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Simple Ways to Help New Parents


 new parents, acupuncture for fertility

When friends or family have just had a baby, it can be hard to know how to help – especially as going around to visit or drop something off might wake them or the baby, or interrupt them when they’re too stressed or tired to deal with visitors. Here are some simple ideas that may make the perfect offering for your loved one.
Food deliveries that can sit on the doorstep are ideal – make a laminated sign that they can stick on their door saying “baby and parents sleeping” so people know that it’s not a good time to knock or ring the doorbell. Ask that people put the food in an esky or send something that won’t go off if it’s sitting outside for a few hours (like dry pancake mix, dry pasta and a jar of good vegetable sauce, etc) while parents and baby are unavailable.
Cleaning services can be wonderful for new parents who just don’t have the time or energy to clean their house – they may not be comfortable with family or friends scrubbing their toilet, so getting a few people to chip in for a professional cleaner might be the best option. Have them come at a regular time every week or fortnight, so that the new parents are prepared for their arrival.
Similarly, a laundry service can be a wonderful thing – organising for them to just put their clothes somewhere that they can be picked up, and then dropped back off clean, dry and folded. A professional service may, again, be preferable here as they may not be comfortable with family or friends doing their laundry.
Many new mothers suffer various aches, pains and issues after the trauma of giving birth – from issues with bladder control to aching muscles. A voucher to come and see a natural therapies provider who can help them alleviate those symptoms can be a wonderful thing – they can book when they have time and feel up to it, and a little pampering and care for them during this transitional period can make a huge difference.

‘Don’t See a Natural Therapist!’

Proper Assessment is CrucialRecently a Facebook post on a local community page was critical of natural therapists, saying you should not see one “instead of seeing a real doctor who uses the most modern, advanced and scientific practices.” This article is based on our reply.

THE ROLE OF NATURAL THERAPIES

I do not believe that conventional medicine always has all the answers. We receive a constant stream of clients coming to us who have been to their doctor or specialist, who haven’t been able to identify what their problem is, or are unable to provide a satisfactory solution for them. Many of these are chronic conditions such as digestive problems, immune problems (including allergies and food intolerances), period problems, fertility, long-term pain, constant fatigue, and a variety of significant chronic diseases, such as diabetes, etc. Natural therapies work by IMPROVING the body and how it is working, to allow the body to heal itself.

As a very basic example, if someone is constantly suffering from colds and flu, we would improve their immune system to help prevent that happening in the future. Since the immune functions are strongly connected to the digestive system, this may involve improving their digestive system also. Conventional medicine usually works on relieving the symptoms rather than improving the body, whereas we believe in treating the causes of the problem as well as the symptoms. Side-effects from natural therapies are very rare, and if you can solve a patient’s health problem naturally, without resorting to drugs or surgery, I think they will usually be better off.

So there is a place for both approaches, hence the term ‘Complimentary Medicine’ for natural therapies. Obviously there will be many cases where conventional medical treatment is important, and there will also be many cases where natural therapies work best. The ideal is for both camps to work together for the highest good of the patient. Hence we have patients referred to us by doctors, and we refer some of our patients to doctors as well.

There are a number of doctors who specialise in ‘Nutritional and Environmental Medicine’, which is virtually what naturopaths do. Please check out the website www.acnem.org/about/what-is-nem for some basic information about the approach of these doctors (and of naturopaths). There are also many doctors who only use acupuncture to treat their patients, or use it in conjunction with conventional medical treatment. I personally have two colleagues who are doctors but choose to practice natural therapies instead, and four other colleagues who practice both as GPs and as natural therapists. So the two approaches are not mutually exclusive.

NATURAL THERAPISTS AS HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

  • These days naturopaths and acupuncturists complete a 4 year full-time degree. These are usually a Bachelor of Health Science through private accredited colleges or a university such as Charles Sturt University, Southern Cross University, University of New England, University Of Western Sydney, University of South Australia, and the La Trobe University. (Our naturopath actually has two Bachelor of Health Science degrees, one in Naturopathy and one in Western Herbal Medicine.)
  • Acupuncturists are also registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which is the government authority responsible for registration of doctors, pharmacists, dentists, podiatrists, etc.
  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) allows properly qualified and registered natural therapists to prescribe ‘For practitioner dispensing only’ products, which are more powerful natural therapy supplements, not available over the counter.
  • All ‘For practitioner dispensing only’ products are formulated from extensive scientific research on the effectiveness of their ingredients for the condition. (Details of this research is available from all ‘practitioner only’ suppliers.)
  • In 1979, the World Health Organization (WHO) journal advised that acupuncture was a remedy for 43 different diseases.
  • Acupuncture treatments are covered under Workcover.
  • It is important to use a natural therapist that is registered with a professional Association. That way you know they will be properly qualified, have to adhere to a professional Code of Conduct, registered with health funds, and required to undertake Continuing Professional Development studies.

As you can see, these days naturopaths and acupuncturists are starting to be recognised as genuine health professionals.

