A Functional Approach to Fertility

We joined forces with the Yinova Center and Parsley Health for an interactive panel discussion covering the lesser-known elements of fertility related to nutrition, testing, supplementation and the Chinese medicine approach to pre-conception and pregnancy.

We touched upon the common misconceptions about nutrition, including whether or not soy is detrimental to fertility and specific foods that some women may want to avoid in order to lower inflammation (i.e. gluten, conventional dairy, alcohol), as well as discussing our fertility boosting meal plan of course.

Get A Functional Medicine Professional In Your Corner

Dr. Ruvin, a functional medicine doctor at Parsley Health, detailed her approach to helping clients with fertility. This includes everything from starting to see a patient 1 year in advance to beginning early testing for specific genetic markers or abnormal lab levels that may inhibit a pregnancy, to how she designs a supplement regime for her patients and which supplements every woman who is trying to conceive should be taking. It’s key to see a doctor as early as possible to begin testing (genetic, biomarker, gut microbiome, heavy metal levels etc.) this will help make the road to fertility easier by allowing the doctor to tailor a program to you as an individual. Seek out a doctor or naturopath who specializes in functional medicine.

Acupuncturist Dr. Kelsey Tangel of the Yinova Center, explained the Chinese medicine approach to fertility and how it works in conjunction with a Western approach. She helped de-mystify how ear seeding works, and the 5 archetypes in Chinese medicine. We learnt how acupuncturists can play a huge role in helping women through fertility and pregnancy.

Supplement the Right Way

Supplements every woman should consider taking in the 3-6 months leading up to conception include: EPA/DHA, Folic Acid, Choline, CoQ10, N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), good quality Prenatals

Boost Gut Health & Nutrition

Fixing gut and microbiome issues (like SIBO, for example) prior to conception can increase your odds of success. You will also want to focus on consuming high quality protein such as grass fed beef, pastured eggs and chicken, and wild caught fish. When it comes to fish, avoid high mercury fish (tuna, swordfish, other larger fish) and opt for small, oily fish like anchovies, sardines and mackerel. Eat a variety of colored vegetables - “eat the rainbow”. Smoothies are an easy way to pack in a wide array of nutrients, just make sure to lightly steam any greens you include (collards, kale, chard) to maximize their nutritional benefits.
Ensure quality fats are included in your diet (nuts, avocado, etc), and avoid foods that cause inflammation, which can inhibit fertility. These include some oils (corn, soy, sunflower, canola and safflower), most alcohol (limit drinks and stick to lower inflammatory alcohols like mezcal, tequila and vodka), refined sugar, conventional dairy and non-organic produce.

Amp Up Your Lifestyle, Acupuncture & Relaxation

You want to be careful not to over-exercise when trying to conceive: balance out your HIIT training or heavy cardio with strength training, yoga, dance or other enjoyable activities that will allow your body to recover completely.
Regular acupuncture is clinically shown to increase blood flow, improve brain function and improve embryo implantation rates. Acupuncture is typically recommended approx 1-2 times per week and it’s ideal to start approximately 3 months prior to when you are hoping to conceive. Ear seeding targets specific points in the ear that are directly correlated with parts of the body and their function. Ear seeds can be a great way to extend the benefits of your acupuncture session.
Favor the parasympathetic nervous system always! Keeping sympathetic nervous system responses at bay through exercise, deep breathing, meditation, and walks.

Dr. Mandy Messinger

Dr. Mandy Messinger a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a certified yoga and pilates instructor and a biohacker. She has deep roots in physical movement as a former competitive figure skater, and is extremely passionate about and self-educated in the fields of functional nutrition and biohacking.

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