IVF Lifestyle Overhaul: My Fertility Diet

Vital Propteins Collagen Peptides 365 Organic Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate Jade Leaf Organic Japanese Matcha 365 Organic Pumpkin Seeds Navitas Organics Organic Chia Seeds

When my husband and I embarked on our unexpected IVF journey, we would have never imagined how much lifestyle reflection & research we would end up undertaking in an effort to improve egg, sperm & embryo quality.  When our first egg retrieval failed to result in any viable embryos and being diagnosed with a diminished ovarian reserve, my Reproductive Endocrinologist highly recommended that I consult with a specialized nutritionist to help analyze my current deficiencies and any possible toxicities in my system that could be improved upon.  I eagerly made an appointment with a very highly respected nutritional scientist in LA, who ran a series of intensive blood and urine panels that assessed my nutritional levels for the past 3 months.  The results were so eye-opening!  Obviously, each person’s results and subsequent recommendations will be completely different and this needs to be considered alongside any doctor’s orders.  For me personally, there were quite a few specific supplements I was able to add to help boost deficient elements in addition to some supplements that helped cleanse some toxic heavy metals.  I was, however, able to extract some general rules of thumb for all from that nutritional consultation. After my consultation and to this day, here is what my (& my husband’s) diet centered around and what I was told to avoid during our journey to and through pregnancy and beyond:

**Please note that this is only intended to be a helpful guide of what I did during my personal fertility journey and should not be a substitute for any medical advice.  I am not a medical professional.  My goal is to share the knowledge that I discovered to help give as much food for thought as possible to anyone going through a similar journey.  Additionally, I do strongly encourage any and everyone at any point in their lives to do nutritional testing as it offers such a wealth of helpful personalized insight.**

WHAT TO EAT:

  • All organic foods
  • More protein
  • Minimal caffeine (daily max. = 1 cup of coffee or 1.5 tsp of matcha green tea powder – I use Jade Leaf Organic Matcha)
  • Low carb: no rice of any kind (as it often has heavy metal contamination) instead choose quinoa
  • Low sugar: instead use organic stevia or organic monk fruit sweetener
  • All natural ingredients, avoid preservatives – buy everything fresh
  • Grass-fed red meat 3x/week (Nick’s Sticks grass-fed sticks were highly recommended as an on-the-go snack) – NEVER eat non-grass-fed red meat
  • Gelatin: use the recipe on the back of the Knox unfavored gelatin box with an organic juice – eat a handful of the jello blocks a day to help remove heavy metals & increase homocysteine & lysine, if needed
  • Nuts: walnuts (good for omega-3’s), almonds (good for magnesium), pecans (good for fiber), Brazil (max 2/day for selenium)
  • Seeds: chia seeds (high in fiber & Omega 3’s), hemp seeds (high in fiber, folic acid, protein & Omega 3’s) , pumpkin seeds (good source of magnesium)
  • Lots of different veggies (at least 3 cups a day)
  • Lots of cilantro & fresh chopped garlic, not from the jar! (both help detox heavy metals)
  • Collagen protein (these are the 2 brands recommended to me: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides & Great Lakes)
  • Organic Açaí Bowls (for the antioxidant benefits)
  • Kimchee (fermentable fiber)
  • Almond milk: make sure the brand does not contain carrageenan (I use Whole Foods 365 Organic Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
  • Warm Foods: my Reproductive Endocrinologist recommended warm foods over cold foods such as steamed veggies vs raw veggies
  • Sweat: while this is not a nutritional tip, it helps to detoxify the body of harmful heavy metals.  Be sure to follow your own doctor’s guidelines on what exercise you can and can’t participate in.
  • Reduce stress as much as possible
  • Acupuncture:  I did not do acupuncture before my 1st retrieval round and unfortunately that round was unsuccessful.  After the disappointment of having no viable embryos, I opted to start acupuncture in hopes that it was help improve blood flow to the ovaries as well as to help me de-stress.  As with all of the changes I made, knowing what helped is a big unknown, but acupuncture definitely did not hurt.  I had the most incredible acupuncturist, Dr. Cathryn Hu in Arcadia, CA, who I have referred multiple people to for various issues and all agreed that she produced real results.  I would highly recommend it
  • Royal Jelly: now this is not an item that the nutritionist or my RE recommended.  It was recommended by my acupuncturist and by numerous women on IVF forums as well as a friend who had done IVF.  My RE was not against me taking it but said she didn’t believe it helps.  Since I wanted to pull out all the stops, I opted to take a teaspoon of this every morning for at least 3 months before and throughout my egg retrieval rounds.  It’s impossible to say whether it helped or not but after taking it, my egg counts did increase slightly. The brand I took was Y.S. Eco Bee Farms Pure Royal Energizer Ultra Mega Strength Royal Jelly in Honey.

WHAT TO AVOID:

  • Excess caffeine
  • No alcohol
  • No sushi (due to the heavy metals that most sushi contains)
  • No tuna of any kind, no swordfish, no sea bass, no halibut, no grouper (stick to smaller fish – shrimp and crab are OK)
  • No kale (because while it is rich in nutrients, it also has the ability to absorb a lot of pesticides & toxic elements)
  • No BPA-lined canned goods (check the labels to ensure they are BPA-free)
  • Cooking with olive oil (when heated, it can become carcinogenic) – instead use oils that tolerate high heat

WHAT SUPPLEMENTS TO BUY:

While each person will have different nutritional needs, the one valuable takeaway was which brands of supplements to buy.  Do not opt for the drugstore variety of supplements as they are not regulated and therefore, the strength/dosage claimed on the label may not be what you are actually getting.  Instead, only buy pharmaceutical-grade supplements, which are regulated and do not have any binders, fillers, dyes or unknown substances.  The following are some brands that are pharmaceutical-grade & can be purchased online:

  • Pure Encapsulations
  • Thorne
  • Metagenics
  • Douglas Labs
  • Integrative Therapeutics
  • Rainbow Light (recommended by my Reproductive Endocrinologist for their Prenatal vitamins)

OTHER LIFESTYLE ADJUSTMENTS TO IMPROVE FERTILITY:

Be sure to check out my other posts on all of the other lifestyle changes we made that helped us improve our fertility:

 

 

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