ASSESSMENT

As is the case with all primary care health professionals, it is important that natural therapists can determine when a patient needs to be referred to a medical doctor. This is an essential part of naturopathy and acupuncture courses, and is also a key part of providing the best possible care for your patient.

Every health professional will have their own methods of evaluating the body. For example, a dentist, physio or an optometrist will perform a different examination on a patient to a GP. Our approach to health problems is different to that of medical practitioners, since our aim is to improve the patient’s body so that it can correct the problem itself. To sort out a patient’s health, we first need to be able to evaluate how their body is functioning. Some of the things we may wish to check can be determined by blood tests, so we may request that a patient obtain one if we need to evaluate their iron levels, cholesterol, thyroid hormones, ESR, check their kidney function, etc.

However, there are many things that are important to us that a blood test or scan cannot determine, such as if the patient has low levels of stomach acid (a common cause of many digestive problems), the extent of man-made toxins in their liver, the extent that stress is affecting their nervous system, if they have a chronic sub-clinical sinus infection or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), etc. So naturopaths and acupuncturists have developed their own systems of evaluating the health of different aspects of the body, including whether a particular organ is overactive or underactive. Of course, if something showed up as a serious concern, we would refer that patient to a GP for the appropriate medical tests as well.

The Japanese palpation assessment can be used to quickly evaluate how well the digestion, liver, immune system, thyroid, adrenals, large intestine, lungs, and nervous system are functioning. It also indicates the level of toxins in the body, how good the patient’s internal circulation is, their level of stress and anxiety, structural alignment issues, hormonal imbalances, and blood sugar imbalances. It can also be used to confirm the improvements that are taking place in the patient’s body from their treatments.

The ancient Chinese actually knew a fair bit about the body and how it works. For example, they discovered that the heart pumped blood continuously around the body 2,000 years before it was discovered in the west.

PREVENTION

The ancient Chinese had a great healthcare system. Everyone would be under the care of a local therapist (acupuncturist or herbalist), and you paid your therapist while you are well, and stopped paying them when you were not! This not only made healthcare more affordable, but also placed a heavy emphasis on the therapist preventing any diseases developing in their patients.

Unfortunately, Australia is currently heading towards a future health ‘crisis’, with an ageing population and government medical costs increasing rapidly. In the US, it is predicted that by 2025, chronic diseases will affect 49% of the population. People with chronic conditions already account for 81% of hospital admissions, 91% of all prescriptions filled, and 76% of all doctor visits. Australia is expected to follow the same path; people are living longer, but are more likely to suffer from disease and poor health in their later years. Because natural therapies focus on improving the body and increasing the patient’s health, they can play a huge role in the prevention or improvement of many illnesses. (I sometimes jokingly tell my clients that my job is to put the nursing homes out of business.)

Thanks for your interest in this topic Andy. Natural therapies are such a huge area that it is only possible to cover some very basics in a forum such as this. Some things are also far easier to demonstrate than to describe, so if you would like to find out more and experience what we do, it would be worthwhile booking in with us for a free Comprehensive Health Assessment.

Tiredness vs Fatigue

Tired Girl

It can sometimes be hard to tell if we’re just tired, or suffering from adrenal fatigue. Only a trained medical specialist will be able to tell you for sure, but here are some basic hallmarks to help you figure out whether you should see a doctor – or (and!) just try to get some more sleep.

Tiredness:

  • is the direct result of physical, emotional or mental exertion, or lack of sleep
  • can make you feel irritated and forgetful
  • can be relieved through rest alone

Fatigue:

  • has a wide range of causes and contributing factors
  • does not significantly improve with extra sleep and rest
  • can be characterised by any or all of the following: difficulty concentrating, anxiety, a gradual decrease in stamina, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, impaired reflexes/slower response times (both physical and mental), poor immune system, loss of appetite and increased sensitivity to light
  • may result in withdrawal from friends, family and social activities

If you suspect you’re suffering from chronic fatigue, it’s important to see a medical professional sooner rather than later; early detection and treatment can shave weeks, months or even years off your recovery time and rule out serious disease or dysfunction as the cause of your ongoing exhaustion.

How to Choose a Good Massage Therapist

Remedial Massage Brisbane

There was an article in the South West News/ Springfield News (24/2/16 edition) about ‘dodgy’ massage therapists. This topic is of great importance to us, as an entire profession is being tarnished by a small number of unscrupulous or unqualified individuals. We have heard a variety of complaints regarding various massage therapists, ranging from receiving no benefit from a treatment, to worsening their condition, to actual sexual assault. The right remedial massage therapist can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing, by relieving muscular and structural pain, reducing muscular tension, improving your circulation, and relieving accumulated stress in your body. We strongly recommend that anyone seeking a massage treatment observe the following guidelines.

1. Safe Environment?
Never visit a massage therapist in their home, or in an isolated environment, or have them come to your home, unless you are very sure about them.

