5 Ways to Improve Egg Quality
What is Egg Quality & How Can You Improve It?
People talk a lot about the importance of having “good” egg quality, so it may be helpful to start with an explanation of what that actually means. Basically, a good quality egg has the potential to become a healthy and viable pregnancy after fertilization. This is huge, since only about a third of fertilized embryos actually survive to become a baby and egg quality plays a role in that. One of the main issues with poor egg quality are chromosomal abnormalities, which until recently people assumed were mostly the result of someone’s age. However, we are now seeing the impact on egg quality is not only determined in the 30-40 years of a person’s life but really more focused on the last stage in the egg’s development (the roughly 90 day’s prior to ovulation). This stage is so critical and it is during this time that eggs are highly susceptible to environmental, chemical, hormonal and nutritional factors. This is truly exciting since it means that by changing our diet, lifestyle and toxic exposures a few months before ovulation, we can increase the odds of an egg maturing properly, being fertilized and ultimately leading to pregnancy.
So having said all that, here are some of the top ways to optimize our egg quality:
1) Avoid sugar. The higher the blood glucose level, the more insulin is released, which can negatively impact egg quality and affect reproductive hormones. Here's the Bird and Bee list of all fertility killers you need to know about now.
2) Eat a low glycemic load diet that is rich in fats and make sure you stay adequately hydrated. Avoid trans fats and include foods like fatty fish, avocado, nuts and seeds and low glycemic load carbohydrates such as quinoa, berries and sweet potato. More on eating for your fertility here.
3) Address any underlying medical issues such as vitamin D deficiency and hypothyroidism that could be affecting health and egg quality. Here's a Bird and Bee starter list on tests you need to take.
4) Decrease exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, most notably BPA and phthalates. Some ways to do this include getting rid of plastics in your kitchen (replace with glass, stainless steel, and ceramic). Use cans that are BPA-free, green your beauty/cleaning products, avoid products with fragrances in them and try to buy organic food whenever possible (or at least aim to avoid the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen).
5) Take a good quality prenatal, which includes folate and consider supplementing with Coenzyme Q10, which has good research in showing support for healthy egg and embryo development. (Check out our full supplement list).
It may be challenging for some to have to wait a few months before trying to conceive while implementing these changes; however really focusing on enhancing your egg quality now will increase your chances of conceiving down the road.
xo Allison for The Bird and The Bee
Allison Martineau has over 10 years experience working in health and nutrition. She has a passion for sharing her nutritional strategies with expectant and new families to make cooking and eating for health during the preconception, pregnancy and postpartum periods simple and convenient. Allison runs a nutrition practice called Sweetpea Nutrition in Toronto. She has a Bachelors of Health Sciences and a Masters in Nutrition and Public Health (BHSc, MSc).