Immunity & Your Fertility - Protecting Your Health During IVF, IUI & TTC
What Are The Best Fertility-Safe Ways To Ward Off Colds And Flus?
I'm nutso about guarding my health before a round of IVF. Who wants to drop $15-25k and risk *anything* compromising the cycle, particularly some nut-butt at work/yoga/cafe spreading their flu. Not on my watch and not on yours either Little Birds. Below are the Need To Know Now's so you can keep immunity immaculate leading up to a procedure. The less inflammation (lots of inflammation when you have a cold/flu) you have in your body, the easier it is for the body to focus on supporting conception or a pregnancy rather than being distracted fighting off extracurricular infections.
Be protective of your body, mind, and spirit while TTC and particularly while ramping up for a fertility procedure:
Oil of oregano is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral.* It comes in capsules that you can take daily. Find them at Whole Paycheck, or any other health food store. Oregano also has properties that may help reduce a cough and spasms, and treat intestinal worms and other parasites.** Yum.
This is the one I personally buy. Let me know if you like a different brand, or if a brand wants to send us some and we'll do a giveaway! Ha Free Stuff for 'dem Birds.
*Not recommended to take once you are pregnant. Take only while trying to conceive, particularly around flu season or once you feel that cold-coming-on feeling.
ADD SOME SPICE TO LIFE
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial agent.*** It's also a natural liver detoxifier (yeah, whiskey wine detox), a natural painkiller, a cox-2 inhibitor (rad), and has been long used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression (amazing). More specifically, it's the chemical compound Curcumin in turmeric that does all this good. Black pepper enhances the bioavailability of the turmeric, or curcumin, which means without co-ingestion of black pepper curcumin gets metabolized before it can get absorbed. Buy a supplement that has both, or use black pepper and turmeric together when cooking. I add them to soups, pasta (gluten-free), roasted chicken rubs, salad dressings, etc.
*Important! This is for the Birds but not the Bees. One study I read said that turmeric in heavy amounts can reduce sperm count or productivity. WebMD says it's "likely safe" in food while pregnant and "likely unsafe" in medicinal amounts during pregnancy.
SALT WATER GURGLE
This will hands down tame a sore throat as it dehydrates and shrinks bacteria in the mouth, and depending on the kind of salt you use, can be an all-in-one supplement for potassium, aluminum, fluoride, phosphorus, silicon, manganese, calcium, sulfur, copper, and zinc.**** Use Himalayan pink sea salt (very important for the extra mineral benefits and purity) in a 1/4 teaspoon: 8 oz warm water mixture. The high mineral content and anti-inflammatory properties makes this oldie-but-goodie gargle an excellent natural cold buster.
TURN LEMONS INTO IMMUNITY LEMON-AIDE
This is my favorite health tonic if you feel the slightest cold coming on, but is also good as a general immunity supporter.
Combine the following, then get your drank-on.
Squeeze 1-3 lemons (crazy amounts of vitamin C)
Warm a little honey and cayenne in a small amount of hot water to dissolve
Add honey and cayenne to the lemon juice
Why is this good for you?
Lemon juice has potent amounts of vitamin c as well as unique phytonutrients.
Honey is antibacterial, dense with enzymes and probiotic properties, Manuka Honey, in particular, has been found to stimulate the production of immune cells according to a study at the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK. It is also a humectant and good for the throat.
Cayenne is an overall stimulant, improving blood circulation and lymphatic health. It also feels like it "opens up" the nasal passage, throat, and chest if you have a lot of phlegm.
FOOD IS MEDICINE
According to Harvard Health Publications, various micronutrient deficiencies (i.e deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, C, and E) alter immune responses in animals. The best form of micronutrients can be found in good food- secondarily in supplement form (buy naturally derived rather than synthetically derived).
There's almost no greater help you can give your health and immunity while trying to get pregnant than eating nutrient dense plant based foods and well-rounded grains (sorry no Whole30), particularly focusing on those that fortify the reproductive systems as well as those that aid in balancing hormones. See more here.
SLEEP IT OFF
In a study published by the American Journal of Cardiology, sleep deprivation is now linked to cardiovascular risk factors including blood pressure, glucose metabolism, hormonal regulation, and inflammation.*****
In other words, bad man. Lack of sleep screws with your hormones (normal hormone functioning is essential for baby-making), and causes inflammation. Aim to get anywhere from 7-9 hours a night of deep sleep where you cycle through REM often. I use the Sleep Cycle app to monitor the quality and length of my sleep. It's sorta creepy as it gauges your sleep by either sound or movement, so it's listening, haha, but, I love to track the quality and amount of sleep I'm actually getting. Keep in mind, alcohol reduces the ability to get that good REM sleep which is what you need for regeneration.
Wash your hands like you have OCD. Do it often, ask your partner to do the same to limit the germs brought into the house. Have olive oil by your sink, massage into your hands while still wet- it's incredibly moisturizing, has natural vitamin E (1.94 milligrams per tablespoon), and is a natural antiseptic.
MARATHON BOOT CAMP CROSSFIT BARE KNUCKLE BOXING
As I enter a new cycle of IVF, I've had to give up my boxing, boot camp crazy-pant workouts. Also, weight gain, but that's another post. Why give up these more brisk and ostensibly self-abusive forms of exercise? On a milder level, I want to embody more of the feminine energy, ready my body to receive and not indulge in the testosterone fight or flight tough girl stuff. I want to flow and chill and de-stress, but also, logic and science. We want to avoid breaking down the body or causing too much inflammation while TTC. You know what that's like to be sore for days, you know those times you work out so hard you feel a little low the next day or you feel so broken down you get sick shortly after. Avoid these types of workouts and opt for gentler versions, like walks, hikes, yoga, swimming is also great. Body balance is key. Listen to what your body is telling you and do the amount that feels right- the amount that acts as a natural stress reducer, getting you into your Zone. The Bone Zone. If you'd like to cultivate your body-listening skills, check out this out.
THE NITTY GRITTY
*****Cardiovascular, Inflammatory, and Metabolic Consequences of Sleep Deprivation. Mullington, Janet M. et al. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases , Volume 51 , Issue 4 , 294 - 302. http://www.onlinepcd.com/article/S0033-0620(08)00091-1/abstract
(No conflicts of interest present in the above sources)