2. Are They Qualified?
Ask what their qualifications are, and where they studied. If you have any doubts at all, ask to see their diploma or certificate, which should be on display or easily accessible by them.

3. Are They Registered?
Ask if they are registered with a professional Association, and if their treatments are claimable from health funds. Do not deal with a therapist that isn’t registered with an appropriate professional Association!

4. Are They Professional?
You will need to provide your relevant personal information (such as your full name, date of birth, and contact details), particulars of what you are seeking a massage for, the history of your condition, and any other relevant health information. (For you to be able to claim from your health fund, the therapist must carry out a thorough consultation and assessment prior to your massage, and keep detailed records of your treatment.)

5. Professional Premises?
Do the premises look clean and the staff appear professional in speaking with you? Medibank Private will only allow claims for massage treatments carried out in a ‘clinical’ setting, and not a ‘retail’ setting, such as beauty, relaxation or recreation premises. Are the rooms purpose-built with sound reduction to avoid conversations being overheard, or do they just use curtains? How does their website look? Does it have detailed information about each therapist?

For Therapeutic Massage

If you are looking for a therapeutic massage rather than a relaxation massage, please also ask the following.

6. Experience as a Therapist?
Find out how long they have been practicing. It is also worthwhile asking how long they have been working at their current clinic.

7. Experience with Your Condition?
Don’t be afraid to ask this question. Is this an area that they specialise in, or is it something they rarely treat?

For the Best Possible Treatment

It is good to also check

8. If You are Not Happy?
What will happen if you are not happy with your treatment or results that you obtain? (A highly reputable clinic will provide a refund if you are not satisfied with their work.)

9. Clinic or Home?
There is no selection process for a therapist working from their home, or renting a space in another business. A reputable clinic will be very careful about the quality of the therapists that work from their premises. Also, a clinic will normally be able to keep providing treatments for you if your regular therapist is sick or on holidays. And a professional clinic will usually offer Hicaps services, so that you can claim from your health fund on the spot.

Finally, if you are not happy with anything, please complain to the owner, or speak to the therapist’s Association.

As we mentioned earlier, correctly performed massage treatments can make an enormous difference to your health and the quality of your life. Not only that, they can leave you feeling great!

At Centenary Natural Therapies Clinic, we guarantee to have the best therapists in Brisbane- if you think you have had a better massage anywhere else, we will give you your money back! We have chosen the best possible remedial massage therapists, carefully selected for their skills, knowledge and experience. Each of them is fully qualified, has around 15 years experience, and is a member of a professional Association. If you want to quickly and effectively sort out your muscle stiffness or pain, please book in to see us soon.

 

Acupuncture and Fertility

acupuncture in brisbane

Acupuncture reduces stress, which increases fertility

When people are under stress, the hormone cortisol is released in the brain. This disrupts hormone levels, and that in turn impacts fertility – in fact, stress can stop ovulation entirely or cause spasms in the uterus and fallopian tubes (preventing implantation). Acupuncture releases endorphins, which counters the effects of cortisol and reduces stress.

If you’d like to learn more about the use of acupuncture for fertility, we’d love to hear from you – you can get in touch with us here.

All About Vitex

brisbane natural fertility treatmentVitex is another name for chaste tree berry (“vitex agnus castus”), a very popular and effective herbal medicine that has been gaining traction as a fertility drug due to its ability to promote ovulation. Essentially, it does this by preventing your pituitary gland from producing too much prolactin; prolactin inhibits ovulation. It also has opiate-like constituents, which can help calm your nervous system.

While it can do people a world of good, it should always be used under the supervision of your primary care physician, as it’s an incredibly potent herb and can cause more problems than it solves when used incorrectly, or for too long a period of time.

Some things to consider before starting Vitex include:

How long you’ve been off the pill

If you’ve just come off the pill, it’s important to give your pituitary gland and ovaries some time to learn to “talk” to each other again before introducing a strong herb – if you give it some time, you may find you don’t need Vitex at all.

If you suffer from PMS

Vitex is incredibly effective for PMS symptoms; in Germany, it’s routinely prescribed in place of the pill for those looking for a solution to a week of bloating, pain and irritability.

If you’re already taking fertility drugs (including IVF)

Combining Vitex with ovulation-stimulating drugs can result in a serious condition called ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome.

Where you are in your menstrual cycle

Because Vitex is intended to promote ovulation, you should be taking it during your follicular phase (prior to ovulation). If you have irregular periods, it may be difficult for you to determine when that is. A good rule of thumb is to start taking it as soon as your period has ended, and take a break when your next period arrives (taking a break helps it to remain effective).

If you suffer from PCOS

If you suffer from PCOS, Vitex may work well for you; or, it may make things worse. It can raise levels of luteinizing hormone in the body, and for some types of PCOS, levels of this hormone in the body are already way too high.

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While Vitex is available over the counter, again, we strongly recommend talking to your primary care physician before you start taking it as it is incredibly potent, and may not be right for your specific condition.

