Fertility and Gluten - Should You Really Be Gluten-free?
Is There A Connection To Gluten And Infertility?
Jeiran, our B&B expert, (long ago) recommended I go gluten-free and low to no sugar. I promptly ignored her, cause, cookies, sandwiches and pasta, am I right? TTC is stressful and I often have needed to lean on my old friend Burgundy Steak Panini from Masa of Echo Park. (We all have our comfort food thing, love to hear yours in the comments).
Jeiran is right and we do recommend examining your gluten sensitivity if you have unexplained fertility. My doc shirked when I suggested as much, until I went on an info expedition and found studies that link the two. Even if you don't have typical or glaring signs of gluten sensitivity, since there is also a "silent" celiac. As my own little homage to Tim Ferris, I tested my celiac and did come out normal.
Regardless, I like the idea of cutting out the white (as does nearly every dietician out there) and replacing it with healthy grains to fill those hard-carb cravings. I've even made gluten-free tortillas (meh) and garbanzo bean flour chocolate chip cookies (f***ing incredible)! Which when I stumbled upon the recipe I felt like I found the Answer To All My Problems, or at least my need to self-sooth with healthyish options. Stay tuned, I have an incredible interview with a eating-for-emotion expert out of Israel releasing soon, join the newsletter to stay current.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Gluten has been found to inhibit fertility. Most infertility is marked as "unexplained infertility" some of these unexplained causes could be gluten sensitivity. Increased prevalence of undiagnosed celiac disease has been found with unexplained infertility in the U.S., as noted in a study published in the US National Library of Medicine Nation Institutes of Health. The study examined the "prevalence of 'silent' celiac disease in a female infertility population." (J Reprod Med. 2011).
Not only does it have an effect on fertility, but has continues to effect miscarriage and pregnancy health. "Aside from the effects on fertility noted earlier, CD is also associated with multiple complications in pregnancy including high miscarriage rate, intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight and preterm birth [64–70]. Furthermore, there is reasonably good evidence to suggest that the rate of adverse outcomes is reduced with early diagnosis and treatment with GFD." (Womens Health (Lond Engl) PMC 2011 Jul (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046043/#!po=92.5000)
It also leads to nutrient depletion resulting from associated changes to "the small intestinal singing following exposure to gluten which a 2007 study published in GUT indicates can occur in those with and without celiac disease, i.e., everyone. These nutrients are vital to proper hormonal signaling including LH and FSH production (ovulation managers), DNA production, and oxygenation." (http://kellybroganmd.com/gluten-got-baby-gluten-causing-infertility/).
Eat a nutrient dense diet, full of dark leafy greens, healthy fats, proteins and whole gluten-free grains. What are those? I didn't know either!
Whole Grains that are Naturally Gluten-Free
(These also are low-carb which is great for staying fit)
- Amaranth. High in lysine, great for calcium absorption and to help curb cold soars if you get them like I do the moment I spend too much time with family or am otherwise stressed.
- Buckwheat. One of the healthiest, nuttiest, whole grains, and *trumpets* it's not a wheat. Buckwheat is related to rhubarb and sorrel. It's high in fiber, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, provides highly digestible protein and is dense in vitamins and minerals.
- Millet. High in b-vitamin, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. Magnesium is a natural stress reliever, and cortisol levels are high in magnesium deficient people (stress hormone that affects fertility). Sold!
- Quinoa. One of the most protein-rich foods out there, with twice as much fiber as most other grains (as much as 17-27 grams of fiber per cup!). Quinoa also contains iron, lysine, magnesium, and B2.
- Wild Rice. High in fiber, good source phosphorus, zinc, and folate. Folate is essential for getting pregnant as well as maintaining a pregnancy.
- Sorghum. Rich in niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium, a great source of protein as well.
- Teff. An ancient East African cereal grass and a nutritional powerhouse, super high in calcium, vitamin C, manganese among many other minerals.
Gluten Free Flours
- Coconut Flour. (I tried, but it tasted strange and it never really clicked. I recently started to play with Garbanzo Bean Flour and it's been great, but don't do what I did and get so excited I over-used it and now kinda can't stand it's distinct taste).
- Garbanzo Bean Flour
- Oat Flour
- Brown Rice Flour. I've been enjoying this one.
- Almond Flour
- Sorghum Flour
THE NITTY GRITTY