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How To Improve Your Fertility When Dealing With An Autoimmune Issue

Written by: Monica Cox, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

As you can imagine, autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune thyroid, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis and many others can affect a woman's fertility. These diseases can be linked to the most common fertility issues, including PCOS, endometriosis, premature ovarian ageing (POA), low egg quality and unexplained infertility. [1] [2]


When dealing with a known or suspected autoimmunity, it's essential to rebalance peace within the body. Because let's face it ‒ a body attacking itself is not a hospitable environment for your baby to thrive in! An overactive immune system is at the core of many autoimmune issues, which means your immune system is on overdrive with nowhere to go, so it starts to attack its own body.

You're most likely genetically prone to autoimmune issues, but it's due to years of high levels of inflammation & oxidative stress that your genes are expressing these issues. The good news is that many can reverse or significantly improve their situation with diet and lifestyle changes.


I 100 percent reversed my unexplained infertility after five years of never getting pregnant and two failed IVFs and got pregnant naturally after the doctors told me there was nothing I could do to improve my situation. I discovered I had a silent autoimmune issue, High Natural Killer Cells. My body was attacking the embryos and not letting them implant. On top of that, because of the high levels of inflammation & oxidative stress, I had low egg quality, unstable hormones and short cycles.


My fertility journey exposed my autoimmune issue. But for those who already know about their autoimmune issue, you'll be one step ahead in restoring the peace inside your body and achieving your dream family (along with limiting the medical support you might need).


If you have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility or are struggling with a complex autoimmune disease, you may think the odds are stacked against you conceiving a baby naturally. However, there are many things you can do to improve your situation. By making clean eating a lifestyle (along with movement and good mental health), you can support your body in healing it's self & improve your fertility.


The Autoimmune Paleo Diet [AIP] has been shown to help improve conditions such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Multiple


Sclerosis and Grave's Disease and can be beneficial for women struggling with unexplained infertility and autoimmune conditions such as PCOS, Insulin Resistance or POTS.


Diet was a huge part of improving my fertility & reversing my autoimmune issue. I used an AIP to help me find my top food intolerances and introduce fertility-boosting foods to maximize my chances!


Here are my top 5 AIP-approved fertility foods:


We all know you need to get your green leafy vegetables in, so let's skip that one!

1. Liver- you know you loved it. Okay, love is a strong word, and I know it's hard for most to go there, but it's a must to improve overall health and optimize fertility. Liver is perhaps one of the most nutrient-dense foods, as it is a rich source of folate, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin A. You only need 3-4oz of liver once or twice a week, so it's achievable! Mince it, pate it or hide it – just try your best to get it down!


2. Oily fish, such as mackerel, herring, wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, mollusks, and shellfish, are one of the best sources of omega-3's (aka healthy fat), including DHA and EPA. Plus, oily fish is loaded with selenium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Omega-3's are also anti-inflammatory, therefore helping to reduce inflammation in the body. Obviously, when eating fish, you need to be aware of mercury levels and try your best to get it from a nature-line caught source.

3. Bone broth is a rich source of the amino acids proline, glycine, glutamine, and arginine. The gelatin in bone broth is deeply nourishing, helps heal and seal your gut, and promotes healthy digestion. If bone broth doesn't work for you, use a GAPS meat stock- you'll get lots of the essential minerals, amino acids, gelatin, etc., without the high histamine and glutamic acid found in bone broth.


4. Coconut Oil & Ghee: Between the two of these, you'll be getting K2, fat soluble vitamins A, D and E, and lauric acid, an antioxidant with anti-viral properties that supports our immune systems. These are also a great source of saturated fat, which helps our bodies build up their own fat stores- key to maintaining consistent energy while preparing for and maintaining a healthy pregnancy! High-quality fats like coconut oil & ghee are also crucial for the development of your babes' brain, so keep eating them throughout pregnancy! Both are great to cook with or melt down and use in a hot drink. I keep a tub of coconut oil in the bathroom to use as lotion and makeup remover!


5. Lacto-Fermented Foods: It all starts in the gut – a healthy gut dramatically improves health & fertility. Also, your growing babes' digestive tract will be colonized by the same bacteria in your gut – How amazing is that!?! Lacto fermented foods provide beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and lauric acid, which promote a happy digestive tract. You can easily make them at home or if you buy them, make sure you buy from a source that uses traditional fermentation techniques and are raw and unpasteurized. Make sure you keep an eye on how you feel when eating lacto-fermented foods; not everyone can tolerate them at first!

Follow Monica on her Instagram and visit her website for more info.


 

Monica Cox, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Monica Cox is a top Functional Fertility Coach and Infertility Warrior. She helps women get to the bottom of their fertility issues, using science-based functional medicine to help increase their chances of getting and staying pregnant. She dealt with years of unexplained infertility, failed IVF's & survived several miscarriages before becoming an IVF mom & getting pregnant natural even though the doctors said there was nothing she could do to improve her situation. Author of the best-selling journals Boost Your Embryos, Baby & Me, and Fertility Food and host of the highly popular podcast Finding Fertility, Monica is dedicated to inspiring women to look beyond their infertility diagnosis and take control of their health through clean eating and simplifying their lifestyle. Her signature online program, The Fertility Formula & personal Fertility Focused Coaching, has helped woman increase their chances of creating the family of their dreams.

 

References:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22284905

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24260593

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