How Stress Can Affect Your Fertility

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, you’ve probably had dozens of well-meaning friends tell you to just relax, to stop actively trying and it’ll happen. While this gets more frustrating than reassuring very, very quickly, there is a kernel of truth to this: studies show that stress can affect your fertility, and make it much harder for you to fall pregnant.

The pituitary gland is the link between your hypothalamus (brain) and your endocrine system (hormones). It communicates with your ovaries through your bloodstream; first, it releases hormones that tell your eggs to mature, and then it releases hormones that cause ovulation. When you’re stressed, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland are engaged in another chain reaction; the hypothalamus releases a hormone called CRH, which causes the pituitary to produce another hormone (ACTH), which in turn triggers the adrenal glands. This stress circuit temporarily shuts down your other hormonal systems, including reproduction, so your body can divert all of its energy into dealing with the perceived threat.

Or, in simpler terms: if your brain is busy with stress, it may not send the right messages to your ovaries, which means you won’t ovulate. If there’s no egg, the sperm have nothing to fertilise, and you won’t fall pregnant. Even if you are still ovulating, some studies suggest that stress can reduce blood flow to the uterus and cause issues with implantation.

If you’ve got a stressful job or are really invested in getting pregnant (as most prospective parents are), it’s not as easy or simple as just deciding to be less anxious. There are natural treatments like herbal medicine and acupuncture which can help get your stress levels down, and your system back on track, before you decide to try more invasive methods like IVF or artificial insemination. If you’d like to know more, contact the clinic and we’ll be able to provide some natural fertility advice based on your specific situation.

What Your Period Can Tell You About Your Health

It’s easy to think of your period as a curse (especially when you’re trying to get pregnant), but it can be a valuable insight into your overall reproductive health.

Period cramps are common, and are caused by prostaglandin – a hormone involved in pain and inflammation. Severe period pain or a feeling of pressure in your lower abdomen as you bleed are an indication that something isn’t quite right – endometriosis (uterine tissue growing outside the uterus) could be at the root of your agony, or you may have fibroids. The only way to confirm is to see your doctor for tests.

The colour of your period can tell you a lot about your health. There’s three typical colours for fresh blood: strawberry red, blueberry purple/red, and cranberry juice red. If it’s the red-blue colour of blueberry jam and slightly thick, you’re likely to have high estrogen levels; excess estrogen causes your uterine lining to thicken. If your period is a light pink or strawberry jam colour, your estrogen levels are probably too low; your period may also be patchy and off-schedule. Cranberry red is the ideal colour.

The amount you’re bleeding is also a good indicator of where your health is at. If you’re soaking through super tampons within a few hours, you’re at risk for anemia and a wide range of disorders and diseases (such as polyps and tumors). If your bleeding is very light, that’s usually caused by stress, poor nutrition or hormone changes (such as perimenopause or taking hormonal birth control).

Spotting between periods is common when you’re on hormonal birth control; if you’re bleeding between periods and you’re not taking anything, it’s important that you see your doctor to rule out more serious problems.

If your period has disappeared altogether and you’re not pregnant, taking hormonal birth control or going through menopause, it may be due to your weight (extremely low and extremely high body fat can cause amenorrhea) or issues with your thyroid and/or pituitary gland.

If you notice any sudden changes to your cycle, regardless of timing, texture or flow, it’s worth seeing someone to get checked out – at the very least, for your own peace of mind.

The Ideal Fertility Diet

Improve your natural fertilityDoes the right diet help you fall pregnant? Numerous studies have shown that specific changes to the diet can improve fertility, prevent recurrent miscarriages and support a healthy pregnancy. Everything in our body is made up of what we have eaten, so the right nutrition is essential for a healthy body and reproductive system. The building blocks for hormones are found in the foods we eat. The antioxidants, which help protect the egg and sperm from free radicals, come from the foods we eat. And just as the nutrients in foods can improve fertility, there are some foods and chemicals added to foods that can be harmful to your health, falling pregnant and carrying full-term.

What is the Fertility Diet?

The Natural Fertility Diet assists your body in its reproductive efforts. It includes foods which are high in specific nutrients needed for hormone production, hormone function, hormonal balance, foetal development, egg health, sperm health, blood health, and much more. It is a diet that is designed to help your body with any fertility issues that you may have, build up nutrient stores and provide all of the building blocks for a healthy child. It is also focused on giving you a healthy pregnancy and your child the best start in life.

Why Follow the Natural Fertility Diet?

Did you know that

  • There are specific nutrients that are needed by the young foetus before you can even detect pregnancy, and a deficiency in these nutrients could cause serious birth defects?
  • The foods you eat today impact the health of your eggs and sperm 90 days from now?
  • Hormones build themselves from the ingredients you provide through your diet?
  • An important treatment for PCOS and falling pregnant despite PCOS is diet?
  • What you don’t eat is just as important as what you do eat?
  • The number one cause of infertility is anovulation (not ovulating) and that it can often be remedied by changes in the diet?

