BY LANA SCHWARTZ & TRACY McCUBBIN, MD, ABOIM, ABEM
If you’re struggling to start your family, you might feel overwhelmed by traditional and invasive approaches to pregnancy, like IVF and expensive fertility drugs. We’re here to tell you that there’s another way to increase your fertility! In this article, we will take you into a world of wellness and fertility by discussing the 4 R’s of functional fertility:
• Reveal: discover issues with your reproductive health
• Remove: remove blocks or irritants that may be impacting your reproductive health
• Rebalance: nourishing your body and monitoring your hormones
• Receive: the fertile female mentality
Let’s jump in!
The first R in the 4 R’s of functional fertility is Reveal. In this preliminary stage, we work to reveal blocks or irritants that might hinder your (and your partner’s) ability to conceive. We’ll start by testing a variety of markers of reproductive and hormonal health, like:
• AMH, anti-müllerian hormone: It is an indication of the amount of ova (egg cells) you have
• Progesterone: Essential for preparing the uterus for egg implantation
• LH, luteinizing hormone: Triggers ovulation (release of an egg from your ovaries)
• Sperm analysis: Ensuring that sperm quality and quantity are healthy
These tests provide us with a picture of your reproductive health. From there, we can identify any imbalances or deficiencies that might impact your fertility. That way, we can create a personalized plan to remove them. That brings us to our second stage: Remove.
In this stage, we work to eliminate any blocks or irritants that could be the root cause of the reproductive health issues we revealed in the first stage. We start by addressing your exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, like bisphenol A (BPA).
Endocrine-disruptors like BPA are chemicals that interfere with your hormone regulation, which could be contributing to your fertility struggles. They are found in cosmetic products, plastics, cleaning products, and even household dust. We can help you limit exposure to endocrine-disruptors by suggesting endocrine-friendly products. And our nutritionists can help you remove inflammatory and hormone-disrupting foods from your diet. Removing these irritants will help your body proceed with what it was naturally designed to do: conceive!
The third stage of functional fertility is Rebalance. Here, we work to restore the balance of your reproductive hormones.
To recap: first, we revealed which part of your reproductive health was struggling during the first stage. In the second stage, we removed potential causes of your reproductive imbalances. In the third stage, we provide targeted support to help your body rebalance and get back on track.
We begin with nutritional changes to help nourish your mitochondria, balance your blood sugar and your hormones. We pair this with supplements that support hormonal and reproductive health, such as prenatal vitamins and CoQ10. Prenatal vitamins are essential for creating an optimal environment for pregnancy and providing your (future) baby with essential nutrients for growth. It is important to take a high quality, nutraceutical grade prenatal vitamin. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that regulates cell metabolism and has been shown to improve fertility in both men and women.
Receive is the fourth and final R in the 4 R’s of functional fertility. In this stage, we focus on a fertile female mind-state. Before you scroll past this section, hear us out: stress can impact fertility significantly. Keeping your stress hormones regulated is crucial for conception!
We work on promoting relaxation and activating the parasympathetic nervous system to support our fertile female mind-states. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for reducing stress, resting, and digesting, among other things. Part of embracing a fertile female mind-state includes:
• Trusting your body
• Prioritizing self-care
• Taking time for yourself
• Leaving the “go-go-go” mentality in the past
• Get out of your masculine energy and embrace the feminine
• Having grace for yourself: let go of the stress that being a perfectionist can bring
By reducing stress, we can create a supportive environment for conception. This stage is crucial to achieving your goal of starting a family.
If you are having trouble with fertility, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Radiance Functional Medicine uses the 4 R method – Reveal, Remove, Rebalance, Receive. Let us get you and your body ready to conceive. We have a great track record!