, A. J., … & Stiefel, P. (2012). Olive oil polyphenols decrease blood pressure and improve endothelial function in young women with mild hypertension. American journal of hypertension25(12), 1299-1304.

Hussain, M., Banerjee, M., Sarkar, F. H., Djuric, Z., Pollak, M. N., Doerge, D., … & Wood, D. P. (2003). Soy isoflavones in the treatment of prostate cancer. Nutrition and cancer47(2), 111-117.

CHIA, S. E., ONG, C. N., CHUA, L. H., HO, L. M., & TAY, S. K. (2000). Comparison of zinc concentrations in blood and seminal plasma and the various sperm parameters between fertile and infertile men. Journal of andrology21(1), 53-57.