Eating a Natural Fertility Diet is something everyone can do regardless of age, time, or fertility issue. Since we have to eat, why not eat in a way that improves your fertility?

Natural Nutritional Practices for Healing

Nature has created foods to help nourish and feed the body. When the body is optimally nourished and unhealthy foods are avoided, the body is then able to repair and rebuild itself. This is very helpful for fertility, especially if there is an underlying imbalance or fertility issue. The cells in the body are constantly dying off and new cells are being created to replace the old cells. This is occurring in every organ, muscle, tissue, etc. of the body constantly. The building blocks of these new cells are provided from the foods that you are consuming. The Natural Fertility Diet is also designed to help support a healthy body which in turn can heal itself and create healthier cells.

How the Natural Fertility Diet Was Developed

The Fertility Diet is a combination of modern scientific research and thousands of years of ancient wisdom and experience.

  1. Harvard recently completed a study which showed that women who followed a combination of five or more lifestyle factors, including changing specific aspects of their diets, had an 80% decrease in infertility, according to a paper published in Obstetrics & Gynecology. The women with the highest fertility diet scores ate less trans fats and sugar from carbohydrates, consumed more protein from vegetables than from animals, ate more fibre and iron, took more multivitamins, had a lower body mass index (BMI), exercised for longer periods of time each day, and, surprisingly, consumed more high-fat dairy products and less low-fat dairy products. The results were not affected by age or whether the women had been pregnant in the past.
  2. Dr Weston Price extensively researched traditional diets followed in times when humans were at their most fertile, before industrial foods.
  3. Dr Tom Brewer developed a diet which has been shown to reduce the risks of pregnancy complications, specifically pre-eclampsia. It includes an abundance of protein, minerals, calcium and healthy oils.
  4. Naturopaths are trained in diet, nutrition, herbs and supplements to treat disease, create wellness and maximise health. Their work is based on scientific research on nutrition, and traditional herbal and diet treatments, backed up by modern research and thousands of years of empirical clinical evidence.
  5. Chinese medicine has an extensive history of over 3,000 years of detailed herbal and dietary treatments, which has been used to treat literally billions of people. It is a major therapy in China and is commonly used throughout the world.

The Benefits of Eating a Natural Fertility Diet

  • It provides antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which help to protect egg and sperm health from the damage caused by free-radicals.
  • The Diet helps the body maintain hormonal balance by providing the fats needed for hormone production and function.
  • It provides the body with an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients needed for optimal health.
  • It may decrease the chances of a miscarriage due to insulin resistance and damage from free-radicals to the ova (eggs), sperm and DNA.
  • The Diet helps to build important nutrient stores for pregnancy.
  • It supports a healthy reproductive system.
  • It also promotes energy and vitality

The Most Important Nutrients for Fertility

While all nutrients are important for health, there are some that have been specifically shown to have a direct impact on fertility. Below is a list of these nutrients and the best food sources of them.

Micronutrients (Antioxidants, Vitamins & Minerals for Fertility)

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is needed to help the body create sex hormones which in turn affects ovulation and hormonal balance. Yale University School of Medicine conducted a study of 67 infertile women, where it was discovered that a tiny 7% had normal Vitamin D levels.
Best food sources: Eggs, fatty fish, dairy, cod liver oil. You can also get vitamin D from exposure to the morning sun for 15 minutes per day.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E has been shown in studies to improve sperm health and motility in men. Studies have also shown a diet deficient in Vitamin E to be a cause of infertility in rats. The meaning of the name for vitamin E ‘Tocopherol’ literally means to bear young. Vitamin E is also an important antioxidant to help protect sperm and egg DNA integrity.
Best food sources: Sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, papaya, dark leafy greens.

CoQ10: Necessary for every cell in the body for energy production, CoQ10 has also been shown in studies to increase ova (egg) and sperm health. It is necessary for good sperm motility. It is also an important antioxidant to protect the cells from free radical damage and to prevent DNA (genetic) problems.
Best food sources: Found in seafood though it is very difficult to obtain enough through the diet. Levels in the body also decline with age.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C improves hormone levels and increases fertility in women with luteal phase defect, according to a study published in Fertility and Sterility. As for men, vitamin C has been shown to improve sperm quality and protect sperm from DNA damage, which helps reduce the chance of miscarriage and chromosomal problems. Vitamin C also appears to keep sperm from clumping together, making them more motile.
Best food sources: Vitamin C is in many plants and fruits including red capsicums, broccoli, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. However levels are decreased by cooking and decline with storage.

Lipoic Acid: Lipoic acid is a very important antioxidant because it helps to protect the female reproductive organs, has been shown to improve sperm quality and motility, and helps the body to continually re-use the antioxidants in the body.
Best food sources: Found in small amounts in potatoes, spinach and red meat.

