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Fertility Diet: part 2.1 (Super Foods for Fertility)

In part one of this fertility diet series we talked a bit about the essential nutrients needed for our reproductive parts to work at peak performance. This week we’ll discuss a bit about where we find these nutrients. And like I’ve said before, this is not an exclusive list, I’ll keep adding new data as I come across it!

The Problem in Our Modern Diets

Unfortunately most of us  no longer consume the foods that nourish our bodies! At. All. Even the “healthy” and “organic” foods we buy in the stores have been pasteurized and processed so that it damages all the precious vitamins and minerals. The standard American diet is now full of white sugars and flours, chemicals and preservatives, all robbing our bodies of the vital nutrients we actually do consume.

Vitamin D for Fertility

Again, this important vitamin supports the production of estrogen in both men and women¹ , is needed for insulin production, and is key in regulating cell growth and deciding how those cells grow. Vitamin D is also activated into an endocrine hormone within the body.

And it seems that “primitive” societies knew better than us on how to fulfill their daily requirements for Vitamin D as intestines, organ meats, skin and fat from certain land animals, as well as oily fish are all rich in this important nutrient. When is the last time you had some intestine with your meal?

Yea, that’s what I thought.

Other ways to increase your Vitamin D intake would be to include the following in your diet. (IU per 3.75oz or 100 grams)

  • Cod Liver Oil – is actually the richest source of vitamin D!(²) (and the good news is, it also contains vitamin A for better assimilation in the body)
  • Lard/Tallow - (from grassfed and pastured animals) the second richest source of vitamin D.
  • Pastured Eggs -especially the yolks and from chickens who have had regular access to run around in the great outdoors eating grass, worms, and other insects.
  • Wild Caught Fish - especially fatty fish like herring
  • Butter – (from grass fed cows)
  • Organ Meats – I know -eww right? But they are chock full of nutrients!
  • Sunlight

The way the animals are raised and fed also has a lot to do with the amount of nutrients you gain from eating products made from them. Animals that are allowed to be out in the pasture are recommended, as the exposure to UV-B rays from the sun allow the animals body to produce more vitamin D. Thus giving more vitamin D to us!

You’ll also notice that while the above mentioned foods are high in Vitamin D themselves, many of them are also high in cholesterol. Now, you’ll have to believe me here a minute as I tell you that cholesterol is not bad for you – in fact it’s very necessary! (I’ll get into the cholesterol debate later) But, vitamin D is actually synthesized from the cholesterol in our body when we are exposed to the sun.

Modern RDA requirements are a measly 400 IU per day. From what I’ve seen from the Weston A Price Foundation as well as other natural/holistic doctors, they recommend at least double that amount.

Vitamin A for Fertility

Vitamin A  can be classified into one of 2 groups. Retinols, which are found in animal products, and carotenoids (beta carotene), found in plant foods. The great thing about retinols is that the body can easily convert this to a usable form of vitamin A. It takes a lot more beta carotene on the other hand to come up with the same amount of usable vitamin A. And infants and children as well as those in poor health (decreased thyroid function, celiac, diabetes) or on low fat diets, already have an even harder time converting beta carotene.

The list of foods below are per 3.75oz (or 100 grams)

  • Beef Liver (30,000 IU)
  • Butter and Cream – again, levels will be higher on cows fed growing grass.
  • High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil (230,000 IU)
  • Regular Cod Liver Oil (100,000 IU)
  • Eggs from pastured chickens contain 2/3 more Vitamin A than conventional eggs and 7 times more beta carotene. ¹

The current RDA for vitamin A stands at 5000 IU though the WAPF (Weston A Price Foundation) seems to think that the work of Price showed primitive diets contained almost 50,000IUs per day.³ And as you can see, it wouldn’t be hard to get well over 5000 IUs just by making sure you get a small amount of just one of these foods into your diet each day.

Vitamin E for Fertility

Again, this is also a fat soluble vitamin, but it’s also an important antioxidant. And being an antioxidant basically means that it deactivates free radicals within our bodies. Vitamin E also has a property in it known as tocopherol. It was given the name after a fertility study was done with rats in 1936 and in Greek this means “to bring forth a child”.

  • Butter – from grassfed cows
  • Organ Meats
  • Grains – vitamin E is found in the wheat kernel which is removed to make white flour. It is also easily damaged during processing and can become oxidized. Freshly ground wheat is always best!
  • Seeds – sunflowers contain 35mg per 3.75oz
  • Nuts –  almonds contain 26 mg per 3.75oz (90% of which is tocopherol!)
  • Legumes – varies from 7mg to 28 mg depending on variety
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Unrefined (and unheated) oils like olive and sunflower oil
  • Pastured eggs also contain 3 times more vitamin E than conventional eggs.¹

Current RDA is 15mg for both adult men and women. I can’t find anything else regarding how much we should consume, but it seems to me that a diet of fresh ‘real’ foods and freshly ground grains would be much higher than this.

