Alcohol has its downfalls, we all know that, and they go beyond extra weight and beer bellies. In excess it can cause many problems. Intoxication, liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer of many different organs and areas. (source – CDC Fact Sheets – Alcohol Use And Health)
Alcohol consumption can also damage the reproductive organs and fertility.
Most everyone should know by now that drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy can be bad for the baby. But did you know that drinking while you are trying to get pregnant can be harmful as well? Men and women who drink heavily can take much longer to conceive than couples who drink little to none.
It’s recommended that couples trying to conceive drink a maximum of one glass per day, no more than 4-7/week, and never more than 2-3 drinks at a time (considered moderate alcohol use). Any higher than that and it becomes much more difficult, taking longer to successfully conceive and carry a pregnancy.
image by Scukrov, via canva.com
Another consideration is that a developing baby is “built” on the nutrition and materials available to the body during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption depletes the body of key amino acids, vitamins, and minerals and the health of mother can impact the health of baby when deficiencies are severe enough.
That’s the official recommendation. Personally, I would say give it up all together. Why?
Alcohol and fertility
Well, for one alcohol affects your blood sugar quite drastically. Which in turn affects your endocrine system and too much alcohol can throw your hormones out of balance. Especially if you love drinks like margaritas and mudslides and other cocktail type drinks. These are FULL of sugar!
When your body is overloaded with sugar, it depletes itself of other vital nutrients (like the vitamin B family) while trying to digest it. Amino acids like D-Phenylalanine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Tyrosine, L-Tryptophan, 5 hydroxytryptophan (5HTP), L-Glutamine, and GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid) are also depleted, which are the building blocks for many things in the body. (Amino acid nutritional therapy)
Deficiencies in these amino acids in turn lowers the levels of Serotonin, norepinephrin, enorphins, and dopamine in the body, which can then alter the function of the thyroid and adrenals. In addition to affecting mood and mental health in general, this will also affect the body’s ability to conceive and carry a healthy baby to term.
In men, more than moderate use of alcohol decreases testosterone production, leading to decreased libido, sperm motility (health and able to swim and fertilize an egg) and, alcohol use can actually wipe out a sperm count for three months after a heavy drinking session and lead to impotence.
In women, studies that have looked at frequent alcohol consumption have shown increased incidences of menstrual disorders and irregular cycles.
Prevention is always the best policy! If you don’t drink, don’t start. If you’re an occasional drinker, consider completely avoiding alcohol while trying to conceive (and, of course, throughout pregnancy).
If you have a history of mild-to-moderate alcohol use, reducing intake is always beneficial when it comes to improving fertility. Reducing or eliminating intake improves your liver function, pancreas function, adrenal function, and thyroid function.
Focus on replenishing your body and enhancing function. Choose healing foods like spirulina and lemon water.
A diet rich in bright colors and whole foods are going to be the most nutrient dense foods.
Bone broth made from the bones of grass-fed animals will be rich in amino acids that will help to restore amino acid levels and, as a result, hormone levels.
IF YOU ARE A HEAVY DRINKER OR HAVE A HISTORY OF ALCOHOLISM
External support is crucial to understanding the roll alcohol plays in your life. Often times addictions result from periods of high stress or trauma. Exploring the root cause, as well as associated emotions will allow recovery to be more effective and sustained. Reach out to friends, loved ones, health care providers, counselors, natural health practitioners and support groups when assembling your recovery team to ensure success.