B6: Vitamin B6 may be used as a hormone regulator. It also helps to regulate blood sugars, alleviates PMS, and often helps relieve morning sickness. B6 has also been shown to help with Luteal Phase Defect.
Best food sources: Banana, turkey, salmon, cod, spinach, capsicums, garlic, cauliflower, mustard greens, celery, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts.

B12: Vitamin B12 has been shown to improve sperm quality and production. It also may help to boost the endometrium lining in egg fertilisation, decreasing the chances of miscarriage. Some studies have found that a deficiency of B12 may increase the chances of irregular ovulation, and in severe cases stop ovulation altogether.
Best food sources: Clams, oysters, mussels, caviar (fish eggs), fish, crab, lobster, beef, lamb, eggs.

Folic Acid/Folate (B9): One of the best known vitamins required for pregnancy is folic acid, the supplement form of the naturally occurring folate. This vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects as well as congenital heart defects, cleft lips, limb defects, and urinary tract abnormalities in developing foetuses. Deficiency in folic acid may increase the risk of pre-term labour, foetal growth retardation and low birth weight. Deficiency may also increase the homocysteine level in the blood, which can lead to spontaneous abortions and pregnancy complications, such as placental abruption (where the placenta peels away from the lining of the uterus) and pre-eclampsia.
Best food sources: Folate is found in many foods, especially lentils, asparagus, spinach.

Iron: Studies have shown that women with low iron levels may suffer anovulation (lack of ovulation) and possibly poor egg health, reducing their pregnancy rates to only 60% compared to women with sufficient iron stores in their blood.
Best food sources: Lentils, spinach, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (raw), beef.

Selenium: Selenium is an antioxidant which protects the eggs and sperm from free radicals. Free radicals can cause damage to chromosomes, which is a known cause of miscarriages and birth defects. Selenium is also necessary for the creation of sperm. In studies, men with low sperm counts have also been found to have low levels of selenium.
Best food sources: Snapper, cod, halibut, salmon, sardines, shrimp, Brazil nuts from Bolivia (just one nut contains nearly 100% of the RDA for selenium).

Zinc: In women, zinc works with more than 300 different enzymes in the body to keep things working properly. Without it, your cells can not divide properly, your estrogen and progesterone levels can get out of balance and your reproductive system may not be fully functioning. According to The Centers for Disease Control’s Assisted Reproductive Technology Report, low levels of zinc have been directly linked to miscarriage in the early stages of a pregnancy.
In men, zinc is considered one of the most important trace minerals for male fertility; increasing zinc levels in infertile men has been shown to boost sperm levels, improve the form, function and quality of male sperm, and decrease male infertility.
Best food sources: Oysters (hence the idea that oysters are an aphrodisiac), beef, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, green peas, prawns. Zinc can be damaged by cooking so it is important to eat some foods high in zinc in their raw forms.

Essential Fatty Acids: Omega-3 acids have been shown to improve fertility by helping to regulate hormones in the body, increase cervical mucous, promote ovulation, and overall improve the quality of the uterus by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Omega-3 fats also contain two acids that are crucial to good health: DHA and EPA. These two acids have been shown to help many forms of disease. Low levels of DHA have been linked to depression and other mental health issues. During pregnancy, a lack of DHA may be associated with premature birth, low birth weight and hyperactivity in children.
Best food sources: Flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines, halibut, prawns, snapper, scallops, chia seeds.

Macronutrients (Protein, Fibre, Fats, Carbohydrates)

In addition to the micro-nutrients, macro-nutrients are important as well. This is a time for nourishing and providing building blocks for your body in preparation for conception. The foods that should be focused on are nutrient dense foods to provide the following:

Proteins: Eating healthy amounts of protein from a wide variety of sources is an important part of a healthy fertility diet, as the amino acids from protein are the building blocks for every cell, organ, enzyme and hormone in your body and your baby’s body. Make sure to include both animal sources and vegetable sources of protein daily.

Fats: A wide variety of fats are very important for fertility and the development of the foetus. Not only are essential fatty acids important, but saturated fats and good quality cholesterol are important as well. Cholesterol is a precursor to all the hormones produced in the body, including progesterone. Just make sure it is from the right foods like coconut oil, grass-fed meats, fish, nuts and seeds, and avoid hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils cooked at high heat.

Fibre: Fibre helps your body get rid of excess estrogen and xenohormones (man- made chemicals that disrupt your own hormonal system), and keeps your digestive tract functioning properly.

The Natural Fertility Diet Nutrition Guidelines

Eat Organic Vegetables and Fruits
Regular produce contains harmful herbicides and pesticides which have been shown to be very detrimental to both male and female fertility. Studies have also shown organic vegetables and fruits to have more nutritional value. (See The 5 Major Causes of Low Fertility, and The Solutions for Them for more details.)