Vitamin K2 for Fertility

Is a fat soluble compound that assists vitamins A & D, also known as Activator X by Weston A Price. It is found in certain fatty parts of animals that feed on young green growing plants. And the growing grass is the most important part of that statement! What happens is the animals eat rapidly growing plants, which are high in vitamin K1. Part of this K1 is then converted by the animals tissues to K2. And the amounts of Kz within the animal products will then vary widely depending on what the animal eats and when they eat it. Sources include:

  • Liver
  • Egg Yolks
  • Butter
  • High vitamin butter oil {natural supplement}
  • Fish Eggs

If you’d like to read even more about vitamin K2, I’d recommend an article written by Chris Masterjohn, “On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved”. It’s more complex than what I can ever get into.

So are you noticing any trends yet?

To Be Continued………. (part 2.2 iodine and omega-3’s)

1.Mother Earth News - free range egg

2.Vitamin D is Synthesized From Cholesterol and Found in Cholesterol-Rich Foods by Chris Masterjohn May 5, 2006

3. Vitamin A Saga

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle is an author, amateur herbalist, lover of real food, and an advocate for natural health. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health, so much so that she is currently taking courses to become a master herbalist. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she began this blog in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to healing.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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Comments

  1. Elizabethsue says:

    I just wanted to tell you how much your blog has been a blessing to me. I was recently diagnosed with PCOS after 3 early misscarriages. And your blog has been a huge resource for me. Thank you so much!
    God Bless you & your family,
    Elizabeth Sue

  2. just out of curiosity, HOW do you eat those organ meats? I grew up with liver being served over white bread, doused in dark Karo syrup…and the dog wouldn’t even eat it! (I went to bed hungry on those nights…LOL)

    • donielle says:

      @Heather, I’m trying to find different ways to sneak it in! It still makes me a bit queasy though. I don’t mind ground up liver in with a meatloaf though!

      • @donielle,

        I’ve found that ordering the organ meats ground and then mixing them in with beef or pork for sausage, spaghetti, hamburgers, meatloaves, meatballs, etc…

        If I think about it… I get grossed out. :)

  3. Hmmm… last time I had intestines with my meal? It was the last time I had menudo… ach I want some now! These cravings are killers!

    Deanna.

  4. I have a question regarding cod liver oil. I understand that it is a super food to help prepare the body for conception (among other things.) I was curious if it’s okay to take WHILE you are pregnant. There seems to be a lot of varying ideas out there, and I am new to a lot of this and would love your opinions. Thanks!

    • @Robin, I think CLO is GREAT during pregnancy! Not only does it help supply baby with Omega 3’s, it has wonderful levels of Vitamins A & D as well. I’d recommend it and I can’t think of any sources I’ve heard of that would say not to take it.

  5. Thanks for the response! I appreciate it!

  6. Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure sells a product called Organ Delight. It’s grass-fed New Zealand Organs and Glands (Heart, Liver, Kidney, Thymus and Brain) in capsule form.

    You can buy it at http://www.drrons.com

    Hope that helps!

  7. Hi
    Really appreciate your blog. I’ve been doing GAPS diet for 3 months, trying to heal hashimotos and premature ovarian failure. Have you heard of any healing for these? Have subscribed to Weston Price journal, am fascinated and inspired.
    Many thanks
    Mary

    • donielle says:

      @Mary, I haven’t heard of personal accounts of healing premature ovarian failure (doesn’t mean you cant – I just haven’t had anyone tell me that they have) but I do know you can heal from hashimotos with real foods. Liz Schau, a holistic health counselor, wrote a 2 part series here at NKU. Here’s the first part – http://www.naturallyknockedup.com/healing-hashimotos/

      Hope that helps!

  8. I like to fix beef liver by seasoning it with lots of garlic, salt, pepper and sauted (with pipping hot pan) in a little bit of olive oil; after they are fully cooked and browned, I add a whole onion cut into rings to golden (in the same pan) and place them on top of the dish… delicious!
    Chicken gizzards (not sure how to spell…) and hearts I fix again with lots of garlic (please clean up the gizzards before! The grocery store do not do a very good job!) salt, pepper, a little pepper caled malagueta, sauted and after add water to cover it all up. Cook for about an hour and half until very tender (you may have to add some more water along the way). You may just let all the water dry and add onion or just leave a little juicy. Anyway is very delicious.
    My mother used to fix all this things a lot, and I have a little girl, first try!

  9. Hi,
    You have a lovely blog.
    Can people who have fibroids take CLO?…i read somewhere that it is not good for people with fibroids due to the increased oestrogen production. What is your view on it?
    Thanks!

    • @gita, I haven’t come across any info that mentions that CLO would increase oestrogen production. Things like EPO or Flax oil might as they contain phyto-estrogens, but I haven’t heard of a natural fish oil doing that.

