Addressing Root Causes of Reproductive Issues Using Functional Genomic Fertility
Holistic approaches to fertility before you venture to assisted, reproductive technologies (ART) could save you time, money, and heartache.
Most people spend more time preparing a nursery for their baby than they do preparing their bodies for creating and/or growing a baby.
Recently, achieving or sustaining pregnancy has become increasingly difficult for many women.
Beginning to optimize our bodies even just a few months before trying to conceive will greatly improve our chances of not only getting pregnant, but also of having robust, smart children, smoother pregnancies, and an easier postpartum period. However, what we do to our bodies years before we get pregnant – what we put in them, on them, or put them through – can play a huge part in the betterment or detriment of our own health, the health of our offspring, and the health of the earth.
Fertility issues like repeat miscarriage and unexplained infertility are on the rise. So are autism, learning disorders, autoimmunity, and allergies. These challenges are the result of nutrient deficiencies, toxins all around us, and oxidative stress.
Thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles discuss the relationship between oxidative stress and impaired reproductive outcomes., Yet, most fertility specialists only focus on forcing hormones into specific ranges to achieve pregnancy. This is a major reason why assisted reproductive technologies are often unsuccessful or increase the potential for having children with special needs.
Simply put, oxidative stress is created when there are not enough antioxidants in the body to neutralize free radicals that are harmful to cells. Our bodies produce their own antioxidants, as well as getting them through nourishing foods and quality supplements. Oxidative stress not only damages the structure of the cell, but the information it contains and its ability to properly function. Our eggs and sperm are the cells that are the most vulnerable to oxidative stress.
What causes oxidative stress?
Anything that stresses the body such as toxins like pesticides, heavy metals, radiation, mold exposure, and the slew of chemicals that bombard us in our modern society are widely known causes of free radicals and oxidative stress. And yes, physical and emotional stressors create it as well.
Instead of forcing hormones into specific ranges to achieve pregnancy, we must ask why our hormones are imbalanced in the first place. Again, nutrient deficiencies, toxins, and oxidative stress sling wrenches in all the systems in our bodies, including those that control energy production and hormonal balance (i.e., stress/thyroid/reproductive).
Our bodies require nutritional resources to procreate. If Mama has nutrient deficiencies, where will her growing fetus get them from?, Nutrient deficiencies can occur even if someone is eating a balanced diet. Since our soils are not as abundant in nutrients as they used to be, the food grown in them is not either. The processing of food strips it of nutrients. The vast array of common gut issues also impact the body’s ability to absorb and assimilate nutrients. Some people are more genetically prone to not transport or utilize specific nutrients as well as others.
Our bodies also require energy to procreate (and nutrients are needed to make that energy!). When there are stressors signaling an alarm in your body, the body uses energy to maintain the “fight or flight” response, and the message is sent to the reproductive system that it is not a good time to make a baby. Our bodies need to be in the “rest, digest, and repair” state to feel like it is a safe time to procreate. If the body feels that there is danger or stress, it will shut down mating capability in order to preserve energy and resources.
Because our bodies have an innate ability to heal themselves and procreate, it is totally possible to overcome reproductive challenges from menstrual problems to infertility; How this is achieved is different for each individual person, so functional and genetic testing is a good place to identify what they are.
For a foundational start to better health and fertility, I recommend eating organic and avoiding exposure to toxins such as hair dyes, synthetic body care products, and gardening chemicals. For those who can afford to find the specific reason why they may be struggling with infertility, I suggest seeking out a fertility expert who can perform Functional Genomic Fertility (FGF) testing and counseling.
FGF gets to the root causes of reproductive issues using genetic interpretation, functional lab testing and a meticulous intake session that covers past and present conditions in all areas of diet, lifestyle and environment. It will help you to identify nutrient deficiencies, sources of oxidative stress, and which toxins are burdening the body as well as which detoxification pathways may need some assistance.
There are even functional lab tests that can assess how well mitochondria are making energy (ATP). Oxidative stress damages mitochondria. Mitochondrial efficiency is essential for creating offspring. Fun fact: it is only the mother that passes on mitochondrial DNA to the child. We want to make sure it is in good working order!
A few of the functional labs that I often run are a Urine Organic Acids Test, a Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones (DUTCH), and routine blood work that is looked at within optimal functioning levels (as opposed to the broad “normal” levels).
Because Functional Genomic Nutrition is so personalized, you’ll never feel like a number or like someone is trying to fit their fertility protocol on you just because it worked for other folks.
The process of FGF exposes what’s causing your alarm to sound. This could be, for instance, an “unwelcome guest” flying under the radar in your body (viruses, fungal overgrowth, parasites, etc), blood sugar issues (which is very common, even in those without any symptoms), or exposure to xenoestrogens (hormone mimickers) found in plastics, pesticides, and other commonplace items. Your genetic report can shine a bright light on genetic predispositions that can cause said stressors, while functional lab testing can allow us to know if those genetic variants are expressing and if so, to what degree.
When we address root causes of fertility issues the body can shift from survival mode into procreation mode.
Time is a critically important factor for people that want to achieve a successful pregnancy. FGF can help save time and money by cutting through much of the guesswork. Even if clients got all the lab tests necessary to get a full picture of what the root cause/s could be, it would cost far less than one cycle of IVF, all while getting their body more nourished, improving its detoxification abilities and energy production, turning off the chronic fight-or-flight response and improving the potential of having healthy children.