Eat Organic, Grass-Fed, Whole Fat Dairy
Organic, grass-fed, whole fat dairy is the best choice of dairy sources. Take note that dairy foods such as milk and cheese may be congesting to the body, so in cases of congesting fertility issues such as PCOS and Endometriosis, dairy foods may aggravate the imbalance. Many people are lactose-intolerant or have a dairy intolerance, so check your tolerance by substantially increasing your dairy intake temporarily and observe how you feel. Dairy which is not organic should be avoided, as it contains added hormones and antibiotics which can contribute to increased estrogen levels in the body. There are many healthy alternatives to dairy such as fresh almond milk.

Eat Cold Water Fish
Fish provides important essential fatty acids (omega 3) to your diet. These fatty acids are needed for hormone production, to reduce inflammation, and they help to regulate the menstrual cycle. Fish is also a great source of protein and vitamin A. Avoid large fish at the top of the food chain, such as shark (flake), swordfish, barramundi, gem fish, and southern bluefin tuna, as these often contain higher levels of toxins. Also stay away from warm water fish; as a general guide, the warmer the water, the lower the omega 3 fatty acid level. The best fish are herring, sardines and mackerel, as they have high omega-3 fatty acid levels and are low in toxins. Tinned salmon are also very good, but look for brands that state they are wild caught.

Choose Meat that is Grass Fed and Organic
Conventionally raised cattle contain high levels of added hormones and antibiotics which can contribute to estrogen-dominate conditions. However grass fed meats are a good source of essential fatty acids, are low in saturated fat, and are a great source of protein. If you are experiencing endometriosis you may want to reduce the amount of red meat that you eat as a study has shown a connection between high red meat consumption and endometriosis.

Choose Free Range/Organic Chicken
Conventionally raised chickens are fed antibiotics and colourings to make the egg yolk an orange colour (whereas the yolks of organic free-range eggs are orange because of the antioxidant-rich diet of the hens). Organic and free range chickens will be pesticide and chemical free, and contain higher omega 3 levels.

Eat Grains in their Whole, Natural Form
Whole grains are filled with fibre, important vitamins, and immune supporting properties. Fibre is important for helping the body to get rid of excess hormones and helps to keep the blood sugar balanced. Avoid processed and refined white foods and grains such as white bread, semolina pastas, and white rice. Instead choose whole wheat or sprouted bread, rice or whole wheat pasta, quinoa, and brown rice.

Eat High Fibre Foods with Each Meal
Fibre helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which assists fertility issues such as PCOS, immunological issues, and promotes healthy hormonal balance. Examples of high fibre foods are fruits, vegetables, dark leafy greens, and beans.

No Soy Except Fermented (such as miso and tempeh)
A study has found that a compound in soy known as genistein impairs sperm as they swim toward the egg. Even tiny doses of the compound in the female reproductive tract could destroy sperm. When researchers exposed human sperm to genistein in the laboratory, the soy chemical was found to create a premature reaction in the sperm, forcing them to peak long before they could fertilize an egg.

Avoid Refined Sugars or Fruit Juices (unless freshly juiced)
Most pasteurised juices such as bottled apple juice, orange juice, and other bottled fruit juices contain concentrated sugar, which can disrupt your blood sugar levels and negatively affect your immune system. Also avoid any processed/refined and artificial sugars. Some great alternatives are stevia, or honey in small amounts.

Drink Enough Clean Water
A rough guide is to drink 2 litres of clean, purified or filtered water daily, however the colour of your urine is the best guide. Your urine should be a light straw colour, so if it is darker than this you are drinking too little, and if paler you are drinking too much. It is best to avoid bottled water as some of the plastics in the bottle such as BPA can contribute to hormonal imbalances due to their estrogen mimicking chemicals. Avoid unfiltered tap water, due to the variety of chemicals it contains.

Important Foods Specifically for Fertility

The foods mentioned below are high in the nutrients most important for fertility, and are all nutrient dense, meaning they pack a lot of nutrition per serving.

Eggs – Vitamin D, B12, Protein

Nuts and Seeds – Omega 3, Zinc, Vitamin E, Protein
Eat nuts and seeds in their raw form as essential fatty acids and zinc are sensitive to heat and can be destroyed if cooked.

Grass-Fed Meats – Omega 3, Iron, B12, Protein
Grass-fed meats are high in omega 3, have been raised without antibiotics and hormones.

Dark Leafy Vegetables – Iron, Folic acid, B6, Vitamin E

Fruit – Vitamin C, Flavonoids, Antioxidants
Antioxidants are heat sensitive, so to get their benefit eat your fruit fresh, ripe and raw.

Colourful Vegetables – B6, Vitamin C
The colour of a vegetable will tell you what nutrients and benefits it will provide for your body. For instance vegetables that are red or green in colour are high in vitamin C, vegetables that are orange have high vitamin A, white ones tend to have sulphur, etc. The easiest way to get a high dose of nutrients is to eat a wide variety of vegetables. Make sure you are eating a variety of colours daily.

Fish and Shell Fish – Vitamin D, Omega 3, Zinc, Selenium, B12, CoQ10
Fish provides an abundance of these nutrients.