  10. Just wanted to let you know I used the link for that x factor article by Christ Masterjohn and it didn’t work for me. I’m familiar with the Westin A. Price stuff (LOVE IT!) but have never read this article. I just searched x factor within their site and the link I got was http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/x-factor-is-vitamin-k2 not sure why yours didn’t work for me.
    Love your blog!

  11. Sarah Butcher says:

    I just learned mushrooms are the only thing in the produce dept that has vitamin D the “sunshine Vitamin”

  12. I am so, so excited about this site. I know I already told you via FB my hubby and I are trying to make our preconception period a lot healthier this time than the last (our first son was a surprise while I was in the midst of eating whatever the heck I felt like). We’ve recently been learning about traditional diets and trying to eat more whole, real food. It’s crazy how little nutrition we actually get in our typical American diet!! We’ve been trying to make changes little by little, but often find challenges both in our budget and also in what’s readily available in our area. Can’t wait to read more and continue to try to incorporate these suggestions. One day at a time, one food at a time… :)

    • donielle says:

      @Abigail, Glad you found me! I hope that you’re inspired to keep learning and changing. :-)

      Many blessings to you and your husband as you embark on this “whole foods” journey!

  13. Thank you for sharing. I had three early miscarriages, two children, then we lost twins at 30 weeks. I have been diagnosed with PCOS and will, at times, go up to 2 years without ovulating. Recently I was diagnosed with Celiac disease (this came three years after my daughters diagnosis) and we have been eating more whole foods anyway as I am quite crunchy in most ways lol but some of this is still new to me and the connections between diseases is very eye opening. We have been TTC for many years and are now hopeful for the first time in a long time. Thank you!

  14. I am interested in infertility of the male. ( Low sperm counts) Any specific info. for increasing motility and numbers?\
    Thank you for your knowledge!

  15. I was diagnosed with PCOS few years back. Had regular periods until the age of 35 and then the cycles started to get longer and longer. Now I don’t get periods for months. I just came your site and see some hope. My concern is I am vegetarian. I would appreciate if anyone can suggest diet for me. Really Looking forward to get some feedback.

    • Well, I’m not pro-vegetarian (though I’m also not anti-vegetarian either!). Mostly because I see women heal their body of PCOS by following a diet that more closely mirrors the “primal or paleo” diet and I see more problems with women who follow a vegetarian diet, especially those who have for multiple years.

      That’s NOT to say it can’t be done though. :-)

      – It’s going to be really important for a vegetarian to prepare foods correctly, this means soaking grains and legumes prior to consuming and eating traditionally fermented foods.
      – It’s also extremely important to make sure that one doesn’t begin to substitute other foods for meat and stay away from “pretend” meat products. If a vegetarian eats soy, miso, tempeh, and natto are preferred over any unfermented soy which should be very minimal or not eaten at all.
      -Eating a very wide variety of foods is also important as well as eating a variety of beans, legumes, and grains and not just sticking with one type.
      – Consuming animal products in the form of dairy and eggs can be extremely beneficial (I’m ok with vegetarianism, I would never do vegan) and they should be sourced well: from pastured, happy, and grassfed animals. Organic if at all possible, fresh (unpasteurized) milk if you can find a quality source.

      I also think it’s important to really pay attention to our bodies and decide how to eat based on what they’re telling us we need, and not based on our beliefs and theologies. I for one have changed my diet a few times over the years as I work to give my body what it needs. Testing for deficiencies is also important, B12 and D are great ones to look at. I also try and follow my body’s lead on what I might be craving, whether it’s raw produce or rich, heavier animal products. So most of all, follow your body’s lead!

      • Donielle Thank you for your response! I have read that Soy and Dairy are not recommended for PCOS since it effects the fertility. Is that ture? What do you suggest?

        • I’m definitely not a fan of soy and choose to avoid it for myself.

          As for dairy, I choose to consume fresh, unpasteurized dairy which contains enzymes that help deal with the milk sugars, making it much less of an issue for those with PCOS. But, as with any food, some people do have a dairy intolerance and I find it helpful to cut it out for a few weeks and then reintroduce it for a day to see if any symptoms diminish and then reappear.

  16. I didn’t realize you renamed your site. This is a great read. I am doing a series on my site to discuss the same topic. I struggled with secondary infertility and used these foods to get pregnant. http://www.cherishedmoon.com/1/post/2013/10/5-best-fertility-foods-series-part-1-bone-broth.html

Trackbacks

  1. [...] the middle of a Fertility Diet series.  If you know my history, you know I’m interested in Super Foods for Fertility.  Can’t hurt, [...]

  2. [...] good page listing fertility foods is Fertility Diet: Part 2.1 (Super Foods for Fertility). Naturally Knocked Up is a great site with resources, a blog, and even an ebook (which I’ve [...]

  3. [...] during pregnancy. Some of the most important nutrients are going to be fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K2 as these help the development of the baby as well as help maintain proper hormone [...]

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