BIO: Jaclyn is a Functional Genomic Nutrition Consultant that has a passion for fertility optimization and reproductive wellness. She works with her clients to determine why hormones are imbalanced to begin with and to create personalized plans of action based on genetics, health history, diet/lifestyle, and biochemistry. Jaclyn has a BS in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a researcher and practitioner with the NutriGenetic Research Institute. She can be contacted through her website, JaclynDowns.com.
Some of the widespread uses Roundup.
Almost everyone has heard of Roundup, the world's number one weed killer. Hundreds of millions of pounds are used every year in the USA alone. Globally, the active chemical ingredient glyphosate is sold in over 750 products by numerous chemical companies. It is sprayed on sidewalks, streets, along the sides of roads, on school playgrounds and city parks. It is also sprayed on the soil of our crops fields as a burndown before planting, on 80% of the genetically modified foods which are engineered to withstand Roundup, and as a desiccant (drying agent) on non-organic crops such as sugar, wheat, barley, dried peas, and beans.
Evidence of Glyphosate being used as a drying agent on wheat and other crops above.
Glyphosate does NOT wash off ( and yet it is sprayed on food) and is claimed to target an enzyme which is NOT found in humans or animals. They refer to the shikimate pathway, which is found in humans and animals, in our gut bacteria.
Note: the glyphosate content of this product of Roundup ( average for sale in hardware stores) is 1%. Syngenta's product Traxion is 44.9% glyphosate and is used as a burndown on the soil in which grains are planted. This is extremely toxic. Canada is the primary source of grains for the USA cereals, beer barely, and animal feed. 400 ppm of glyphosate is allowed on grains. 0.1ppb of glyphosate has been shown to destroy gut bacteria in chickens.
See the full list of allowable levels of glyphosate on our foods at:http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=195f8b224b4d7d5ab8cfff3bf0f92f68&node=se40.24.180_1364&rgn=div8Read more
"Glyphosate Exposure in a Farmer’s Family"
Journal of Environmental Protection, 2012, 3, 1001-1003 doi:10.4236/jep.2012.39115 Published Online September 2012 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/jep) 1001
The following studies explain the health crisis in America. Really truly. This is it...all the searching for the cure is over. These studies show the cause. And as a mother, I am both outraged and relieved to finally know. Now we can do something about it. If there was ever a reason to eat organic and share information, this is it.
Glyphosate may not be a household word, but Roundup* is. You likely spray it on your weeds, or your neighbor does. Your children's school definitely does. Your city sprays it on your sidewalks and parks and the farmers who grow your food have been told it's the best thing since sliced bread to spray on the grounds surrounding almond trees, fruit trees, strawberries and almost every non-organic vegetable grown in America. Roundup is the most widely used pesticide in the world, 185 million pounds (1) are used in the USA alone each year and glyphosate is the active chemical ingredient.
Not only is it sprayed on the soil, the chemical is drawn into it root system and plant, it is also now being sprayed on the GMO plant in ever increasing doses and it is absorbed into every cell of the plant. It's called "Roundup Ready”. The problem is, that means it is in our food, potentially for 14 years plus, it cannot be washed off, and the food is not labeled.
Some of you may know this already...but what you may not know is that the impact of Glyphosate is equally as potentially harmful as Genetically Modified foods. In a peer reviewed published scientific study titled "Glyphosate Exposure in a Farmer's Family" published in the Journal of Environmental Protection. This has not been widely circulated in the USA however, Moms Across America just found out that glyphosate has been proven to harm humans more than anyone realized.
The family in the study lived 1.5 miles away from their fields that were sprayed with Roundup. The father would spray the fields, come home and wash his hands thoroughly, but not take a shower. Apparently he hugged his children, because the levels of glyphosate found in their urine were far above what has shown to be toxic in animals. The glyphosate level in the father's urine was 9.5 ppm and the children's was 2 ppm. It is scientifically documented that infertility is caused by glyphosate at .5 ppm and endocrine disruption (which causes birth defects) is caused by glyphosate at .2 ppm.
The farmer and his wife had two children with birth defects including imperforated anus, growth hormone deficiency, hypospadias (which is when the urethra of the male penis's opening is not at the end but under, and along the side instead), heart defect and micro penis.
We also have a brand new scientific study which connects glyphosate and numerous diseases which have skyrocketed in our Western culture since the introduction of GMOs to our food supply .
"Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases" states that glyphosate residues have been found primarily in corn, sugar, soy and wheat. Good God, that is practically in everything all of us eat!
"Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. We explain the documented effects of glyphosate and its ability to induce disease, and we show that glyphosate is the “textbook example” of exogenous semiotic entropy: the disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins."
This new 48 page published scientific study is extensive and complicated. I have to say as a mother I would much rather be playing play dough with my kids or even cleaning a crusty toilet than scouring through these scientific reports and trying to decipher sentences like "Elevated amounts of shikimate-derived benzoic acids such as protocatechuate and gallate are also found in plants exposed to glyphosate."
So without further ado, I post these studies for you to make sense of. All I know is that glyphosate = harm to my family. So Stop It People! Stop spraying it on my food, stop spraying it on my school playground and stop spraying it in the city parks. And tell your city council, your representative, your congressmen/women. Share this report with them and demand that we stop using this chemical. If for no other reason than to err on the side of safety. These are our families we are talking about.
You need someone to pull up weeds? They are called Boy Scouts who need community service projects. No harmful side effects from a Boy Scout.
For the full report ( which is 48 pages long and too big of a file for my site) go to www.mdpi.com/journal/entropy
* Roundup is a registered trademark of Monsanto