Liver – Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium, Iron, Folic Acid, B12, CoQ10
One way that you can make liver tasty is to make pâté with chicken liver and have this with whole grain crackers 1-2x’s a week. Make sure to use liver from grass-fed/free-range animals only.

Lentils and Beans – Iron, Folic Acid
You can use them to make soups, hummus, as a side dish, or in stir-fries.

Foods to Avoid

Sugar

Caffeine
Studies have shown that caffeine can affect your hormonal balance, increase your chances of a miscarriage and prevent you from ovulating.

Soy Foods

Fat-Free Foods
Foods which are altered to be reduced in fat or fat-free are highly processed and high in sugar. The right fats are very important for fertility and health.

The Fertility Superfood

Maca
Maca is a wonderful superfood from Peru that helps to balance the hormones, increase egg health, increase sperm count and sperm health, and is a tonic for the hormone system. Maca also helps increase progesterone if your body is low in this crucial hormone. A high-quality Maca in capsules is available from our clinic.

Free Comprehensive Fertility Assessment

Have you been trying for a family for months with no rewards? Some of the other causes of decreased fertility include hormonal imbalances, oxidative stress damage, excess chemical load, sluggish blood supply, and nutritional deficiencies.

For almost 20 years, we have been helping couples conceive, stay pregnant, have an easier and safer birth, and to produce a healthy baby. In that time we have learnt what works and what doesn’t. With any condition, to get good results it is important to treat the causes of the problem, not just the symptoms, and even more so with natural fertility. Otherwise you could end up wasting a huge amount of time and money on treatments that aren’t effective.

Our approach is to only offer treatment when we have completed a thorough, detailed assessment to establish:

  • What is going on in your body, and if there are any problems
  • The key factors affecting your fertility
  • The best way to overcome these issues

That way we can give you the correct advice on how you can fall pregnant as quickly and easily as possible. Some of the areas a Comprehensive Fertility Assessment covers include:

  • How your body is functioning as a whole:
    • If there any significant deficiencies influencing your fertility
    • If there are significant levels of toxins in the body, that could be affecting your fertility, or potentially affecting your baby’s health
    • Whether your stress levels are showing up as a factor
  • Your hormonal balances, including:
    • Your reproductive hormones (oestrogen, progesterone)
    • Your adrenaline levels (which can disrupt your reproductive hormones)
    • Your thyroid hormones (which can directly affect your fertility)
  • How well your reproductive organs are functioning, including your ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes

Once we have completed your Fertility Assessment, we explain in clear and simple terms exactly what is going on in your body. If you like, we can then design a treatment program for your specific fertility needs.

Normally an assessment such as this could cost $500 or more, however we are currently have a special offer of a Comprehensive Assessment free of charge. (Limited places are available.) There is absolutely no obligation whatsoever attached to your Assessment.

Whenever possible, please book your partner in to our clinic for an assessment too. We also recommend you and your partner attend each other’s assessment, so that you don’t miss out on any key information.

If time keeps ticking by, and you are looking for answers on why it seems everyone you know is getting pregnant except you, please call our Brisbane clinic now on 3376 6911 to book in for your free Comprehensive Fertility Assessment.

Let’s Keep Health Fund Cover for Natural Therapies!

Health Fund rebates

At the moment, the Australian government provides a rebate to keep down the cost of belonging to a health fund. However, they are considering stripping the rebate from any policies covering “unproven” natural therapies.

The Federal Government View

The Department of Health has recently published the Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Natural Therapies for Private Health Insurance. The review was established to determine whether or not natural therapies should continue to receive the Government Rebate on private health insurance. The final report stated that:

‘Overall, there was not reliable, high-quality evidence available to allow assessment of the clinical effectiveness of any of the natural therapies for any health conditions. … The absence of evidence does not in itself mean that the therapies evaluated do or do not work.’

The report confirms that ‘there is value in conducting more research’ and ‘it is possible that further research may identify clinical conditions for which particular therapies are effective’. The background and the final report are available here.

Our View

We believe that the statement that there is not enough evidence supporting natural therapies treatments is incorrect, and ignores the great work natural medicine plays in correcting (and preventing!) a huge variety of health problems.

Also, if acupuncture is not effective, why is it covered by Medicare and WorkCover when performed by a doctor, and sometimes by a physio, chiropractor or osteopath (but not by a qualified acupuncturist)?

There is also ample evidence supporting other natural therapies, such as herbs and practitioner supplements, for various conditions. However, we do agree that the level of funding for research in natural therapies is very low.

Let the Government Know What You Think

To gauge public feeling on these and other changes, they have set up a Public Consultation survey. If you believe that natural therapies can help people who have health problems or are in pain, now is the perfect opportunity to let the government know that they should be supported.

Please click here to go to the survey.

Please also consider sharing the survey with your family and friends, as this will help the government clearly hear about the vital role natural medicine plays in our health. You can copy and paste the following link:
http://survey.orcinternational.com/orc/j10262/surveylinkn.asp?job=Au3000187&id=RANDOM

Thank you!